GeneralHealth & Disease

“Earthing” and Permaculture: Potent Health Benefits for the “Dirt Farmer”

In permaculture, we focus a great deal of our attention on the restoration and the health of the soil. We would likely agree that as permaculturists, we must protect and build healthy soil in order to create productive and self-sustaining landscapes, and have a healthy planet.

Soil is Life

Healthy soil is composed not only of a myriad of living organisms, but it also provides some of the most basic elements of life to us and to many other organisms, including food, clothing, medicine, and fiber. Healthy soil soaks up water and filters it before it travels down into aquifers, sequesters carbon dioxide, stores important minerals, holds plants in place, and provides homes for many different organisms. The functioning of healthy ecosystems, and the planet, is largely dependent upon the health of the soil.

Beyond these significant features and benefits of healthy soils, did you know that the Earth itself is important for our own health? It’s not only the nutrient-dense foods that we can produce from healthy soil, and the exercise that we get from being outdoors and digging in the soil, or even the emotional benefits of connecting to nature as we do our permaculture work here, there, and everywhere.

Believe it or not, we humans are actually electrical beings. Our bodies have an energy flow that sends signals throughout our nervous systems to tell our various cells, tissues, and organs to function properly. Your body’s electricity is the way that your brain tells the rest of your body what to do, the way that your heart knows how to beat at the right rhythm, and how your body knows to maintain important functions such as your circadian rhythm.

Enter the Earth’s Energy

Like our human bodies, the Earth also has its own energy, or frequency. The Earth generates negative ions that ultimately influence all life on Earth.

Throughout most of our history, human beings were physically in touch with the Earth nearly all of the time throughout their lives. Our ancestors would walk barefoot or wear materials on their feet that easily conducted the Earth’s energy, such as animal skins, and they would likely even sleep on the ground, at least part of the time. For much of humanity’s existence, we also ran our lives based on the natural rhythm of the seasons, and the rising and the setting of the sun each day. Because non-industrial humans lived so close to nature, their bodies were almost constantly being infused with the energy of the Earth. We were nearly always “grounded,” you could say.

In today’s world, we are typically very physically isolated from the Earth’s energy. We live in insulated homes, often several stories above the ground. Our shoes are typically made of rubber soles, which insulate us from the Earth’s negative ions, and we travel around in motorized vehicles from place to place, isolating ourselves even further from the energy of the Earth. And of course, we, as “developed and civilized human beings” (whatever that really means anyway…), rarely ever sleep on the ground anymore, unless we go camping or something. All things considered, it is likely that one of the few times that most modern human beings ever directly touch the Earth is if we are barefoot at the beach. Humanity used to be continually physically connected to our planet on a daily basis, but we certainly aren’t anymore.

Could this lack of physical connection to our planet be causing us any problems? New research seems to say “yes.”

The Importance of “Earthing” (or Being Grounded)

It has now been discovered that by placing your bare feet on soil, grass, sand, or concrete, your body becomes grounded. The Earth is continually giving off electrons and natural electrical fields that when we are directly in touch with such energy, our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are brought back into balance. This in turn supports a healthy immune system, proper circulation, synchronized biorhythms, and gives us a wonderful free source of antioxidants that combat inflammation in our bodies.

“Earthing” and Permaculture: Potent Health Benefits for the “Dirt Farmer” 01

Could our lack of physical connection to the Earth be contributing to the increased levels of inflammation in our bodies and contributing to most chronic diseases that are connected to inflammatory processes?

We do know that in our modern world, we are also being constantly bombarded by many chemicals and heavy metal toxins, depleted and altered food that often do more harm than good in our bodies, and almost constant exposures to electromagnetic pollution from electronics and cell phones, and radiation from nuclear power. Such incessant assaults on our bodies deplete our natural stores of electrons, and we are left with increasing levels of inflammation due to free radical damage.

This free radical damage of the modern world is why we are always being urged by health professionals to take supplements that are high in antioxidants like Vitamin C, and to also consume foods that are high in antioxidants. While it is very important to eat healthfully, most of us are still missing a critical strategy that is literally right beneath our feet: being physically grounded to the Earth.

