‘Grounding’ or ‘Earthing’ is a therapeutic concept that involves connecting to Mother Earth via our bare feet. This will apparently reconnect our natural magnetic connection to Earth which is lost through shoes, floors, beds and buildings. Which may bring benefits such as a stronger immune system, reduced risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses and as well as improving our mental health.
So on a sunny Saturday afternoon in late March; I decided to test the concept out for myself. Near to where I live is a range of hills known as Wansdyke after a boundary between two ancient tribes. Covered entirely in chalk grassland; these hills seemed like a remote but safe place to reconnect with Mother Nature.
I parked the car at the start of the driveway to Bridge Farm in the Vale of Pewsey. This is where the road coming north out of the village of All Cannings crosses the Kennet and Avon Canal. There is also a byway opposite; yet be sure to always leave enough room for a tractor to pass by your car.
Leaving the car, I crossed the road and walked west on the byway. Crossing over the Kennet and Avon Canal and then shortly after forking right over fields. Here you will see a modern burial chamber on your left and the hills of Wansdyke in front of you. Cross these fields and then pass to the left of a small group of houses. Here, take care crossing a main road; then begin climbing up on to the hills. Although there are few signposts you can see where people have walked and worn a pathway over the grass. Reaching the ridge of the first hill; you can see the ridgeline running east towards Tan Hill. However, passing over a second stile; I turned west or to the left.
Reaching the Wansdyke
The grass is lush and green as I passed over a second hilltop and the earthworks of an ancient hillfort. The wind blew strong here so I paused for a moment to breathe in this fresh anodyne like air. I then climbed a taller hill to the Wansdyke ridgeline. From here, I could see far to north over Avebury and Silbury Hill. Continuing north over an open field; until I reached the ancient earthworks of the Wansdyke territorial line. Thought to possibly be a man made boundary between Britons and Anglo Saxons in the Dark Ages after the Romans had left our shores. To find out more about this amazing part of our history; see here: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/Wansdyke/
So turning left, after passing through a gate in a hedgerow. I soon reached a tarmac farm track passing back over the ridgeline towards the south. It is here I tried the barefoot ‘earthing’ for a short distance on the lush green grass. Then I descended back into the Vale of Pewsey on the tarmac road until I passed some barns to the left of the track. After these barns the track turned to the right. Looking across a field on the left to see the byway that would take me back to the start of the walk.
Walking around the perimeter of the field as to not damage the crop and avoid the road. I walked along the byway and past the modern burial chamber. Which is worthy of note when considering where you want to finally sleep: https://www.thelongbarrow.com/. I then walked back over the hump back canal bridge and back to the car.
My first conscious experience of ‘Earthing’
As I understand the concept; Earthing is reconnecting the magnetic fields created in the human body with Mother Earth beneath our feet. Every thought and muscular movement are created through electrical pulses travelling through muscles and nerves. Furthermore, our modern fast paced lives; have put barriers between us and Earth. Walking over artificial flooring, driving cars with rubber tyres and wearing rubber soled shoes. As well as sleeping on wooden framed beds with foam mattresses.
So by walking barefoot all electro magnetic fields in our bodies are equalized and grounded with Mother Earth.
One of the main advocates for ‘Earthing’ has a website that explains the concept well: https://www.groundology.co.uk/about-grounding. The website states that the Earth is a reservoir of free electrons. By walking barefoot we are able to balance the charge of electron deficient free radicals.
With ‘free radicals’ being: atoms, molecules or ions with at least one unpaired electron. These free radicals come from pollution sources outside of the body and change our cells to balance their unpaired electrons. Which in turn; can cause disease and illnesses such as cancer. It also states that ‘Earthing’ reduces the clumping of red blood cells; which will in turn reduce the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, there are many modern electrical appliances such as mobile phones. Which give out electromagnetic radiation that disrupt the natural electrical signals in our bodies. By ‘Earthing’ we can dissipate this voltage into the Earth.
Bare foot forward
So I have walked barefoot many times before this day. From being in the garden on a summers day, to strolling on a long beach.. Yet today by focusing on the feelings that were coming from my bare feet. I was definitely more aware of being reconnected or ‘Earthing’ with the solid ground.
Critics state that ‘Earthing’ is nothing more that pseudo-science; with the only research being carried out by people with a vested interest in the holistic industry. The doubters state that no benefits have been proven and ‘Earthing’ may be nothing more than a placebo. Yet whatever the academics believe or can prove; I think what matters is your experience and enjoyment. So try Earthing in your own time and come to your own conclusions.
The risks of walking barefoot
Although there maybe long term benefits to Earthing, there are also many clear and present dangers to walking barefoot. First of all, there could be hazards such as: broken glass, sharp stones, animal faeces or rusty nails. There is also the unseen risk of contracting the very deadly sepsis through broken skin. Sepsis only needs the tiniest cut to enter the body; so you may not be aware that your skin is broken because of the numbed sensation of walking barefoot.
On this walk, I was lucky to be only stung by stinging nettles (Urtica dioica). Which still gave a fiery but short lasting pain through the thick skin on the soles of my feet. Therefore, I will probably using walking boots to get out into nature and enjoy all its relaxing rhythm. Then when I return to the safety of my grassy garden; I will sit with my bare feet connecting with Mother Earth.
I will always enjoy and appreciate the feeling of being barefoot. Such as walking into the cool Atlantic waters after a long walk in the Algarve. Castelo Aljezur & Praia Amoreira on the Fisherman’s Trail. Yet, I will always respect and take care of a well made walking boot. Such as my Lomer boots: Lomer Keswick MTX walking boots review. Whilst wearing strong but comfortable walking boots you can walk safely through nature. You can appreciate your surroundings more when you are not looking to each step for sharp objects. For example, I climbed the majestic Posets mountain in the Pyrenees. Which welcomed me with sharp and loose rock at every step. A photo journal of my ascent to the summit of Posets
So, I believe there is a time and a place to appreciate every feeling and thought in yourself and nature. Therefore, I will continue to walk barefoot and reconnect with Mother Earth. Yet only when I can see that my path is safe and sound.