An abundant supply of free electrons
As bioelectrical beings, we carry a positive charge in our bodies due to excess free radical build-up, explains Jackie Retief.
This happens due to normal essential metabolic processes in the human body or from external sources such as exposure to
X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoke, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals.
Excess free radicals cause chronic low-grade inflammation in the body, which in turn causes a myriad of other diseases, including chronic pain.
“The earth’s surface has a negative charge due to an abundant supply of free electrons. When we make contact with the earth through grounding, the positive charge in our bodies is neutralized - which produces a healing effect on a cellular level.”
Since the introduction of rubber-soled shoes in the 1960s, we are rarely in contact with the earth, says Jackie.
“We are completely insulated from it all day long. Being indoors - our houses have plastic under the floor, which also insulates us.”
Slowly but surely, we have gotten fatter, sicker, and more stressed, now seemingly under the impression that being unhealthy is the normal and natural state of the body.
Grounding not only has an effect on the immune system due to free radical neutralization, but also calms the over-stressed sympathetic nervous system that influences heart health, blood pressure, and the secretion of cortisol (stress hormone), she explains.
“It is a well-known fact that the body produces vitamin D when the skin comes in contact with the sun. This has a robust effect on your immune system. Similarly, it makes sense that grounding has a robust effect on our immune system when the skin comes in contact with the earth.”
The most basic form of grounding is walking barefoot outside.
When the feet make contact with the surface of the earth, your body automatically absorbs the negatively charged free electrons, which in turn neutralizes the positive charge of the free radicals.
“It neutralizes oxidative stress in the body, and inflammation dissipates. This is why you sleep so well and feel so good when you are on holiday and you have spent time with your bare feet in the sand or the ocean.”
Practicing it for just 20 minutes every day will have a profound effect on your health, says Jackie.
Similar to drinking water, you need to do it daily to reap the health benefits.
“It wouldn't help much to drink no water during the week and then take in eight litres on Sunday.”
The healing benefits of regular grounding are plenty – improving sleep, metabolism, cellular function, energy levels, and circulation; reducing inflammation and pain - including arthritis; recovery from injury or stiffness after exercise; decreasing cortisol, stress, anxiety, depression, and many more.
According to Jackie, more than 25 peer-reviewed studies are available on the subject of grounding.
The problem now, however, is to find the time to kick off your shoes and relax with your toes in the grass.
To address this problem, grounding devices have been developed - varying from a fitted sheet you put on your bed to a grounding desk pad for your office.
These products have conductive materials like silver woven into them, Jackie explains.
The sheet or desk mat is connected to a grounding wire that goes into the grounding hole of the three-pronged outlet in your wall.
In this way, the free electrons can be absorbed through the ground rod that grounds (earths) your house to your body while you sleep or work, meaning you get the same benefit as walking barefoot outside - while you sleep.
Jackie came across grounding during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic while researching how to improve immunity naturally.
“I believe health should be the natural state of our bodies. By adjusting lifestyles and mindset perspectives, our immune systems should be able to protect us in a much more robust way.”
First introduced to the concept by a documentary called The Earthing Movie, she was intrigued by the science, which made a lot of sense to her. Further researching the subject, Jackie was especially interested in a video on grounding used in the Tour de France as a means of recovery from exercise and wound healing.
“I decided to invest in a grounding sheet for my bed, and I have never looked back. My sleep has improved, and recovery after exercise is significantly faster.”
Drawing on her own experience, she decided to start sourcing the products to see how they could benefit the type of patients she sees in her practice as a biokineticist.
“The results we have seen have been absolutely amazing. Testimonies from patients with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes, blood pressure issues, anxiety, and even teenage acne have been overwhelming.” – [email protected]; www.groundingafrica.com