Why I'll be walking outside with no shoes this weekend

·4 min read
Being barefoot on the earth. Can it improve your health?
Being barefoot on the earth. Can it improve your health?

I'm shedding my shoes this weekend to put my bare feet on the grass. Why?

If you haven't read my latest story, this might sound strange. Let me explain.

This week I looked into the practice of earthing, also called grounding, which is based on the idea that being barefoot on the ground can help your body absorb the Earth's electrons. This can supposedly help with sleep, inflammation reduction, chronic pain and more.

Clint Ober – inspired by his background in electrical stability from the communications industry, and a childhood growing up near Native American communities who he saw practice a similar connection to the earth – helped bring earthing to the masses, and it's gaining newfound attention.

On social media platforms like TikTok, the hashtag #earthing has more than 66 million views and #grounding has 199 million. The 2019 documentary "The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding" has 4.6 million views on YouTube.

People who practice earthing swear by the physical and mental health benefits they've experienced, but is it all placebo? Or just the effect of being out in nature?

Dr. Michael Daignault, an emergency room doctor based in Los Angeles and USA TODAY medical columnist, says any time spent in nature will "pay dividends on your mental and physical health."

"Unfortunately, we probably won't have the type of robust randomized-control trials on earthing that we would have for other medical and wellness interventions, but that doesn't mean there's no benefit," he adds.

So in an effort to experiment with it on my own, I've decided to give it a try! If you're interested in trying it too, click here to read more, including tips for getting started.

Happy earthing!

Am I seriously sick or am I living in 2022?

Fever, chills, bumps, rashes, sore throat, sniffles, headache, oh my – could having any of these symptoms mean you might be seriously ill? Our intern Angie Orellana Hernandez took a look at the current state of health anxiety. Here's a excerpt of what she found:

In the age of COVID-19, and now monkeypox, experts have seen a rise in people experiencing anxious feelings about their health. Social media and the internet – and therefore self-consulted medical advice – exacerbate these worries.

While worrying about your health is normal, experts say to not catastrophize symptoms such as a cough and build improbable scenarios around health. 

They recommend easing your concerns about your health by researching facts about illnesses but referring to medical professionals for official diagnoses.

Experts recommend people who are anxious about their health maintain a system that regulates how they approach their worries in a rational manner. One way is to “wait a reasonable period of time” to see if the symptom goes away on its own, and if it doesn’t, then see a doctor, says Andrew Rosen, founder of the Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.

“Do not go and be your own doctor, don't Google,” Rosen says.

With illnesses such as monkeypox spreading, Jessie Abbate, an infectious disease ecologist and epidemiologist, says to remember that monkeypox isn’t COVID-19. 

“It's definitely not going to transmit as fast as COVID, and it would probably take a decade to have the amount of people who have been infected with COVID become infected with monkeypox,” Abbate says.

To learn more, click here.

Trust your gut – literally. Here's why.

Are you listening to your body? Our columnist Sara Kuburic, the Millennial Therapist, explains our body can give us insights into our relationships, work, friends, partners, boundaries or even our preferences. It’s fairly common for us to feel butterflies on a first date or to feel our eyelids droop with exhaustion during a long flight, but do we stop to think what it all means?

If you're confused by how your body may communicate, here are some examples Sara shares in her latest column:

You cross your arms when that one “friend” enters the room. This could mean that this individual triggers you, makes you feel unsafe, that there is an issue you need to work through with them or that you no longer want them to be a part of your life.

Your breathing speeds up when you start kissing someone. This could mean that you are excited, turned on or that you feel anxious and uncomfortable by the situation.

You get a sinking feeling in your gut when you agree to do something you don't want to do. This could mean that you violated a boundary you’ve previously set with yourself, or that you feel used or misaligned as a consequence of this commitment.

You avoid eye contact. This could mean that you feel uncomfortable, shy or guilty.

You are hunched over. This could mean that you are spending too many hours in front of the computer, or it could mean that you don’t feel confident, that you feel defeated or that you feel like you have to protect yourself.

To read the rest of the list, click here.

Today's reads

Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy in 1978's "Grease," died of breast cancer at age 73 on Monday. Experts say her ability to live life to the fullest is an inspirational example of resilience. Read more in the story above.
Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy in 1978's "Grease," died of breast cancer at age 73 on Monday. Experts say her ability to live life to the fullest is an inspirational example of resilience. Read more in the story above.

Today's pet

Meet Ruth doodle Ginsburg!

What a model!
What a model!

"Ruthie is a full-time traveler, loves anything pink and likes to spend her days swimming in the ocean or hiking," writes Sami Mansfield. "She is often stopped for pics when wearing her pink shoes and intends to start her own Venmo to raise extra money to buy treats for shelter animals who don’t get to travel."

Mansfield adds that Ruthie was born in Shawnee, Kansas, but is now a full time traveler, so her current home is "on four wheels or sometimes a train or plane!"

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Why I'm going barefoot this weekend