Did ancient yogis and Qigong masters practice outside in bare feet because they didn’t have yoga mats? Or did they know that every living thing, including human beings, draws life-enhancing energy (Qi or Prana) from the earth through its feet, paws or roots?
A fascinating new book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever written by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra M.D., and Martin Zucker, documents studies demonstrating how our feet connect us to vital energies that sustain our health. The book also puts forth the astonishing premise that many modern illnesses are the result of our disconnection from the healing forces of the earth.
The authors remind us that our bodies are electrical systems that evolved within a vast field of electromagnetic energy. They describe how “a layer of free electrons covers the earth” and how our feet function as “ a kind of radar-sonic base” that absorbs these electrons from the earth’s surface into our body. This process “grounds” us by bringing us into resonance with the Earth’s negative potential.
The problem is that today’s non conductive clothing, floors and rubber soled shoes are inhibiting this grounding process. This, they argue, is causing a deficiency of electrons within our biological systems leading to chronic inflammation. This is pretty big claim, with huge implications.
Chronic inflammation is not only thought to be the culprit behind many modern diseases but is even being held responsible for premature aging. As far as I understand it, inflammation occurs when our immune system pours out large amounts of free radicals to kill infections and invading micro-organisms.
Chronic Inflammation occurs when these free radicals run wild and continuously build up in our bodies. The authors assert the reason chronic inflammation is so prevalent is because when the body is ungrounded, free radicals continually accumulate.
Because a free radical is a positively charged molecule it seeks out negatively charged electrons to become stable. A deficiency of electrons sends the immune system into overdrive by stripping electrons from healthy tissues.
The solution may be as simple as spending time everyday in direct contact with the earth’s surface. When we are grounded, billions of free electrons enter our body every second, seeking out and neutralizing free radicals. This connection literally brings healing energy into the body.
Today there is a great deal of research demonstrating the medical benefits of grounding. Cardiologist Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra has conducted studies showing that grounding not only reduces inflammation it restores natural internal electrical stability, improves blood pressure, blood viscosity and flow, increases oxygen uptake, and even enhances brain coherence.
The California Institute for Human Science investigated the impact of being grounded on nervous system function and found that within half an hour of being grounded participants showed a normalization of the stress related hormone, cortisol. Most importantly participants demonstrated increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the bodies healing functions.
So that’s why I am in awe once again of the wisdom of the ancient yogis. When they told us it was paramount to practice yoga in bare feet, they knew what they were talking about.
According to Qigong or Taoist Yoga, the front part of sole closest to the ball of the foots contains a major acupuncture point known as Kidney 1 or K1. This point is a grounding focus in all standing postures and is considered the major entry for the absorption of Qi – life force energy.
So this summer, go outside to practice yoga, leave your mat at home. Find yourself a quiet space, kick off your shoes and sink your feet deep into a patch of soft green grass. Find your K1 point and ground yourself in earth’s abundant healing and life-sustaining energy.
Note: Check out the new study published January 2012 in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.