Earthing: How Walking Barefoot Could Cure Your Insomnia & More | Goop
Earthing therapy rests on the intuitive assumption that connecting to the energy of the planet is healthy for our souls and bodies. And while there’s a definite, if New-Age, appeal to the concept of energetically connecting with Mother Earth, there’s also a more scientific angle to the practice, which posits that access to the abundant supply of free electrons in the (subtly negatively charged) ground can help neutralize free radicals—if only we would take off our shoes and access them. Several people in our community (including GP) swear by earthing—also called grounding—for everything from inflammation and arthritis to insomnia and depression. Below, longtime earthing-movement leader Clint Ober explains what earthing is, how it works, and—importantly—how to do it yourself.
A Q&A with Clint Ober
How did you first discover the health effects of grounding?
In my first career, I spent thirty years in the cable television industry, where all things electrical have to have a portion of their circuit connected to the earth. The air and environment contain static electricity that gives electrical wires a different potential than the earth; you could also think of it as a different amount of electrical charge. The earth will discharge or take up an infinite amount of electrons, so when something with electrical charge is connected to the ground, its electrical potential neutralizes. If electrical cables aren’t grounded, the static will interrupt the quality and stability of the signal.
With my working knowledge of grounding, I became much more conscious of the fact that we all wear shoes with non-conductive (usually rubber) soles that insulate our bodies from the earth. In ancient times, most people either walked barefoot or on shoes with leather soles that became conductive when they were wet with sweat from our feet. I asked myself what might be the consequences of humans no longer being naturally grounded. It’s intuitive that—like in a cable system—grounding would neutralize any charge in the body. After grounding myself, and a few friends who had arthritic-type health disorders, I became convinced that grounding could reduce chronic pain. So I’ve spent the last seventeen years trying to find out if any science supported my hypothesis.