Lying and relaxing outside on the grass under a sunny sky, the sun kissing your skin, walking barefoot along the beach, or a day spent in your garden, can all offer you much needed physical relief as well as that added sense of emotional well being.
I don’t think anyone can deny the instant change in mood and sense of peace experienced when being outdoors and connected to nature. Many of us already know the amazing health benefits of Vitamin D obtained from being in the sun, or the immune promoting benefits of breathing in fresh air when opportunity arises. Nature knows what is best for us, and gladly and freely offers us its gift of “Vitamin N”.
Gillian Mandich, PhD, a health lecturer at Western University in London, Ontario says, “Nature provides enormous possibilities to improve health”. The health perks of nature are so great that she nicknames it ‘Vitamin N.’ “Any time outside is better than no time,” says Mandich. “Even a five-minute break outside can be an energizing boost!”
Just compare running on a treadmill inside a gym, to taking a walk in a forest or on the beach, and see how differently you feel. Some studies have shown that exercising in nature enhances the benefits of exercise in general.
A century ago Naturopathic doctors exploited the benefits of Nature by treating patients with mud packs, cold water, and exposure to direct sunlight and fresh air. These age – old remedies are now being re-discovered with a new understanding of the benefits from aligning our bio rhythms with the earth, and thereby being “grounded” or “earthed “.
You may wonder how this can be done, but it can easily be achieved through walking barefoot, sitting or lying on the ground.
Just remove your shoes for a few moments, plant your feet on the soil or grass, and absorb those healing natural bio-rhythms into your body.
For many, ‘Earthing’ or ‘Grounding’ may sound like a very new concept, but in actual fact Monks have experienced the healing benefits of walking barefoot and sleeping on the ground for centuries.
According to Joshua Duvauchelle, ‘some scientists are starting to link the earth’s energy cycles and rhythms with important roles in our own bodies’ electrical rhythms, such as regulating our hormone production and sleep-wake cycles. The act of physically connecting our bodies to the Earth, allows us to reset body’s natural electric charge. Research is finally beginning to back up the benefits of Earthing on our bodies and emotional well-being.’
Clint Ober, Gaetan Chevalier and Martin Zucker have all researched and written about Earthing. They claim that we are ‘bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet and how all of our cells transmit multiple frequencies that run our immune system, muscles, and nervous system’. They have found research that supports Grounding benefits, such as relief from inflammation and pain, improved circulation, and reduction of stress and anxiety. Some studies have shown that Earthing also positively affects blood glucose levels and concentrations of magnesium, iron, and other nutrients in our blood.
All living things on our planet are connected to the ground’s electric energy, but as we have become more and more industrialized, we have lost our connection to the Earth and Nature. High-rise buildings, rubber and plastic-soled shoes all act as a barrier to the Earth’s energy, insulating and disconnecting us from electrical contact with the Earth.
SO HOW DO WE DO IT?
Any contact between our bare skin and the planet’s surface is what scientists theorize can help us to channel and plug into the earth’s bio-rhythms and energy. Every day try to sit, stand, or walk on soil, grass or sand for as long as you can, though any little bit of time will make a difference. If you aren’t able to get out into natural space, the second best option is to walk on concrete. These are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s energy, but wood, asphalt, and vinyl are not conductive.
Damp soil is more conductive and can accelerate the benefits of Earthing. You can understand now why mud play is so much more beneficial than just allowing your kids to get dirty! Added to this benefit, the immune supporting benefit of soil bacteria may have a positive impact on your general health and immunity.
I have always enjoyed being outside. Now that I have children, I have even more reason to make sure that we get outside as much as possible. Where we live can get quite cold, so on those days, we bundle up warmly, but I still make sure we sit on the grass, breathe the fresh air and if possible – take off our shoes!
Next time you want to yell at your kids to “Go play outside!” do yourself a favour – kick off your shoes and go and join them!
NOTE: Having enough Vitamin D is vital for our overall health including the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system, regulating insulin levels and enhances the absorption of calcium. To optimize Vitamin D absorption, its best to go without sunblock and expose as much skin as possible, so aim for the morning sun to be safe from getting burnt.
A great opportunity for your child to have time outside is to let him/her participate in an outdoor adventure day. Visit https://redkingadventures.com/ for more information.
(This article has been read and approved by Dr N.S Wilson, Ireland)