“Please go outside and touch some grass.”
If you often spend your downtime on Twitter, then I’d assume you come across this statement at least once a day. It’s a viral meme typically used as a passive-aggressive comeback when somebody sends out questionable, borderline pointless tweets (such as tone-deaf political opinions or out-of-touch and insensitive comments). It’s a way of telling people that they need to unplug and bring their sense of reality back in check.
But did you know that “touching grass” can actually be an effective way to reconnect with the world and take back control over your life?
Touch some grass—literally
These days, so many of us are dependent on computers, tablets, and smartphones for entertainment and socialization. And it’s really not surprising, especially now that we’re approaching one year and eight months in lockdown. But this habit can result in feeling detached from reality, which may eventually hinder our ability to live a productive life.
The good news is, we can overcome this feeling by literally touching some grass—may it be in a public park or our own backyards. And this particular technique is called earthing.
Now what is earthing?
Earthing (a.k.a. grounding) is a form of ground-based alternative medicine that claims to have beneficial effects on health through making direct contact with the Earth’s surface. As you touch or lie on the grass, the Earth’s electrons flow through your skin and into your body, electrically neutralizing positive-charged free radicals, a 2012 study on earthing found. This then creates an instant electrochemical reaction that can enhance the body’s immune and inflammatory responses.
The same study noted that earthing can reduce risks of chronic stress, inflammation, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and hypercoagulability, among others. It can also help boost productivity and improve overall mental state, according to 2018 research. The longer you are connected with nature, the better it works.
Types of earthing (besides touching grass)
There are other ways to interact with the Earth’s surface sans grass. One, you can go barefoot outdoors. This is considered one of the easiest and most common forms of grounding. Two, try hydrotherapy. One 2014 study suggests that this technique can improve immunity and manage pain. Three, purchase an earthing mat.
An earthing mat is usually made of polyurethane and is connected to an electrical outlet by a wire. It works by making a conductive connection between your body and the ground below it. Earthing mats were originally designed to be used out in nature where you could make contact with the ground on your bare feet, but they can also be used indoors on carpeted floors or wooden flooring as long as there’s an electrical outlet nearby.
Your pets can benefit from earthing, too
Similar to humans, animals (especially house pets) can benefit greatly from earthing. When you walk your pet around the neighborhood, it will automatically get in contact with the Earth’s electrons. “Many times when a cat or dog is ill, you will find them outside under a bush where they have dug a hole to rest in. My feeling is they are tapping into the energy field of the Earth and benefiting from the infinite source of electrons and other intrinsic healing properties of the Earth,” said a holistic veterinarian.
In conclusion, your body doesn’t need wires from gadgets plugged into it in order to function properly. It rather thrives best when you’re grounded and connected with nature. So maybe it’s time to do what your Twitter friends suggest and touch some grass. Feel your fingers against it as it tickles your palm and gives you a reality check and some sense of belongingness.