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photo by Lorenz Kerscher
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Feeling "grounded" is an increasingly uncommon experience in this day and age, and it should be, considering we no longer regularly touch the ground with our bare feet, as nature intended. This is due the rapid rate of technology that our society has undergone which has kept us from being in touch with our roots. The question is, is the process of advancing technologically causing us damage physically and mentally in a way that we never could have imagined?
It is no great mystery that the human foot was designed, over countless millenia, to be in direct contact with the Earth, the literal and symbolic ground of our being. And the Earth is no inert substance, but rather a living and breathing entity (of which we are but a mere part) capable of infusing us with its life, 'singing the body electric,' as Walt Whitman once mused.
Indeed, the Earth breathes life into us through a continual stream of free electrons...
It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth's electrical rhythms and free electrons to flow from the earth to the body.
—James L Oschman, Can electrons act as antioxidants? A review and commentary.
The effects of which James Oschman speaks are not simply theoretical. There are a wide range of measurable changes in the body associated with this "grounding" including changes in pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, perfusion index, and skin conductance which have been clinically studied.
Grounding has also been shown to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, lowers and synchronizes cortisol levels during sleep, reduce inflammation, modulates neurological function, and reduce oxidative stress.
A new study on being grounded published on January of 2012 in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health covers this topic in a much greater depth, and is well worth the read.