The Spiritual Aspects of Being Grounded

This may seem “out there” for some, but many people have reported that once they began to ground to the Earth regularly, they feel much more connected to the world at large and to other people globally. It’s as if Earthing helped to “plug” them into the greater scheme of the Universe, and they now feel much more connected to all living things on our planet. This would make sense, since all life on our planet is inherently connected to the energy of the Earth.

Is it possible that at least part of the reason why we are fighting with our planet and amongst ourselves right now is that we have lost this important physical and spiritual connection to our planet and to others? Just some food for thought, my friends….

How to Get Grounded

Grounding is very simple to do, and it’s essentially free! All you have to do to be grounded is to walk barefoot on surfaces like sand at the beach, grass (never walk barefoot on chemically sprayed grass!), bare soil, ceramic tile, and non-painted and non-sealed concrete or brick. Such surfaces allow you to be physically connected the Earth’s energy. However, surfaces such as asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic, vinyl, tar, and tarmac insulate us from the Earth’s energy field, and will not allow those important negative ions from the Earth to be physically transferred to you.

Since the discovery of the importance of “Earthing,” there has been the development of many products available on the market that allow modern humans to ground while indoors, or during a temperate winter when it is below freezing outside. Such products include grounding bed sheets, grounding pads, Earthing yoga mats, and even Earthing shoes that are made with materials that conduct the Earth’s energy right to you in a convenient way.

How Permaculturists Have a Huge Advantage for Earthing

As permaculturists, we spend large amounts of time outside doing our digging, planting, and many other activities. The opportunities for physically connecting with the Earth while doing permaculture activities are almost endless. Could you go barefoot while working in your garden or in your food forest, for instance?

You can also become grounded by physically being in touch with water. Have you ever had inspiration while you were in the shower? It’s likely that at least some of that was because you were being grounded! Be safe, but also be creative about the ways that you can incorporate grounding into your permaculture lifestyle.

Then, share with others about the importance of grounding. We have a lot of work to do in helping others to reconnect physically, emotionally, and spiritually with our planet and with each other. Perhaps Earthing can provide an important step in the right direction for doing this. And, we’ll probably end up much happier and healthier in the process!


Mercola, Joseph. Grounding is a Key Mechanism by Which Your Body Maintains Health. August 2, 2014. [online]. [Cited March 1, 2017).


  1. Absolute nonsense, unfortunately, because wouldn’t it be cool if it were true?

    Mercola is a peddler of pseudoscience and outright falsehoods. The referenced article contains no references to scientific papers or studies.

    Then this post refers to “spirituality”.

    Pseudo-science, and woo-woo talk … two things that the permaculture community has been warned pushes away anybody with even a basic education in science, much less the scientists, lawyers, engineers, researchers, and politicians that we really need on our side.

    I know an MD who’s coming to a PDC soon… I cringe whenever I see that the PC community is still embracing this stuff, because he’s going to throw away most of what PC claims if it’s mixed in with this garbage.

    Now, roll out the replies that say “science doesn’t know everything…”

  2. While anything can be carried too far this is a concept held by many ancient cultures in one form or another. Such instant closed mindedness is interesting since everything in permaculture was once considered woo woo science? Some cultures believed it was not just a one way street that while we benefited from the earths magnetic and electrical fields we also fed the earth with ours. Is that really so hard to believe? 5 years ago plants and fungi or trees connecting by root systems would have all been considered woo woo science. Electricity and magnetic fields greatly affect plants and humans that is why they do experiments in space and zero gravity. Have you ever listened to Bill Mollison talk he had an incredibly open mind.
    here are a few articles for your perusal – no they don’t specifically state earthing helps animals but they will for most open the mind to the possibility that there is yet things to learn? My question is how is all of the emf output of our society affecting the world around us?

  3. I know for a fact this is true I lived it I spent years as archeologist an my health was exuberant last 25 years I wear rubber shoes never go barefooted quit gardening my health is terrible I have autoimune disease.

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