The Health Benefits of Grounding

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

If you’ve ever walked barefoot in your backyard or taken a dip in a lake or ocean, congratulations. By doing so, you’ve taken part in an activity called grounding - or “earthing” - which has seen a resurgence of interest primarily because information about it is being shared on social media. TikTok users alone have shared thousands of videos with the hashtag #earthing in the last year. And how-to videos on grounding and its purported benefits are widely available. How do you know if grounding is right for you?

What is grounding?

In its most basic sense, grounding is just a way to allow your body to have deliberate, direct physical contact with the Earth. This can be done in a variety of ways, including:
  • Walking barefoot outside your home, in a park or on a trail
  • Laying on the grass or the bare ground
  • Laying on the sand at the beach
  • Wading or swimming in an inland lake or in one of our Great Lakes
  • Wading or swimming in an ocean
  • Sitting outside on the ground
  • Sitting or laying on mats or sheets that are laid directly on the ground

Why grounding is getting attention

If some of these seem like things you did as a kid, you’re not far off from the point. Grounding is seen by many as a back-to-basics healing technique for the mind and body that emphasizes forging a stronger connection to the Earth by physical contact. Advocates believe this Earth-body connection is lost as people get older, or as society becomes more modern.
Some people see grounding as a type of therapy. Others believe it electrically connects you to the Earth, and that electrical charges from the ground can have a positive effect on the body’s health. Decades of wearing protective shoes and living life increasingly indoors has cut this connection, they say.

Possible health benefits

While not a lot of research has been done, proponents believe that grounding can improve health by:
  • Reducing chronic pain
  • Improving sleep
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Decreasing depression
Some studies have also looked at whether grounding can decrease inflammation in the body. This is especially interesting given that chronic diseases are, collectively, the largest causes of death for people in the United States. And many of these diseases are linked to inflammation issues. Controlling or even preventing inflammation is one reason grounding advocates give for practicing their form of Earth-based therapy.
An overview of some early grounding studies shared by the National Institutes for Health showed that when paired with a nutritious diet and lifestyle, grounding could bring about a positive impact on a person’s physical and mental health.
If you’re ready to give it a try, slip off your shoes and head outside, or grab a towel and make a beeline for your nearest beach.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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