Can Walking Barefoot Balance Hormones?

. 9 min read
earthing

Two weeks ago, at the Weston A. Price Foundation Wise Traditions conference, I swung by the Radiant Life Company’s booth. I had heard that they were giving away free samples of magnesium oil. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know how much I love magnesium oil. (Read my post: Are You Suffering From Magnesium Deficiency?)

At the booth, I was curious about some products I saw called “earthing” sheets. I bought one, figuring what the heck, why not try it?

Kathy LeMoine of Radiant Life Company

I was also swayed after talking to Kathy and Norm LeMoine, the owners of Radiant Life Company (they are new sponsors of Real Food Media — you can find them on my resources page). Kathy and Norm told me their whole family sleeps on the earthing sheets. (Their kids were there working the booth with them.) They said they love their earthing sheets so much, they don’t go anywhere without them.

I trust Kathy and Norm because I’ve been buying products from Radiant Life since 2007. I used to buy most of the ingredients for Kate’s raw milk baby formula from Radiant Life.

What is Earthing?

Kathy and Norm explained that “earthing” technology helps to ground us to the earth. They also gave me a copy of the book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? (You can find the book on their website — click here to visit my resources page.)

I haven’t finished the book yet but so far it is fascinating. If you’re at all interested in this, I suggest you order a copy. I’ve become completely obsessed with earthing in the past few days. So much so that we were in a movie last night and I kept noticing when people were barefoot or wearing shoes!

I don’t have a lot of room in this post to adequately write about earthing and how it works. To learn more, get a copy of the book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? (You can find the book on the Radiant Life website — click here to visit my resources page.)

Here’s an interesting things I learned from the book:  Did you know that there are over 1,300 nerve endings per square inch in the soles of our feet? More than any other part of the body. Why would our feed contain so many nerve endings if there weren’t a purpose for them? And what could the purpose be?

Earthing advocates believe that the nerve endings in the feet are there to conduct energy from the earth. They say it’s similar to a plant’s roots extracting nourishment from the soil.

The Problem with Shoes

Unfortunately, most of us wear shoes with rubber or plastic soles. Rubber and plastic block the energy, as they are not conductive.

If you go back in history, humans used to go barefoot, or if they did wear shoes, the soles were made out of leather or animal hides. They would walk on the earth and sleep on the earth.

Take a look at your own shoes. Most of you will not have a single pair with leather soles. They’re very hard to find these days.

So What If You Can’t Walk Barefoot Outside?

Most of us can’t really walk around barefoot all day, nor so we sleep on dirt floors. Enter earthing technology. These products include conductive mats you can rest your feet on while you work on the computer or read, and sheets and mattresses that have silver strands sewn in that connect with a cord to the grounding plug on your outlet.

The idea is you can “ground” yourself even if you are indoors most of the time, sleeping on a raised bed, wearing non-conductive shoes.

Earthing and Cortisol

OK so this is the part that really got my interest piqued.

In the book, they talk about an interesting study that was done with earthing and cortisol. You can download it here: The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress.

According to the study:

Cortisol is a hormone that is associated with psychologic and physical stress, inflammation, and sleep dysfunction in humans. Chronic elevation of cortisol can result in disruption of circadian rhythms, which, in turn, is a contributor to a multitude of adverse health conditions, including sleep disorders, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, stroke, decreased bone density, decreased immune response, mood disturbances, autoimmune disease, and abnormal glucose levels.

My Problems with Cortisol

Before I get into the results of the study, I’ll share my “ups and downs” with cortisol.

My cortisol levels have been screwy for a while now. I’ve suffered from adrenal fatigue for years. Thanks to overwork, skipping meals, being pregnant and nursing, caffeine, etc.

I had my cortisol levels checked (via saliva test) a year ago and they were normal in the morning, low mid-day, and high at night.

When I met with Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure, this year, she told me that the reason I was waking up every night at 2 am was due to a cortisol spike caused by hypoglycemia. For more on this, read my post: Is It Wheat Belly or Cortisol Belly?

I’ve been taking my temperature for a while. Holistic endocrinologist, Dr. Bruce Rind, recommends that we take our temperature three times per day (three hours after waking up, then again three hours later, and again 3 hours after that). Then you take an average of your three temps and chart it on graph paper.

My temperature charts have been jaggy with up and down spikes — this is the classic chart of someone with adrenal fatigue. They are also lower than normal (indicates low thyroid function).  According to Dr. Rind, to heal from adrenal fatigue, you want to bring the temps up and balance them so they are steady. A normal average temperature is 98.6. For low thyroid, the temps will be steady but low. You want to bring the temps up. For low thyroid/low adrenal, which fits many people, it’s a combination of low temps and ups and downs.

Conclusions from the Cortisol Study

In the cortisol study, they tested twelve subjects with complaints of sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress. They were “grounded” to the earth during sleep for eight weeks in their own beds using a conductive mattress pad (earthing sheet). They used saliva tests to establish pre-grounding baseline cortisol levels.

I know I’m going to get comments about the study — that the sample size wasn’t big enough, that they didn’t do it long enough, that it wasn’t published in JAMA, etc. Keep in mind the guy who did these studies is not paid by Big Pharma. He’s just a guy who learned how to ground himself and started helping others to ground themselves, and decided to do his own study since nobody (other than the people he was helping) would take him seriously. You can read about this in the book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?

