Growing up in Chicago where there are only a few months of great weather, I remember waiting anxiously for summer to get there.   The city has beaches covering the entire east side of the city on Lake Michigan, has well over 500 parks in the city, and is close to some fantastic State parks. Every summer I would vacation with my family at Starved Rock State Park and spend a week hiking in the canyons, swimming in the waterfalls, and communing with nature.

Best of all, was the fact that I didn’t need to wear shoes for three months out of the year. Whether I was digging my toes in the sand at the beach, or running barefoot in the park, there was a special something that I would feel for those three months. I just assumed I was feeling “summertime”, and even with the prospect of new shoes for school come September, I would have preferred to go barefoot to school..at least through the fall months.

Now as an adult, I find it interesting that when someone asks me what I like to do to relax, I automatically picture myself outside barefoot. It does not matter what the environment is, as long as I am standing on one of the Earth’s natural surfaces, such as sand, dirt or grass, I am a happy camper. Just feeling “summertime” all over again.

What I now realize, is that there was an actual connection with the Earth that facilitated a physical reaction in me. People have been walking barefoot since the dawn of man, and there are recoded studies back to 1880 in Germany, where the positive health benefits of walking barefoot and sleeping on the ground were reported. Earthing, or grounding as it sometimes referred to, simply means being barefoot outside in direct contact to the Earth. It also includes an ever growing group of “Earthing” products that can be used indoors.

The Earth’ surface has a negative charge, the free radicals and inflammation in your body have positive charges. When you are in contact with the ground, electron deficiencies and free radical excesses in the body are corrected. This “grounding” experience happens when a natural electrical state is restored. Your body has a very complicated electrical circuit, and the act of balancing it will result in better blood flow, less inflammation, and thus less pain, more energy and deeper sleep. The effect on people varies from one to another, with some people noticing a dramatic change in a matter of days, and some people having a more gradual, subtle effect.

This summer, as you are outside getting your Vitamin D and your oxygen, kick off the shoes and curl you toes in the grass (or the mud or the sand) and let your body re-connect with the Earth. I know I will be getting my “summertime” fix!

By, Tee Wilson

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