Remember that wellness isn’t a day at the spa, but rather achieving one’s maximal potential. As such, we are interested in all things that can help us do that. We are natural, biological beings. If you believe in that from dust we come and from dust we will return, we are made of the Earth. In fact, we are made of organic compounds derived from the Earth. We are going to get into the topic of Earthing.
This means that we are as much part of the Earth as the Earth is part of us. We are earthly beings, born on Earth and most of us will die here.
Our relationship with the Earth has been historically very much a Sum 0 game. The Earth has and we take. If it has oil, we take it. If it has gold, we take it. If it has bison, we take them, almost to extinction. If the Earth has space, we take it, spread out and build a home.
It’s a Sum 0 game, which means we take what we want when we need it. We are engaged then in a Sum 0 game, which has only one end: we win and the Earth loses.
What if we revisited this relationship? What if I told you that the Earth plays music, which our bodies literally dance to. Our bodies are in a constant state of oscillation or movement. Our bodies are made of carbon, which is a central element to all living organisms. The study of carbon is also called organic chemistry.The most basic form of any carbon compound is an atom. Within each atom, there is a proton neutron and electron. The majority of the atom is occupied by space. Think of it like a min-solar system, where the proton neutron and electron are planets moving around in the solar system, which is the atom. Have I lost you?
Let’s bring it back to the big picture. According to an article published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, “Music has been shown to modulate several cardiac and neurological functions and to trigger measurable stress-reducing pathways, to module blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, EEG measurements, body temperature, and galvanic skin response; alter immune and endocrine function; ameliorate pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, and depression.”
This same article “showed that changes in the rhythms and modes of interaction of subcellular oscillators can result in remarkable modulation of gene expression and cellular dynamics, playing an essential role in states of wellness and disease.”2
Recall that music is in essence a sound wave, which for the non-physicists is a compression wave that travels through a medium, such as sound or water. This compression, in essence, impacts the motion of our atoms and carbon compounds in our body. This change in oscillation or vibration can lead to changes in our very gene expression and interactions between our cells, leading to development of both wellness and disease.
This is really big folks. Interestingly, it’s actually some of the basis of many Eastern religions and the understanding of our emotions. It might explain how a sad song can make you feel sad, because you are actually becoming sad and how a happy song can make you feel happy. This will be an important topic for later discussions as it relates to wellness. Feeling sad is ok if it’s warranted, but if you live in a world of sad music, surround yourself with sad people, you could see how this could literally become a hormonal problem. When we observe our neurotransmitters, we say we are having problems with serotonin, so we need to modulate our serotonin through SSRIs, which are serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The interesting part of this is that we are observing the hormonal difference, rather than understanding the cause.
Back to Earth…Back to Nature. The Earth has its own oscillations and constant movement. It’s a complex analysis, but suffice it to, we know this. We know that the Earth is always rotating, but it’s also always oscillating. Research, in fact has shown this. “Contact with the Earth-whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems-may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV (heart rate variability), hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”
It seems that Earthing or spending time on the Earth’s surface is good for treatment of disease and for prevention of disease. So, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, most of us are doing just the opposite, we are spending most of our lives indoors. The largest study on human activities called the National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS), sponsored by the EPA, surveyed 9,386 people and found that respondents spent an average of 87% of their time in enclosed buildings and about 6% of their time in enclosed vehicles.What??? This is crazy, but I can’t say I’m surprised.
If we are spending 93% of our time off from the Earth’s surface, we are missing out on all of the amazing benefits outlined above. We are less well and less healthy, than if we were spending time on the Earth’s surface.
As parents, we are working. We’re busy! But, what about our kids? One study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average 8 to 18-year-old kid is now spending 7 hours and 38 minutes of electronic screen time per day. The NWF (National Wildlife Federation) goes on to suggest that the CDC advises an hour per day of moderate physical activity for kids.5The NWF concludes that 30 to 60 minutes of outdoor play time per day but even just 10 minute “chunks” of time are a good idea.5Cornell University found that children who spend significant amounts of time immersed in nature and the outdoors such as camping, hiking, or other nature activities in their younger years are more included to be conservationists or at least be conservation-minded as adults.5
If the Earth gives us good vibrations, then, we need to make sure it’s around. As I mentioned at the beginning, though, we’ve been treating it like it’s a sum 0 game, taking from it what we want. If spending time outdoors, as kids, leads to conservation, then maybe if we build outdoor time into our personal and family wellness plans, we might just be able to switch the sum 0 game to a sum 1 game, where we can start building a mutually beneficial relationship with the Earth. If we do this, we will all be better off.
Researchers at the University of Oregon found that those living close to protected lands, national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas has a positive impact on health.3 Conservation is important, because it places a value on the Earth, treating our Earth as an equal in a Sum 1 game, rather than Sum 0.
There is a spiritual connection between the Earth we walk upon and our very souls, which may be better understood in the future by looking at oscillations and vibratory patterns, but this spiritual relationship is important. We must learn to love and respect our Earth once again, as our Native American caretakers of this United States once did. It’s not too late. We can learn. Our health depends on it. We can start by loving the Earth through conservation and enjoying it, but spending 30-60 minutes daily can curb the problem, opening us up to improvements in health and wellbeing.
“Organic Chemistry.” Chemistry for Kids. https://www.ducksters.com/science/chemistry/organic_chemistry.php. May 19th, 2019.
“Earthing: Health Implication of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons.” Chevalier, et al. J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 291541. Published Jan 12 2012. Doi: 10.1155/2012/291541.
“The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants.” Klepeis, et al. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. Published July 26, 2001.
“How much outdoor play time does your child need? What the experts say?” National Wildlife Federation. Students and Nature. November 25, 2010.