Sun And Earth: On Grounding and Getting Tan

One thing that my clients often hear from me is that I want their “bare feet on the ground and bare body in the sun.” This article explains some simple reasons why.

I have come to find that many of us are Sun and Earth deficient. We simply don’t spend enough time in the Sun or on the ground.

Grounding

For the cost of taking your shoes off and standing outside, you have access to the most powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant “drug” on Earth – the Earth itself. Our planet is a repository for a practically infinite number of free electrons. The negative charge of the electron is why it feels so good to breathe the ocean air or the air during a thunderstorm. It is why we put salt lamps in our homes. It is why we enjoy long, hot showers. It plays a part in the healing power of stones like amethyst and tourmaline. The healing properties of these things come from negative ions (in this case, electrons) neutralizing the positive charge of the inflammation in our bodies. Oxidative damage from stress, toxicity, and aging is fundamentally the result of positive charge in our bodies without the negative charge to neutralize the free radicals that cause oxidative damage. The instant your feet touch the ground, the positive charge in your body is neutralized and your bodies electrical imbalance is brought into harmony with the charge of the Earth.

  • While your feet are on the ground, there is virtually no inflammation present in your body. [1]
  • Being grounded activates the parasympathetic nervous system, reduces cortisol, and synchronizes the left and right hemispheres of the brain. [2]
  • When you are grounded it thins the blood (by lowering the zeta potential) and allows the red blood cells to communicate more effectively and find resonance with one another rather than clumping together. This improves circulation tremendously. [1]
  • Your feet are designed to be maximally conductive to the Earth’s negative charge! (Especially given the very special acupuncture point on the bottom of the foot: Kidney 1 Yongquan – one of my favorite points)

The effects of grounding/Earthing on the body and the mind are numerous and profound. Taking time to get grounded is an integral part of my everyday life and it is essential to my longevity and wellbeing. Anyone who chooses to make it a part of their lifestyle will soon feel the same way.

Here’s a video of Dr. Mercola interviewing one of the leaders in Earthing research:


Getting Tan

Many of us avoid the Sun because we have been brought to believe it is bad for our health. Sunscreen use and shoes with plastic soles that insulate us from the Earth are ubiquitous. We have been taught that the Sun causes cancer and wrinkles the skin. This has been shown to be true, but there are confounding factors at play. I believe that the Sun only causes this kind of damage under three conditions: 1) when the body is toxic and overburdened by stress and oxidative damage. 2) when we aren’t used to the Sun and get it only in spurts rather than purposefully maintaining a tan. 3) when we aren’t grounded while in the Sun.

When you get in the Sun it recalibrates your body to its natural circadian rhythm! This normalizes your leptin response and regulates appetite (more strongly than any “appetite suppressant” out there). The light from the Sun is what tells your body what hormones to produce and when. Getting morning and afternoon Sun tells your body to make growth hormone and sex hormones. Midday Sun tells your body to work hard and focus on producing neurotrasmitters to get the job done.

Two of the most powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory chemicals in your body are made in the Sun: melatonin and Vitamin D. Melatonin has shown numerous anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits in studies. It is the “master of sleep” and amazingly it is produced in the eye and in the skin – during the day!

For more information on these topics, check out this article.

Vitamin D controls the expression of over 5% of the human genome and is implicated in cancer and many chronic conditions. Most don’t know that Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin – it’s a hormone and is necessary for life! It is so powerful that it binds directly to DNA to control their expression. It’s not enough to take supplemental Vitamin D –  you must get it from the Sun if you really want enough! Your body even has special built in mechanisms to shut off Vitamin D production when you’ve had just the right amount.

How could the Sun be bad for you when we must have it to produce these important chemicals? I believe it is because the level of oxidative damage from other causes can outweigh our bodies ability to use the potential of the Sun. This is another reason why it’s important to increase your Sun exposure gradually but also to be grounded. You literally become a solar panel when you are in the Sun – you make electricity! The best way to safely balance this extra power (so you don’t fry your mitochondria) is to simply have your body touching the ground while you are in the Sun. I like to have my feet flat on the ground and “plug” my fingertips into the Earth.

A tan is a sign of good health. The more tan you are, the less likely you are to be damaged by the Sun and the more likely you are to utilize the Sun’s health-giving rays. When you have a tan (also known as a solar callous), you actually absorb more of the sunlight and use it for energy and for photochemical reactions (making Vitamin D, melatonin, etc.). A tan comes from the increased melanin your body puts out in order to make use of the sunlight. We now know that melanin is a superconductor and is being used in high-level electronics development. It is worth 400$ per gram. A gram of gold is only worth around 50$!

Being in the Sun also burns fat and benefits circulation. Your mitochondria thrive while operating off of sunlight. Being in the Sun is the equivalent of being in an infrared sauna (42% of the Sun’s rays are infrared), which promotes the detoxification of plastics along with many other benefits.

In my practice I encourage people to get back in touch with the Sun and the Earth. I am sure you will reap the benefits if you take this information to heart and proceed carefully. Go get your feet on the ground! Get some sunlight! Your body will thank you.

