The well-grounded runner
Years ago, when I shared one of my posts on barefoot running (or cold showers) on Facebook, my friend Ramesh Pai shared this interesting anecdote:
You’ll be amused to know about this Polish guy that we met in the jungles of Costa Rica. He left his high paying job to go live in the jungle. He went barefoot everywhere in the jungle (“we’re electric creatures and need to be grounded”) and took cold showers (under the waterfalls of course!). Mosquitos didn’t seem to bother him (apparently drinking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar everyday makes your blood horrible to taste for mosquitos, and that they’d leave you alone soon after – go figure!).
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I LOVE being barefoot. Here’s how I described my feelings in my first year of barefooting: “this notion of running “without shoes” added mischievousness and a greater sense of freedom to my psyche.”
Could this business of “grounding” help explain the extra joy & freedom I got from my barefoot runs, I wondered.
This Australian Earthing specialist site extols a laundry list of health benefits – chronic pain reduction, improves sleep, increases energy, relieve muscle tension & headaches, reduce jet lag (and this is just a partial list). Any self-respecting first world purveyor of advice would be remiss in not monetizing – you can also buy an Earthing Sheet or an Earthing Universal Mat.
Scott Jeffrey, a transformational leadership coach, lists 9 powerful grounding techniques to “achieve instant calm and regain your center”. Jeffrey raises the ante by sharing recent medical literature on grounding. The following 3 studies caught my attention:
- One-Hour Contact with the Earth’s Surface (Grounding) Improves Inflammation and Blood Flow [scirp.org, UC-Irvine] – “The results of this innovative study demonstrate that even one-hour contact with the Earth appears to promote significantly autonomic nervous system control of body fluids and peripheral blood flow that may improve blood circulation in the torso and face, facial tissue repair, skin health and vitality and optimize facial appearance”
- The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases [Dovepress.com, UC-Irvine] – “Grounding reduces pain and alters the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes, and also affects various circulating chemical factors related to inflammation.”
- The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood [ ] – “study concluded that the 1-hr. contact with the Earth improved mood more than expected by relaxation alone” [Sagepub.com, UC-Irvine]
Jeffrey’s post is a long and fascinating read – urge you to read it in its entirety. Closing with a Hippocrates quote framed in his article – “Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from small daily sins against Nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear.”