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The Link Between Grounding and Gut Health

This article was written by Sophie Atkinson

On the surface, grounding and gut health may appear to be two entirely different things with no correlation to one another.

However, when you start digging into the practice of grounding, you’ll quickly notice just how fundamental this can be for supporting gut health. For example, the gut and brain are in constant communication through the gut-brain axis.

This is a network of nerves that connect the brain and gut, allowing them to send signals back and forth. The brain can influence activity in the digestive tract and gut microbiome and the gut can affect brain activity, emotions, and feelings.

Essentially, a happy brain can make for a happy (or improved!) gut which is where grounding comes in. This practice is known for reducing stress and feelings of anxiety which is a major trigger for the gut. 

Similarly, it can reduce inflammation within the gut lining which improves digestion and discomfort. And the actual process of going outside in a grounding exercise can encourage healthy bowel movements and lower indigestion.

To really explore the link between grounding and gut health, we’ve included everything you need to know about the powerful duo.

 

What is Grounding?


Grounding, which is also called earthing, is where you stand on the earth or have direct contact with a product that is grounded into the earth.

When you do this, it connects your body to the natural electric charge of the earth which transfers electrons into your body.

It’s a therapeutic technique that relies on earthing science and grounding physics to explain how the electrical charges can have positive effects on the body. It’s become known as an anxiety-reducing technique as it can reorient people into the here and now and to reality.

However, it has a whole range of benefits including playing a part in improving gut health.

 

How Earthing Works


In simple terms, grounding or earthing can be the act of putting your bare feet on the ground.

When your body makes this connection to the earth, it dissipates static electricity and any extraneous charges that are on you. At the same time, a charge of energy - in the form of free electrons - is absorbed through the feet. This then helps the body to match up with the natural frequencies of the earth.

Some refer to this as akin to taking a handful of antioxidants all at once. Others describe grounding as being a lost art due to the invention of rubber sole shoes.

 

 

Benefits of Grounding

 

Reduces Inflammation


A hugely documented benefit of grounding is the better blood flow that it promotes. When this is increased, fresh blood and oxygen can be delivered to the injured area quicker. The waste is effectively carried away too, back to the kidneys.

This improved flow of blood leads to better waste management which can result in quicker recovery times, improved tissue health, and a reduction in inflammation.

In a study from 2013, the zeta potential of 10 healthy subjects increased by an average of about 270% within two hours of earthing.

It has also been found to change the number of immune cells floating around in the bloodstream which then influences the downstream factors related to inflammation.

 

Improves Digestion


Due to the benefits of lowering inflammation, this would take place in the gut lining too which will allow for less discomfort and enable the food to be digested more easily.

As blood flow is increased, the gut absorption will be enhanced as well. As well as this, the actual act of grounding by going for a walk can boost gut motility. Even just taking 10 minutes to walk grounded after a meal has been said to help boost gut peristalsis naturally which encourages healthy bowel movements, and decreases bloating, indigestion, and constipation.

 

Improved Sleep Quality

 

Grounding to the earth has been found to directly help with re-syncing the body’s circadian rhythm to the earth through the global electric circuit.

This is improved upon even further when you’re getting up with sunrise and going outside within the first 30 minutes of waking up. This activates the body’s natural boost of the chemical called cortisol. 

This chemical acts as a secondary messenger between central and peripheral clocks, so the synchronization of the circadian rhythm is important. Cortisol gets you up and ready to go for the day. When this is increased during your morning walk after waking up, it can help to synchronize the body across a range of nongenomic acts to both the sleep-wake and light-dark cycles. 

 

Reduced Stress and Anxiety


Grounding allows your mind to be taken away from its stressors and moments of panic, as you can redirect your thoughts into something that is taking place in the present.

When you’re reconnecting with the earth and are outside focusing on the sounds and nature, our body can relax and self-soothe. In a study looking at the effect of simply playing ‘nature-related sounds,’ this is shown to affect the bodily systems that control the flight-or-freight and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems.

Other findings show an increase in rest-digest nervous system activity when listening to natural sounds, rather than artificial. This process is often associated with relaxation.

Research by the National Trust found that listening to woodland sounds for just one minute resulted in people feeling 30% more relaxed, along with anxiety levels being reduced.

 

Enhanced Immune Function


We’ve long been told that children playing outside can reduce risks of developing allergies and autoimmune conditions due to early exposure to dirt. Well, grounding could have similar effects for adults.

The great outdoors is known for boosting vitamin D which isn’t just important for bones and blood cells, but the immune system and function too. Fresh air can be an effective way to boost your immune system and fight off pathogens.

Authors of a report from 2020 say they believe grounding can counteract cardiovascular, respiratory, neurodegenerative, and auto-immune conditions.

 

 

Grounding Techniques for Better Gut Health

 

The beauty of grounding is that many techniques are free and super accessible. And while your gut will thank you for the stress management and healthier habits, grounding is a holistic method that can bring in a whole range of mental and physical benefits too.

 

Outdoor Grounding Activities

 

Being outside in nature is a free and beautiful outdoor grounding activity that promotes better gut health. This doesn’t have to mean going on a long excursion either, but simply making time for getting outside every day could do the world of good.

If possible, go for a walk on your lunch break or suggest going for hikes with friends after work. 

Similarly, getting sunlight within the first 30 - 60 minutes of waking up can regulate your circadian rhythm so walk barefoot outside in your yard and connect with nature.

Simply being around the noise of nature and immersed in it during your walks can lower blood pressure and stress hormones. So it’s more than a pretty view and sound, it can have a hugely positive impact on the human body.

Once you’ve mastered the practice of getting out and about every day and are looking for more, growing your own food can improve psychological wellbeing and health too. Some of the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow in your own backyard are tomatoes, beans, strawberries, and salad leaves. With this activity, you’ll feel the benefits of being outside and reduced stress while also having healthy food for your meals. Eating healthier and incorporating more fiber-rich foods (like legumes, vegetables, and fruits) into your diet can be advantageous for your gut.

 

Indoor Grounding Techniques

 

Even just moving your body can be an incredibly useful grounding technique. Whether you get on the ground and start doing push ups or opt for the classic jumping jack, just start moving and get your blood pumping. This can take your mind away from a situation, but the act of exercising will also be a positive for your gut.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to do while remaining still consider progressive muscle relaxation or meditation. Muscle relaxation focuses on the practice of tensing one muscle group at a time, followed by a rest period.

When you tighten certain muscle groups, pay attention to what this feels like in every part of the body. Again, this can bring your mind away from negative thoughts and feelings and reduce feelings of anxiety in the moment. It’s in times when anxiety and stressors are raised that your gut may be wreaking havoc as chronic stress can be a major trigger.

For another stress-busting indoor grounding technique, work on some yoga poses. Search for a calming yoga meditation on YouTube and follow along at home. The National Institute of Health says scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, and quality sleep, amongst others.

 
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For more articles on gut health, read:

Headshot of Sophie Atkinson: Kineon's Women's Health and Wellness Writer

Sophie Atkinson

Job Title: Women's Health and Wellness Writer
LinkedIn: @Sophie_Atkinson
Location: United Kingdom
Bio: Sophie Atkinson is a journalist and content writer. Sophie went straight into the newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism. She has since gone on to work as a freelancer for a range of brands worldwide. Her work has included a focus on several topics around women’s health, with the aim of putting a stop to the taboo culture surrounding certain subjects and health issues

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