What is 'grounding'? The strange trend that's making influencers walk barefoot everywhere

A NEW internet trend called 'grounding' has influencers walking around barefoot — but what does science have to say about this practice?

Grounding, sometimes known as 'earthing' or 'green footing', seems to have taken over social media apps like TikTok and Instagram, with several influencers claiming it can be beneficial for the body.

The therapeutic practice of grounding (not to be confused with the mental health treatment) consists of walking around barefoot to electrically reconnect one to the earth.

One TikTiker by the handle of @AliceAllani told her 661,000 followers that while it initially started as a joke, she now walks around barefoot everywhere, including in the grocery store — this prompted some TikTokers to express concerns about hygiene as COVID-19 rages on.

Although grounding may have just taken over the internet, the practice has been around for quite a while, with scientists taking an interest in the technique since at least the early 2000s.

The basic theory behind grounding is rooted in earthing science and physics that claims electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on one's body, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

"It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) and thereby reduce acute and chronic inflammation," the study stated.

The study also points to history to support its hypothesis, nothing that "throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins…through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground's abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive."

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Other more recent research has also claimed that grounding may play a positive role in cardiovascular disease, muscle damage, chronic pain, and mood.

Still, despite these studies' signs of promise, much more research is needed for scientists to conclusively state that 'grounding' truly works.

However, for those who are interested in trying it out for themselves, there are a few different ways to engage in grounding.

Some techniques include walking around barefoot, laying down on the ground, submerging yourself in water,and extending one's palms down to the earth.

There is also equipment that promotes grounding, which some find helpful, such as grounding mats, sheets or blankets, socks, bands, and patches.

In other news, scientists are embarking on a mission to unravel the mystery behind dozens of grisly child mummies buried in an underground tomb in Sicily.

Police have caught an Italian mafia henchman who'd be on the run for 20 years after spotting the fugitive on Google Maps.

One of the best-preserved fossils ever found has confirmed that young dinosaurs burst from their shells just like baby birds.

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