Connection with the world around us could be key to improving our health and wellbeing, says Patrick Holford
How well connected are you to the Earth and your body’s needs?
When we surveyed the habits and beliefs of the super healthy in my 100 per cent Health Survey online at patrickholford.com, which has involved more than 100,000 people to date, most had good relationships, kept fit, did vital energy-generating exercise such as yoga or t’ai chi, meditated or had some kind of spiritual practice, considered their relationship to nature important, had a good diet and took supplements. The key seemed to be connection, be it to others, the Earth or a higher purpose.
One of the five keys for connectivity is body and earth connection – being in touch with, respecting and nurturing your body with good nutrition and energy-generating exercise, and respecting and protecting the Earth through conscious living.
“In our fast, modern world we have become so disconnected from the Earth. “
This disconnection has led to factory farming (intensive animal-rearing with little to no respect for the life of the chicken, cow or pig), GM crops, pesticides and chemical fertilisers. The ‘sell’ is that this is the only way to feed the masses, but it isn’t true. This is the way for big farmers to own food production and make more profit.
In the meantime we have become so alienated from the Earth that misshapen food is discarded and everything is over-sanitised. We are germ phobic, not realising that a far greater danger is created from chemicals designed to kill nature’s pests and weeds. We are bug-phobic too. Yet, our sterile environments have disrupted the complex microbiome. Many urban children no longer have the resilience and the gut intelligence to know how to react to foods, so are becoming increasingly allergic and asthmatic. For them, the modern world has become toxic.
Most children don’t even know where food comes from, let alone how to grow it. But there is something wonderful about growing our own food and eating it – the miracle of seeds turning into food on the table. I live in London and grow what food I can in my garden. Today I ate home-grown rocket. Tomorrow I’ll pick an artichoke. Another simple way to connect with the Earth and the food it produces is to say grace, however you choose to do it. It also connects you with the people you dine with.
I have met quite a few ‘transcendental mystic’ types, often vegan, who are barely ‘on the Earth’. They live in lofty realms, often disconnected from what we might call ‘reality’. Such people don’t always want to be here at all, let alone be here now. Although often pitched in the guise of being connected to higher realms, this can be another way of being disconnected. We are not just spiritual beings. The physical realm exists too and we all need to deal with life in this world. Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth.
Deal with it.
Accumulating evidence also shows that we actually need ‘earthing’. That is, to ‘plug in’ to the Earth itself. If you think about it, all electrical devices are ‘earthed’, which allows an exchange of electrical charge in the form of charged particles, known as negative ions or electrons, with the Earth. We need this connection too.
Every day the Earth receives something like 50,000 lightning strikes and consequently has a supply of ‘free’ electrons that will change the electrical charge of our body if we make contact with it for long enough.
Our ancestors would have been ‘grounded’ naturally, all day long, because they would have either walked barefoot or worn leather shoes, and both allow the exchange of charged particles. Today we wear shoes with rubber or plastic soles, neither of which allow this exchange to happen.
Earthing by doing something as simple as walking barefoot, or lying on the ground, improves sleep, reduces inflammation and pain, and protects you from electro-magnetic radiation that we are all bombarded with from wi-fi signals. You can buy earthing ‘sheets’ that plug in and earth you while you sleep.
The Earth also has a natural frequency, that is, an electromagnetic vibration, to which our body naturally synchronises if we spend enough time earthed in a natural environment. In a deeply relaxed, or meditative state, our body literally vibrates at about eight cycles per second (known as Hertz, or Hz). At the same time, our brainwaves shift from their everyday beta range (13 to 40Hz) into the same 8Hz deep alpha range. When this occurs, it creates an electromagnetic field around the head and the heart. The heart’s electromagnetic field actually extends for several metres.
The Earth’s electromagnetic field also has a frequency of around 8Hz. When we are in nature, without any other interfering signal and hopefully no phone signal, it changes our brainwave pattern.
We become in sync with the Earth.
There are plenty of ways to spend more time in natural and wild environments. Here are some ideas to help you to reconnect:
1. Swim in the ocean and walk barefoot on the land.
2. Don’t bombard yourself all day long with electromagnetic radiation. Turn off your mobile phone while you sleep and don’t sleep next to the digital phone base-station.
3. Choose the food you eat carefully and be grateful for what you are about to eat. Grow your own food where you can. Eat less meat and only sustainable fish.
4.Be mindful of the Earth’s resources and, where you can, choose more sustainable methods of energy production.
5. Make less waste, recycle, fix things and buy things made from recycled materials.
6. Respect the Earth and nature and get involved in campaigns to protect it. Your life, and the life of your children, depends on it.