barefoot ground

Do you remember the last time you walked barefoot? Was it on a sandy beach, a lush green lawn or through pine needles? Many years of research has shown that connecting to our Earth’s natural energy can diminish chronic pain, fatigue and other ailments that plague so many people today. Besides, it just feels really good.

This “direct contact” is referred to as Earthing or grounding.While the ground is still a bit too cold for such activities, we can start planning our barefoot excursions right now.

Just as most of us recognize a definite lift in our spirits when walking through a forest full of lush trees, working in the soil or visiting a greenhouse full of tropical plants, grounding connects us to our origins.

There is something so comforting about being in nature, and there is science to back up the healthful claims. While it is certainly psychologically beneficial, there are also known physiological effects as well.

While I don’t pretend to understand all the science behind grounding, it was explained to me in such a way that even I could understand. When we walk barefoot in our backyard or on a beach — or wherever we happen to be outdoors where our feet can touch Earth (even on rock), we absorb electrons. These gifts from the Earth in the form of electrons can be described as Mother Nature’s biggest and best antioxidants, as they help to neutralize excess free radicals that cause inflammation and disease.

Because the Earth is a conductor of electrons (as are we and all other living things), when we come in direct contact (think “skin to skin”) with our planet, we are quite literally recharging.

Our bodies are composed mostly of water and minerals — a combination that is an excellent conductor of electrons — providing there is direct skin contact or some other conductive channel through which they can flow. This “recharging” upgrades our physiology and allows our bodies to better cope and repair; this promotes vitality, better sleep and general well-being. Additionally (as if that weren’t enough!), grounding also harmonizes and stabilizes our bodies’ biological rhythms, reduces chronic inflammation (and its associated pain), making the most of one of the most naturally powerful anti-aging and inflammatory remedies known to humankind.

A publication in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health titled “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons,” states, “Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being. Earthing (or grounding) refers to the discovery of benefits — including better sleep and reduced pain — from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.”

That’s good enough for me! I do believe that Mother Nature knows best, after all. So, despite the cooler ground temperatures in our area, perhaps a few childlike barefoot moments when the temperatures allow would be a worthwhile investment in our health. Then when temperatures are warmer on a consistent basis, a “naked feet” outing might be added to our daily “to do” list. When you go out to plant, weed, water or just “be” — consider leaving the shoes behind.

I think I might go tiptoe through the greening grasses (or tulips!) for a few moments right now!

Rae Punzel is a Kenosha writer and horticulturalist. She owns Bennu Organics, a horticulture services and consulting business. Contact her at