When was the last time your bare feet touched the earth?
With the soles of shoes being made of insulating materials, cities being covered in asphalt, and most of our homes offering little or no contact with the ground, you may find that it's been a while. This is especially so for people who live in big cities.
For most of human existence, we lived in intimate contact with the earth and soil. People walked barefoot or with leather soled shoes. They also slept in contact with the ground. This is no longer the case.
In this interesting new book by Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Martin Zucker, two colleagues that I have great respect for, they team up with Clinton Ober, who developed the concept called "Earthing." It is a remarkably simple and common-sense idea, and has been supported by a number of studies done by Mr. Ober.
It notes simply that, just as a house's electrical system needs to be grounded by contact with the earth, so does our body's. If not frequently grounded by touching the ground regularly, this lack of grounding can result in many medical problems. These can include (especially) poor sleep, fatigue, immune dysfunction, and pain. The good news? They have found that these problems often quickly resolve by simply going barefoot or sitting on the ground (perhaps reading a book sitting on a beach or the grass) for an extended period.
Western medicine has focused on biochemistry. My impression from having browsed through the scientific literature from almost a century ago was that there was a "discouragement" of the then-equal interest in biophysics. It seemed that major figures in medicine quickly recognized that if they didn't want to be shut out, they needed to drop their work in biophysics and focus on the then-fledgling pharmaceutical industry. In China and the Far East, however, they could not afford expensive pharmaceuticals, and biophysics (which in essence is what acupuncture is) got the most attention. This is now slowly starting to change, and medicine is starting to again explore biophysics (e.g. MRI machines, PET Scans, etc.).
This new book is on the cutting edge, and offers important guidance for people with fibromyalgia, pain, insomnia, and a host of medical problems. They include some fascinating theories. For example, the theory that having your bare feet touch the ground can neutralize free radicals — though it initially sounds radical, it makes excellent sense when looked at more closely.
Although time will tell how close their theories are to the mark, the research presented shows clearly that some simple common-sense tips, including ideas such as grounding your bed, can offer dramatic health benefits. Although well grounded scientifically, this book is also easy reading for nonmedical/non-science readers. It is fun, enlightening, and offers simple practical tips that have helped many people regain their health. I am happy to recommend it!
Earthing (Basic Health Publications; 1st edition, April 9, 2010). $18.95. 260 pages. Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, Martin Zucker.