13: The Science Behind Why Kids (& Adults) Should Go Barefoot Outdoors

Earthing is the practice of connecting your body to the surface of the earth. Walking outside barefoot. Sitting in the grass without a blanket. It is a concept that has tangible benefits for both children and adults. What’s even better is that there is an indoor alternative known as grounding in which you can use grounding devices to connect with the earth.

The best part is that there’s scientific evidence that supports the practice.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn about earthing and grounding as well as a few research studies that share compelling evidence in favor of this practice. You’ll also hear the benefits of using earthing and grounding in your nature-based therapy practice.

The beauty of these practices is that they are low-cost, easy-to-implement strategies. You can incorporate earthing into your outdoor sessions. You can suggest grounding mats to your families for an opportunity to improve health inside and in situations you cannot observe, like the home setting.

Direct contact with the earth has innumerable benefits, and I can’t wait to see how you will incorporate these methods into your practice.

We’ll discuss:

  • What earthing is
  • Grounding devices that you can use inside
  • The many benefits of physically touching the earth with your body
  • A study on how grounding improves vagal tone in NICU babies
  • A study on the benefits of regular grounding in a teenager with severe disabilities
  • A study on how grounding can improve inflammation and autoimmune diseases
  • Results from a randomized, controlled trial in how grounding can improve quality of life in adult massage therapists
  • How both earthing and grounding can be easily implemented into your nature-based therapy practice
  • Why more research is needed on this important topic 


Resources from this episode:


Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? By Ober, Sinatra, & Zucker


How Does Grounding Affect Children with Severe/Profound Disabilities? (Delp, 2021)

Electrical Grounding Improves Vagal Tone in Preterm Infants (Passi et al., 2017)

The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (Oschman et al., 2015)

The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Bodyworkers' Pain and Overall Quality of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial (Chevalier et al., 2017)

Two bonus articles I didn't cover on the podcast:

Electric Nutrition: The Surprising Health and Healing Benefits of Biological Grounding (Earthing) (Sinatra et al., 2017)

Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons (Chevalier et al, 2012)

Previous episodes:

Gut microbiome episode

If you're ready to take the next step in this adventure, join our free Therapy in the Great Outdoors Community at therapyinthegreatoutdoors.com. The TGO community is a private space just for nature-based pediatric practitioners. We have loads of resources there to support you as you start or grow a nature-based practice or program.

  If you're a pediatric therapist interested in taking your work with children out into nature, the ConTiGO Approach Online Course will open for registration soon: visit www.ConTiGOapproach.com to join the waitlist.