The conclusions from the study:

Results indicate that grounding the human body to earth during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and re-synchronizes hormone cortisol secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. Changes were most apparent in females. Furthermore, subjective re- porting indicates that grounding the human body to earth during sleep improves sleep and reduces pain and stress.

Check out these graphs from the twelve subjects:

Cortisol Before and After Earthing
Cortisol Before and After Earthing: Blended

My Results with Earthing

Before you read my results, keep in mind that your results may vary.

Also, I’m not a doctor so I can’t recommend any treatment for disease or discomfort.  I’m only reporting on what has worked for me. An “n” of one!

I should also mention that I have also been doing one other thing different in the past couple weeks. I am consistently taking 2-3 TBS per day of coconut oil every day. I know coconut oil helps to raise body temperature and helps the thyroid work better. However, I’ve taken this much coconut oil in the past for several weeks at a time and haven’t had results like this. I do think it’s definitely a contributing factor.

I LOVE my earthing sheet! I love it so much that I am going to buy myself an earthing mat (to use during the day when I’m on the computer) as well as a king-size fitted sheet (I only have the half sheet, which I will put on Kate’s bed and we’ll use it when we travel — it’s very lightweight and you can fit it in a suitcase).

Improved Sleep

I’ve only been using the earthing sheet for a little over a week but I know it’s making a huge difference in my sleep. I do still wake up, thanks to my daughter Kate who kicks me, or the cat meowing, or whatever. But I’m not waking up every night at 2 am anymore. The earthing sheet is the first thing I’ve tried that has eliminated my 2 am wakings, and I’ve tried ALL kinds of things including a bedtime snack and all manner of supplements from tryptophan to magnesium.

Now, when I do wake up, I fall right back to sleep within five minutes. It used to take me 20-30 minutes or longer to fall back to sleep. Now it’s almost instantaneous and takes no effort.

Increased Energy

I also feel much more rested in the morning, and more energetic throughout the day. I had energy before, but now I feel even more energetic, like I want to get out and walk!

Cortisol Levels and Temperature

I haven’t tested my cortisol levels yet but I plan to in a few weeks.

I have been taking my temperature three times a day and I’m blown away. For one thing, it’s MUCH higher. Yesterday, I took it three times and my temps were 98.5, 98.7 and 98.3. So an average of 98.5. I’ve never seen my temperature this high!

Now, granted, I am post-ovulation right now, and your temperature does go up during ovulation until you get your period.  So we’ll have to wait and see if my temperature drops back down next week when I’m menstruating. That said, my temps are much closer together than they were. I will keep tracking it every day and we’ll see how it goes.

Increased Appetite

Lastly, and NOT LEAST (this is the thing I am most excited about), my appetite has increased A LOT. Now, my appetite has been increasing steadily for the past several weeks since I gave up wine in the evenings and started supplementing with zinc and magnesium. And I’m happy to report that the zinc tally test is now starting to taste yucky to me. (You can read more about zinc in this post: Are You Suffering From Magnesium Deficiency?)

That said, my appetite has gone WAY up within the past few days. I’ve said “I’m starving” so many times in the past few days, my in-laws both wanted to know if I was pregnant. (I’m not.)

Here’s what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast:
Decaf coffee with 1.5 TBS of coconut oil and raw milk
Big bowl of oatmeal with 1.5 TBS of coconut oil, raw cream, bananas and raisins

Lunch:
Turkey, ham and cheese sandwich with sprouted bread and butter
Apple

Snack:
Big bowl of popcorn popped in coconut oil with melted butter
Glass of raw milk

Dinner:
Appetizer: Ahi poke (I ate half)
Entree: Salmon, butterfish, and mahi mahi with white rice and baby bok choy (I ate almost all of it)
Dessert: 1/4 cup tapioca pudding made with coconut milk

Guys, this is more than DOUBLE what I used to eat. (Compare to what I was eating a few months ago.) And I am STARVING at every meal. I’ve never been starving before — I never even used to get hunger pangs. This tells me that my metabolism is working a lot better. It’s also due to the fact that I’ve been taking zinc. And the coconut oil is probably also helping my thyroid function better, which boosts the metabolism.

However, since my appetite has increased so much in the past few days, so I really thing the earthing sheet has something to do it.

How to Get Grounded with Earthing

The easiest way you can try earthing is just to go walk outside with no shoes on. You can also wear leather-soled moccasins (I’m ordering some today!) Walking on the grass, a sandy beach, a dirt road, or even concrete sidewalks will work. You just can’t wear shoes with rubber or plastic soles (or even wood) because that will block the current. You also need to avoid asphalt or painted cement.

I’ve never been excited about hiking before in my life, but as soon as I get my moccasins, we are going to Red Rocks to hike! I’m also looking forward to walking every day.

You can also lie on the earth every day. For example, if you’re going to be sunbathing to get your vitamin D, don’t lie on a deck chair — lie directly on the grass.

You can also try some of the earthing products such as a grounding mat or sheet.

Where to Buy Earthing Products

Click here for sources of earthing products, including the book, on my resources page.

Share Your Comments

Will this work for you? I don’t know! I really do think it’s working for me. Please let me know if you try it and what your results are.

Photo Credit: grass – 365grateful 018 by hlkljgk, on Flickr


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