I’ve just arrived in Darwin, Australia’s tropical northern capital. I’ve traveled from our southernmost capital, Hobart, across the continent. When I left Tasmania snow lit the mountains brightly and the island from the air was a sea of blue and white. I arrived in Darwin in the warm dark, seeing semicircles of dry season fires flaring orange in the black.
The first thing I do when I’m here is throw off my shoes and socks. Then I change into shorts and singlet.
Suddenly my skin can breathe. The pores open in the heat, blood infuses my capillaries and flushes me with colour.
I soak in sun like a solar cell. Heat zings on the surface of my skin and I feel as if I’m charging up. Super-absorbent little energy sucker that I am!
My eyes draw in the blaze of blue sky, green fronds, brilliant clouds. They feast on flashes of magenta bougainvillea and sunlit frangipani.
It’s so good to be in touch with the air, the sun, the earth. I feel like a warm-blooded living organism again, instead of a mega-insulated michelen woman with cold bones.
I grew up in a hot climate and my childhood memories are mostly barefooted. I remember the sensations – burning my soles on hot tar, the pride of being tough enough to run on gravel, the lush cushioning of lawns, warm puddles after thunderstorms.
I climbed trees barefoot and took my school shoes off in breaks and on my walks home. I loved the feel of cool tiles under my feet and polished concrete and sand. I still do.
And after reading a fascinating book about earthing, otherwise called grounding, it seems this is more than mere nostalgia. Right now, I’m instinctively doing the things that earth me.
Not only am I sucking in energy from the sun but I’m sucking it up from the ground. Free electrons are rushing up through my bare skin into all the regions of my body. Wow!
Maybe that explains the delicious feeling I get when I walk barefoot.
It may also explain my fondness for rocks. I’ve always loved lying on rocks. Especially big boulders, at the beach. Big round warm ones. I love to touch their surfaces with my hands, and even better, lie full length along one after a swim. They make me feel good.
This book details the scientific evidence for why earthing is so beneficial. We’re electric beings, affected by solar flares, full moons and electrical wiring in our houses. In turn, our own electrical charge affects our health and wellbeing. Grounding neutralises this charge and reduces inflammation, thereby improving sleep, relieving pain, and much much more.
This is a great story too, about a cable tv expert who stumbled upon the health benefits of grounding his own bed in exactly the same way that electrical devices are grounded, or the wiring in our homes. Clinton Ober was untrained in scientific methodology but perhaps it was this that allowed him to think outside the square. He’s co-authored Earthing along with health writer Martin Zucker and Stephen T. Sinatra, a cardiologist.
Getting grounded in a cold climate
According to Earthing, wet grass, sand and seawater make some of the best conductors. So walking barefoot on a dewy lawn or along the beach for half an hour is rejuvenating.
All this is easier when you live somewhere warm. The problem I have is living in a cool climate where barefootedness is really unpleasant much of the year. Winter in Tasmania is a challenge. My feet become alien and pale. I get a shock when I see them because they’re usually in socks or uggs. Mostly I’m indoors on insulated floors, insulated furnishings and wearing insulated shoes.
So as soon as I’m back in the cold I’m going to invest in some indoor earthing equipment from barefoothealing.com.au. I want a conductive sheet to earth myself while sleeping, a throw to use for naps or on the couch, and some earthing pads for working at the computer. I can’t wait to see if the benefits are as evident as my visits to warm places where I ground myself through bare feet.