Getting outside does the body good. There are scores of scientific studies that confirm just how good! But “earthing” takes a walk outside to another, deeper, more healing level.
What Is Earthing?
Also called “grounding,” earthing simply means walking barefoot on a natural surface like grass, soil, or sand. It’s important to remember that it is different than just walking outside, although that, too, is beneficial in so many ways. Making direct physical contact with the ground—and that doesn’t mean concrete or other man-made surfaces—is what it’s all about.
The prominence of the element carbon is what designates something as organic matter—and I don’t mean “organic” like your groceries! All living things are carbon-based. If you do any gardening or backyard composting, you’ll probably recognize that term, “carbon-based,” as the “green” stuff you put in your compost: leaves, grass trimmings, veggie cast-offs.
Earthing is also different from forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, which is the Japanese practice of fully immersing oneself in nature.
How Earthing Works in Your Body
There are so many studies that confirm how beneficial earthing is for our bodies and minds. A research review led by Gaétan Chevalier of multiple studies published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health illustrates how earthing has been shown to reduce stress, support immunity, help moderate heart rate and glucose levels, and even help wounds heal faster.
While there is still a lot to learn about how connecting physically with Earth affects our bodies, research shows that it has a lot to do with electrons and electromagnetic charge. Walking barefoot on organic surfaces actually changes the electrical activity of our brain.
It can even produce “measurable differences in the concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response,” according to the review by Chevalier.
Amazingly, this presence of carbon seems to be what makes carbon-fiber mattresses so helpful for better sleep and pain relief!
According to a study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, earthing may even help improve the function of red blood cells, a major factor in heart disease. Another study shows that earthing may help regulate both the endocrine and nervous systems.
Earthing is an amazing addition to your wellness care routine, just like regular acupuncture visits. Let’s schedule you for a spring tune-up to make sure you’re as healthy as you can be!
Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons, Gaétan Chevalier, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, Karol Sokal, Pawel Sokal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/
The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, James L Oschman, Gaétan Chevalier, and Richard Brown: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378297/
Earthing the Human Body Influences Physiologic Processes, Karol Sokal, MD, PhD, and Pawel Sokal, MD, PhD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3154031
Migraine triggers don’t necessarily cause a migraine; they are simply factors that increase the likelihood of getting a migraine. Triggers play a role in activating the process that leads to a migraine. Not every trigger causes a migraine for every person, even if a person is sensitive to a particular trigger.
But how much do you really know about controlling your migraines? New research suggests you not know as much as you think.
According to Timothy T. Houle, Ph.D. and co-author Dana P. Turner, M.S.P.H., both of the Wake Forest Baptist anesthesiology department, migraine sufferers make inaccurate conclusions about what triggers their migraines. Houle and Turner conducted a 3-month study of 9 women who suffered from migraines. They tracked the women’s hormone levels, stress levels, and the weather. The women kept daily diaries. At the end of the study, the scientists could not accurately predict which triggers would cause a migraine.
Their conclusion—most people can’t isolate the many complex variables in everyday life to accurately determine their migraine triggers. That means triggers are complex and situational. So what can you do?
Pay attention to your own habits and migraines.
While researchers may disagree about the accuracy of pinpointing migraine triggers, it’s important to remember that you know your body better than anyone. Living with migraines for years gives you deeper insight to what brings on migraines for you—if you observe them. If you find a correlation between a trigger and your migraines, trust it!
Part of the difficulty of identifying triggers is that some triggers may be active only under certain circumstances and involve layers of complexity. For example, you may be able to eat cheese or drink wine sometimes with no negative consequences, but consuming these things late at night or during a stressful time might contribute to a migraine. Many people are more susceptible to migraine when multiple triggers are present at once.
As your care providers, it’s important to always support your own knowledge of your body and your migraines. You know your triggers and I respect your intuition.
Common Migraine Triggers
Hormone changes can trigger migraines. Sometimes birth control pills increase migraines (while sometimes pregnancy prevents them). Monthly hormonal cycles can contribute in big ways to triggering migraines.
Food and Nutrition
What you eat and drink contributes a lot to your sensitivity to developing migraines. Typical food triggers include aged cheeses, processed meats, yeast breads, peanuts, legumes, caffeine, alcohol (especially red wine), chocolate, vinegar, fermented foods, tannin-heavy fruits (like citrus, raisins, red plums, etc.), and many more. In addition, some people are sensitive to sulfates, nitrates, nitrites, food coloring, and other food additives.
Lifestyle and Habits
Many triggers have to do with your daily habits, lifestyle, and environment. Stress can be a major factor that contributes to migraine development. No surprise there!
Other triggers can be fatigue, lack of sleep, over-sleeping too much, missing meals, changes in barometric pressure, or certain light hues or brightness. Strong smells such as paint, gasoline, or heavy perfumes can also be triggers. Buying an air filter for your home can be a game-changer for your migraine management.
While genetics don’t “trigger” a migraine, they play a role in how likely you are to suffer from migraines in general.
Quick tips for migraine management:
Acupuncture has proven to be a very effective treatment for balancing the constitution thereby reducing sensitivity to triggers. Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and minimally invasive way to take control of your health. Don’t wait, let’s schedule your appointment today!
Arthritis is one of the most common joint ailments, affecting over 54 million adults in the United States. Caused by a swelling of the joints, it can range from bothersome to extremely painful and can be a hindrance to everyday activities. Arthritis, along with other types of joint health issues, can be one of the most life-altering conditions to live with—because it can hinder everything from one’s ability to get regular exercise to how much someone can go to work.
Thankfully, applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can be amazingly helpful as arthritis treatments and general joint health maintenance protocol.
Within the theory of TCM and acupuncture, our essential life energy or qi (pronounced “chee”) flows along the meridians of the body. When the flow is constricted or imbalanced, we may experience illness or pain. The needles used in acupuncture are carefully placed along points connected to the meridians, stimulating those places to correct and encourage the flow of energy.
In TCM, the entire body is understood as a multifaceted mechanism whose parts function in concert—not silo-ed sections to be treated in isolation.
Various studies, including one by the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, found that patients felt significantly less pain and had an easier time walking after receiving legitimate acupuncture treatments.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis, some with very few treatment options as dictated by Western Medicine.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one variety that can be hugely disruptive to sufferers’ lives. RA is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that’s linked with progressive joint damage, resulting in severe chronic pain and long-term mobility issues.
Western medicine comes up short when trying to treat RA. Yet many clinical trials have shown that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has advantages in the treatment of RA.
Osteoarthritis & Preventing Knee Replacement
Another common and very detrimental type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, particular in the knee joints, and especially affecting older adults. When knee osteoarthritis gets severe enough, total knee replacement is the final treatment option.
A wide-ranging study of over 34,000 patients in Taiwan showed that TCM treatments reduced risk of total knee replacement in patients with knee osteoarthritis, and that enhanced benefits results from long-term treatment. The longer a patient used TCM, the less likely they were to need a knee replacement.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.