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Late last year I received the opportunity to try out a pair of Bahé’s grounded trainers. Initially I was drawn to them as trail trainers that could replace my really chunky ones. They looked really effective but also nicely minimal in their design, and have various attractive sustainable aspects in terms of how they are made. Bahé are also a small UK based brand which is a plus too. But there was also this intriguing aspect to what they were offering – a trainer that could increase my connection to the amazing benefits of the earth through something known as grounding.
So while I started using the trainers, I also sought to understand grounding more and so I wanted to share some of my learning journey with you.
I first came across the concept of grounding when Emma Croman shared about Bahé in her brilliant newsletter.
The whole concept blew my mind really.
I mean, why had I not heard about this before?
Sure, I had heard of ‘grounding’ in the context of centering yourself, regulating yourself through meditation, breathwork, mindfulness, time in nature, and so on. I am also very aware of the incredible benefits that can be gained through time spent outside in the natural world – books such as Grounded by Ruth Allen and The Nature Fix by Florence Williams share lots more about these.
But this type of grounding, also known as ‘earthing’, meant something else – in short, a benefit experienced through being barefoot on the earth (or via another unclothed body part) or through using a grounding product that mimics being barefoot.
So what’s grounding all about?
Clint Ober is the man who has been on a mission for over 20 years to spread the message of grounding. He defines it in this way:
‘The earth has a negative charge. That’s why we ground everything to the earth in order to maintain electrical stability. The human body is the most electrical thing in our environment and it used to be naturally grounded to the earth before the 60s when we invented rubber sole shoes. Everything in the body needs to be grounded for electrical stability, and primarily our immune system.’(Taken from the The Minimalists podcast interviewing Clint Ober)
Clint Ober explains:
‘The way to live is to be connected to the Earth – grounded as much as possible − because being connected is like pulling a switch that enables your body to function more naturally and efficiently. Your body works electrically. You are a bio-electric being and you need connection with your natural electric source — the Earth’s electric energy. It establishes the most natural state of your electric body. It nourishes every cell.’From earthing.com
How beautiful is that – the theory that the earth nourishes every cell of our being? And perhaps it always used to, it’s just that we have become more and more disconnected from this process, with more barriers between us and the earth.
So how does it work?
I should let you know now that I’m not a very scientifically minded person and I will be honest that a lot of this went over my head. I don’t really understand it. But at the same time it was making a lot of sense to me. And after all, some of the best things in life go beyond what we can understand. I will share explanations that I found helpful, and trust that you will seek ways that you find helpful for you in coming to your own conclusions about all of this.
‘The earth’s surface has a virtually limitless supply of mobile electrons that gives the ground we walk on (as well as lakes and oceans) a natural negative electric charge. When you touch your body to the ground, it dissipates static electricity and extraneous environmental electrical charges that are on you. At the same time, you receive a charge of energy in the form of free electrons and your body synchronizes with the natural frequencies of the earth.’From earthing.com/pages/what-is-earthing
Bahé highlights the key health benefits available to us when we practice grounding:
- improves blood flow, for quicker oxygen delivery to enhance performance and recovery
- regulates cortisol levels to improve sleep quality and aid muscle regeneration and recovery
- helps to reduce chronic and acute inflammation by naturally returning the area to equilibrium
How do I get started?
So does this mean you need to become some kind of ‘barefoot hippy’ to be grounded regularly?
No! The beauty with being barefoot on the earth is that it’s free and wonderful for many reasons. But, of course, that’s not always possible for everyone.
There are products that facilitate this grounded connection, such as mats (you could put your feet on one while you’re working at a desk or watching TV even!), bed sheets (we’ve been trying one out – I’ll let you know how it goes!) and shoes like Bahe’s, so that if or when you can’t be barefoot on the ground, you can still get grounded.
Trying out the grounded trainers
Bahé’s shoes work with a bespoke ‘ground flow system’ design. They explain that there is a ‘series of conductive elements built into our running shoes that allow the flow of electrons without affecting any of the performance characteristics. This system means that as soon as you step foot on the ground, you are instantly connected to earth’s electrical field.’
Check out Bahé’s frequently asked questions for more helpful information about their shoes as well as on grounding in general. They’ve included in their list a bunch of studies and research that you can dive into on the topic.
It’s safe to say that I have gone down a rabbit hole on earthing/grounding and I’m excited to learn more, and experience it! I have now got my husband into it and we’re looking more into it together.
What really caught my attention
Watching the earthing documentary (free on YouTube) was really helpful in bringing the theory to life for me as it features people who share ways in which their lives have been transformed as a result of integrating grounding into their lives.
I shared some of the stories with my husband Tom who then watched the documentary himself. What really swayed his initial (healthy) skepticism was how Tour De France cycling teams are using grounding for better performance and recovery.
What particularly captured my attention were the stories of parents trying out grounding with their children. As I am preparing to become a mother for the first time this summer, this gave me another lens to look at this from.
I suddenly found myself curious with questions and opportunity:
- Could grounding help me feel more energised at a time when I am going to become very sleep deprived, or at least help with recovery?
- Could I integrate being barefoot on the grass at times in our everyday life – in the garden or trips to the park with our little one?
- As someone with generally good health, could I experience an even fuller good health, despite not suffering from any specific ‘pain’?
- Could other people in my life really benefit from this?
Would I recommend the trainers?
I haven’t used the trainers enough to review them as such yet – I hope to soon – but I am giving myself permission to use them for general walking too as I haven’t been running for a while since becoming pregnant. I took them on holiday recently and walked along the beach in them and on a hike up a mountain trail by a monastery and they were super comfy and I felt pretty happy about the idea that I was grounding at the same time.
If you’re eager to try them, you can use my code ‘WILDFOLK10’ for 10% off (and I’ll get a small commission) at bahe.co.
If you already ‘do’ grounding, let me know! I’d love to hear about your experience of it. Send me a message or comment on my Instagram post about grounding.