Walking barefoot on the earth is known as grounding, when we were kids, my parents were hippies and there was a lot of tree-hugging and barefoot dancing, it was all mortally embarrassing. Fast forward 35 years and groundbreaking science is championing our need to physically connect to the earth, with our bare feet. A typical example of science catching up with grandma. I recently saw a trailer for a film called Down To Earth, The Earthing Movie and in this brief intro, a physician describes her experience, of her baby stopping crying, when she walked barefoot on the grass and how that realisation led her to learn more about the power of grounding. My next interview is with that very physician Laura Koniver M.D.
Hi Laura, welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! We love that you have listened to your soul and discovered that intuitive information combined with medical knowledge is more powerful than either standing alone, not only that but that you have taken this understanding one step further and decided to share this knowledge globally.
Grounding is just the healing practice of touching the earth outside. Literally just touching the ground or anything living or rooted and growing from the ground — this includes grass, trees, flowers, even rocks and cement — it’s all grounded! When you touch it, you become instantly electrically equilibrated to the earth. When we are disconnected from the earth for long periods of time, we build up inflammation and have nowhere to discharge it. We can try to neutralize free radical damage and inflammation with healthy foods, vitamins, and supplements, but the earth will do this instantaneously for us throughout our entire body.
It’s such a relief that many people can literally feel the connection when they touch the ground outside. I highly encourage you to give it a try for yourself and see if you feel the support from being grounded. The earth outside is like a huge, neutralizing docking station for all living things, but human beings are so good at insulating themselves indoors, or with plastic soled shoes, or in rubber tired cars, that we just don’t get docked outside to recharge like we were designed to do. So re-introducing the intentional practice of being sure to touch the earth as often as we can is an entirely re-discovered health practice of grounding.
As we are re-discovering just how powerfully supportive to the human body grounding is, we are starting to get lots of medical studies showing the positive effects. From cardiac support to metabolic support to sleep support to muscle recovery to decrease pain, grounding impacts our entire body from head to toe. I am keeping an updated, running list of all of the medical studies on grounding as they are being published right here on my website for anyone who wants to read more on the science behind it, and I also have lots of wonderful videos on grounding and what it does for our health on my YouTube channel here.
Can you share with us in a bit more detail your experience when your baby was little and how you noticed the effects of grounding?
Oh yes, I would love to, because this just totally changed my life forever. I had never heard of grounding, certainly it’s not something they were teaching in medical school 20 years ago. But I had just become a new mom and my daughter had colic… she would cry and cry and cry and it was so distressing to me. No matter what I did, she just kept crying and crying and crying. I felt she was in pain, I could see she was in pain, I knew she was in pain, and the physician in me tried relentlessly to fix what was wrong and help her. I took her to her pediatrician and was given a prescription antacid and was told she had colic and that “babies cry, that’s just what they do.”
I feel that babies cry to communicate, not just to cry, and what my baby was communicating to me was that she was in severe discomfort around the clock. In desperation I would hold her to my chest, skin-to-skin, and walk outside under the moon and stars, praying and singing to her and crying right along with her. I always walked on the earth barefoot, because it was so wonderfully warm where we lived at that time and it gave me strength. I noticed whenever we were outside together, whether it was at night or during the day, if I was barefoot and she was touching my skin in some way, her little face would finally relax, her tear-stained gorgeous baby eyes would finally clear, and the pain drained out of her body. She would breathe deeply and calmly. And so would I.
But going inside, the moment both of my feet lifted off of the earth and went into an insulated house that had no ground connection, the pain would immediately return. She could be in a complete deep sleep and when that grounding connection was broken, the pain would immediately find her and wake her up.
At first I thought it was just being outside that was so comforting… maybe the sound of birds, the wind in the trees, or the fresh air? But over time I noticed that whenever we would go for a drive, or when she was in a stroller, fresh air and nature’s noises surrounded us, but she would still cry. I finally realized, without knowing anything about the science behind grounding at the time, that being barefoot on the earth was what was helping her feel instantly better. Once I made that connection, I found decades of research on this healing modality, as well as the fact that civilizations and cultures since the dawn of mankind have used contact with the earth as a healing tool.
I began to make sure that I took my daughter out for a grounding walk three times a day at a minimum, knowing that she would fall asleep and rest peacefully during those times. It was a matter of survival for both of us. This flowed naturally throughout my children’s childhood. Every day, both kids spent time barefoot outside, running through the grass, creating mud patches in the ground, stomping through rain puddles. It became such a joyful and healing part of every day of our lives that I now fully realize that it is abnormal for the human body not to be grounded.
How do we ground? Is it just through our feet? Is it just the earth – please share!
Actually, this is the best news of all: our entire body is grounded, so absolutely any contact with any part of our body will ground our entire body from head to toe. Resting your face on a tree branch. Touching a flower petal with your fingertip. Sitting on a rock. Laying on a picnic blanket and letting a shoulder go over the edge to touch the grass. If one cell in your body gets grounded, your entire body gets grounded.
