Chronic inflammation, which is the long-term activation of the immune system, is thought to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and may even accelerate disease progression. A simple and attractive non-drug approach to reducing inflammation, known as “Grounding,” is gaining interest among researchers and the general public. “Grounding” or “Earthing” refers to the direct contact of the body to the earth. Typically, bare feet or hands are put into contact with the soil, sand, or even specially created grounding systems.

Back in India in my younger days, I often visited my grandfather who owned a house that lacked the usual furniture. It was a common practice back then to walk barefoot, sit on the ground, and sleep on the floor. Life was simple, devoid of plates, soaps, cleaners, detergents, footwear, etc. I learned yoga poses the hard way — on the bare floor. There were no mats or props. In all these situations, one fact stood out; clearly, we were grounded or earthed. In today’s world, most of us have lost direct contact with the earth. Some experts believe that this disconnect is a contributor to the many rising health problems we face today.

A growing body of research is finding numerous health benefits as a result of the physical body being grounded. The immediate effect people report from being grounded is that they ‘feel better — a greater sense of peace, calmer, with reduced stress. Reports indicate that walking barefoot on the earth or sustained contact with the earth boosts immunity and promotes health and well-being. Regular grounding improves digestion, cognition, sleep, and blood circulation. Grounding can stabilize the body’s basic biological rhythms, aid in the healing process, and reduce stress, anxiety, and irritability. While most benefits of grounding come from anecdotal reports, there is emerging evidence-based research that has found that grounding helps reduce chronic pain and inflammation. The results from several pilot studies have been so compelling that researchers are encouraging people to increase their contact with the earth. To experience the benefits of grounding, try walking barefoot on the beach, in the yard, or on the grass. If you do a lot of yard work, try doing the same without gloves, and ensure that your hands are directly contacting the soil. You may be surprised at the benefits of such a simple activity.

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