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Doctor Says 'Earthing' Practice Helped Soothe Her Colicky BabyThis practice is said to improve sleep patterns, too. And it doesn't cost a thingby Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
One of the first words a Filipino child learns to say — aside from "Mama" or "Papa" — is "dirty." Many parents, especially first-timers, are germophobes. We never leave the house without a bottle of hand sanitizer in our bags because God forbid our kids might touch something unsanitary, let alone allow them to wander around without shoes on. Despite findings that show how dirt is essential in strengthening the immune systems of young kids, many of us feel more comfortable if our children were spotless at all times.
Now, new studies suggest that "earthing" — allowing ourselves and our kids to be in contact with Mother Nature — provides a host of other health benefits, including improved sleep cycles and fewer tantrums.
What is earthing/grounding?
Earthing also called "grounding" is the practice of reconnecting with the Earth. How is it helpful? In a nutshell, our bodies are made up of cells that are electrically charged. However, stress and free radicals can damage these cells, and eventually, this damage paves the way for inflammation and diseases, because our cells, which are electromagnetic in nature, have become unstable.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The Earth, on the other hand, is like a self-regenerating battery with an endless supply of free electrons — what our damaged cells need to pair with to become stable again. Advocates of grounding believe that simply going barefoot and feeling the grass or the earth "repairs" this imbalance.
Earlier this year, celebrity mom Bianca Gonzalez-Intal shared a photo that shows daughter Lucia grounding on the first day of the year. "Grounding on the first day of the year for energy from the earth," she captioned it.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
In the comments section, actress and mom of three Judy Ann Santos seconded Bianca's caption by replying, "Grounding is the way!" (It sounds like the Agoncillos are also into the practice.)ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Benefits of grounding
Articles on earthing / grounding claim the following benefits:
1. Improved sleep cycles
Cortisol affects our sleep patterns: high levels of cortisol keep us awake, while low levels make us feel sleepy. Those with sleeping problems are said to benefit from grounding because it synchronizes the secretion of cortisol so that it aligns with the body's natural circadian rhythm.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
2. Relief from body inflammation, improved circulation, and reduced pain
A study monitored the pain levels of individuals suffering from back, neck, and/or shoulder pain. After sleeping on beddings that were connected to the ground through a conductive cord for several weeks, their pain levels were significantly reduced.
3. Lower stress levels
Research suggests that grounding helps improve symptoms of anxiety and emotional stress like headaches and palpitations in as short as 30 minutes.
Physician Laura Koniver, M.D. says she learned about grounding after she became a mom to a baby who had colic. She says "The only time I could soothe her was when I was outside, and I was barefoot and I had her in my arms. And every time we were outside, she relaxed."
Premature babies are also said to benefit from grounding, says a 2017 study, as it "may improve resilience to stress and lower the risk of neonatal morbidity."ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
How to ground yourself
The good news about earthing or grounding is that it is easy to do. You don't need any special equipment or be in a specific place to practice it. Just go out barefoot on a day when the weather is good and allow yourself to sit or stand on soil or grass. Tiles, marble, concrete, and bodies of water like a river or lake are also natural materials that will keep you grounded.
The study on earthing/grounding is relatively new, so more research is needed to prove its worth. Either way, a moment spent outside in one's natural surroundings is always a good idea. And the next time you feel the urge to stop your child from getting "dirty," you may want to reconsider.