So for times when you don’t want to get your feet dirty, or you don’t even want to take your shoes off at all — no worries. Slipping one finger out of a glove, while the rest of you stays totally bundled up in warm winter gear, will ground you all the same as lying in a bikini on the beach! Your entire body is conductive — every cell and every fluid. The plasma of your blood, the cytoplasm inside every cell, every cell membrane… all of it, all of it, absolutely all of it is conductive. And the entire earth is waiting to ground you. Every part of the earth’s crust is grounding — and everything laying on the earth’s crust, as long as it isn’t a manmade plastic surface, is grounded too. Dirt, grass, rocks, cement, trees, bushes, flowers, weeds, sand, water, lakes, rivers, even the morning dew — it’s all grounded.
This is awesome and it is free! Is there anything we can do to enhance grounding?
Yes absolutely. Grounding in the human body requires moisture and electrolytes to enhance conductivity. So the more hydrated you are, and the more mineral rich you are, the more easily you ground. Hop over here to read a full list of ways to make grounding more powerful, from drinking pure filtered water to adding trace mineral drops to your supplements to simply getting a pedicure and filing the calluses off of your feet!
How can we introduce grounding to our children?
Childhood and grounding go together. So much has been revealed about how time spent outside not only prolongs our lives (read this article to find out more about that) and dirt not only has a microbiome that is healthy for us to be exposed to, but too much time spent away from the outdoors is having a detrimental effect on our children (now called Nature Deficit Disorder in the health professions.). But the fresh air, vitamin D, and time spent in nature only half explains why it impacts our health so much — it’s truly because a grounded human body is a healing human body. Grounding is our natural state of repair and recovery.
So getting your children into the daily practice of touching the earth outside is one of the best things you can do to protect their long term health. It’s very very important to be crystal clear to your children — it’s ok to get dirty. All day long children are told to shut up, sit still, and stay clean. We really need to flat out encourage them to do the exact opposite when exploring the earth outside — move, roam, enjoy, laugh, talk, communicate, sing, roll around, discover, play, get dirty, get wet. Let them play in the mud, under a sprinkler, on sidewalks with chalk. And remember to set the precedent to incorporate grounding as a healing tool — when they have a tummy ache, head ache, a boo boo — go outside and hold them while sitting on the earth. Bring a book, sing a song, tell a story, bring a favorite stuffed animal, a cup of hot chocolate. Encourage them to notice how they feel better afterwards.
I loved to have the nightly routine when my children were young at standing outside, even for just a few moments, to stand barefoot looking up at the stars and moon each night before heading up to bed. I knew that grounding and then a nice warm bath and bed would allow their sleep to be even more restorative that night. I believe in introducing children to the routine of grounding so much I wrote and illustrated the world’s first children’s book on grounding, which you can find here.
Not everyone lives in areas where they can get outside and ground regularly, what can they do?
This is a perfectly timed question, as I just finished a major book manuscript for New Harbinger Publications, which comes out this spring! So the best thing you can do is hop over to my website here, and sign up for my weekly newsletter so that you will know when the book is available worldwide. It’s all about how to connect to the earth no matter where you live, what the season, what the weather, or what the health goal you have is. It’s called The Earth Prescription: Discover The Healing Power Of Nature With Grounding Practices For Every Season. And until the book releases, you absolutely should know that there are ways to get grounded indoors too! One of the easiest is just to ground through you faucets, as I demonstrate for you here.
You can also use indoor grounding tools that run a ground stake right outside and allow you to watch TV grounded, work grounded, even sleep grounded indoors all night long and still be in contact with the earth. All the grounding tools on the market were made from really cheap, toxic, plastic based materials that stopped working after a few uses. This totally didn’t make sense to me as I can’t understand why we would want to put crap that will last for centuries in a landfill onto the very planet that we are trying to connect within a healthy way. So I personally created the only organic, non-toxic, eco-friendly grounding tools that are healthy for you, and healthy for the planet. Artisan hand crafted one by one and shipped from my hands to yours. You can take a look at those here.
Where can we learn more about grounding?
I would love to welcome you over to my website, to read my weekly blog, and to join my newsletter, where I share one weekly health tip that is always uplifting and positive, and based off of the most recent medical literature. Or read my health column in MaryJanes Farm or watch any of the three health documentaries I am featured in. You can even watch The Grounded for free on YouTube right now! Or watch me talk about how I discovered grounding my daughter in the film Down To Earth for free right here. Or simply grab a copy of my book The Earth Prescription this coming spring — any of these resources are going to empower you to facilitate your body’s natural healing through touching the earth! Most importantly, have fun with this!
Much love to each of you… xoxox, Laura Koniver, MD
There are loads of ways you can find more about Laura’s work: