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Earthing: Will walking barefoot make you feel better?


Agence France-Presse

 /  Tue, September 29, 2020  /  07:07 am
Earthing: Will walking barefoot make you feel better?

Illustration of walking barefoot. (Shutterstock/ Vanatchanan)

Have you heard of earthing or grounding? A wellness movement that advocates the advantages of a physical connection to the earth, it has been around for a while.

However, since the outbreak of the global pandemic, it has gone from strength to strength, as more and more people seek interior harmony and mental balance, while reconnecting with nature.

At its most simple, the practice simply involves walking barefoot to tune into the energy of the Earth. If its proponents are to be believed, many mental and physical benefits await. 

At a time when the coronavirus epidemic is still with us, an increasing number of people around the world are seeking to restore harmony between mind and body. Earthing can help by encouraging them to take advantage of the Earth's natural energy, which is not something that can be bought, sold or consumed, but can be a source of well-being.

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But what exactly is earthing? 

Before you get carried away, it is not just a matter of taking off your shoes and walking barefoot at work, in the subway or on a woven rug. No, the idea is to connect with Mother Nature by walking on naturally conductive materials like sand, water, earth. What is important is that the connection with the Earth is supposed to restore a balance in mind and body.

Although earthing, also known as grounding, is an almost natural concept in many cultures, it also seems quite alien in much of the world where days go by at a whirlwind pace that leaves little time or space for a connection with nature. All the more so, because we almost never take off our shoes in a suitable natural setting, and are thus completely disconnected with the energy of the planet.

At the end of the 1990s, Clinton Ober discovered the practice of earthing during his travels. Thereafter, he communicated this insight in a book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! (Basic Health Publications, inc.). In this work, the author explains that walking barefoot is not the only way to practice earthing. It is also possible to simply sit in a suitable environment that allows for adequate contact with the surface of the Earth. Regardless of the method used, earthing has the potential to help relieve a host of health problems, ranging from stress to chronic pain and fatigue.

All of this appears to be disconcertingly simple, and something of a godsend at a time when the appeal of nature seems stronger than ever.

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Finding well-being in the forest

Earthing is not the only practice that allows you to take advantage of a connection with nature. 

Sylvotherapy, or "immersion in the forest," also has a widespread following around the world, which has grown since the end of the lockdown. Pioneered in Japan by Dr Qing Li, the practice involves walking in the woods and relaxing while in contact with trees to take advantage of natural energy that restores a balance in mind and body.

The subject of numerous scientific studies, sylvotherapy has been shown to have a beneficial effect on stress, blood pressure, and immune defenses.

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