Chronobiology & the Circadian Circus

I’ve discussed elsewhere on my site the importance of reducing our exposure to xenobiotic agents (plastics, microwaves, etc.). I’ve also discussed the notion that we emit light, known as ultra-weak bioluminesence or the emission of biophotons. It is now believed in the field of biophysics that our cells use this light to communicate at a fundamental level.

If the body uses light to communicate with itself, what might external sources of light be communicating with our bodies – like the Sun, for instance? Also, to what extent might artificial lighting be another xenobiotic health hazard, similar to plastics and microwaves?

The study of the body’s relationship with time is referred to as chronobiology. The body’s circadian rhythm is how well it keeps in sync with the cycles of night and day.

It turns out that your brains central circadian oscillator (the suprachiasmatic nucleus, i.e. the clock) is timed by the subtle color spectrum that the Sun puts out based on where it is in the sky, given the time of day and your latitude on the planet. There is literally a clock in your brain that keeps time with the Sun – a bio-Sun-dial. More on this in a bit.

Light – It’s Important

Our bodies are so sensitive to light that there are structures inside of us that are specially designed to absorb and release light – melanin, -opsins, chromophores, flourophores, aromatic amino acids, and the respiratory proteins in every one of your mitochondria. As the field of quantum biology continues to evolve, we are beginning to understand the body as increasingly sensitive to the seemingly subtle effects of light in our environment.

Your skin even sees the light. There are photoreceptors (called melanopsin) on your skin that help tell the body when it’s night and when it’s day. Ever wondered why it’s sometimes so hard to fall asleep for that nap you desperately need, if it’s in the middle of the day in a well-lit room?

Not only that but we now know that your gene expression changes throughout the day based on what time your body thinks it is! Every single cell in your body has it’s own mini-clock that’s controlled by the big brain clock behind your eyes, down to the genetic level.

So what effect does this have on health?

The second you take a look at that brightly-lit, LED cell phone screen, you tell your brain that it’s high noon and it’s time for a picnic – no matter what time it really is. The color temperature of your cell phone screen matches the color temperature of the sun at high noon – and your brain can’t tell the difference.

Telling your brain that it’s time for a picnic inhibits the release of melatonin, the super-powerful hormone of sleep (and one of the most anti-oxidant compounds in the body, next to glutathione) and thereby inhibits your ability to have deep, restorative sleep.

Leading the Anti-LED Revolution

If your house is lit with LEDs, CFLs, or other artificial lights, your sleep will suffer. The color temperature of artificial lighting most often resembles that of the mid-day Sun and thereby inhibits the release of melatonin. This is technically true for incandescent bulbs as well, but these are the preferred lights if you want to begin repairing your circadian biology – especially amber incandescent. As for me, my house is entirely lit by salt lamps. I turn on my amber incandescent bulbs when I need to see something after dark with greater detail.

If you want to go full paleo, you’d go with candle light! Oh, the glorious sleep you would have!

Some companies are now manufacturing “amber LEDs” with a low Kelvin (Kelvin is the measurement for color temperature, represented as “K”). While this is certainly preferable to high Kelvin LEDs (which are standard), there are problems with LED lights beyond the color temperature. Firelight and the light of the Sun has a broad range of frequencies that are emitted. In other words, there are many colors of light that you can’t necessarily see. LED lights are more similar to a laser than to a natural light source. When you plot the frequencies emitted by an LED light on a graph, it looks like a spike rather than a bell curve. The “spike” is literally poking your retina. Not good.

Next time you have an incandescent or fire light source and an LED light source both handy, look at an object with the broader spectrum light sources (incandescent, fire) and then compare it to when the object is lit by LED. You will notice that LED light makes things look two-dimensional. Because there isn’t a broad spectrum of frequencies for your eye to receive the information bouncing off the object, the object looks dull and – quite literally – 2D. Try it.

What to do?

Fixing the light pollution in your environment is actually quite simple, but it takes commitment. If you really want to improve your sleep, take seriously the following and you will reap the results. Time and time again my clients are astounded at the difference that this subtle lifestyle change can make. I’ve even seen teenagers begin to go to bed on time! When I changed the quality of light I expose myself to on a daily basis, it completely changed my life.

  1. Change all your lightbulbs to amber incandescent. If this is to tall of an order, start by changing the bedroom and bathroom lights to amber incandescent.
  2. Change the color of all screens you have control over.
    iPhone users (“Night mode” is not enough): Go to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filter > Color Tint > Hue 100%, Intensity — as red as you can stand it.
    Android users: Download the app “Twilight”. Make it as red as you can stand it.
    PC users: If you have a PC you can also download the app “f.lux” (here is the link) and change your screen settings with that. Again, make it as red as you can stand it.
  3. For the quickest circadian reset, wake up with the rising Sun, go outside, kick your shoes off, and watch the Sun come over the horizon with your bare feet touching the ground. Morning sunlight on the retina drastically increases the production of melatonin for it’s secretion later in the day – it starts the timer. If you want to take this even a step further, synchronize your circadian oscillator with crucial times throughout the day. Use an app (or Google) to determine when the Sun is at it’s zenith and when it sets that day. Briefly expose your retina to sunlight at high noon and sunset along with sunrise. Timing your eyes to the Sun only takes about 5 mins of exposure at first. The more you do it, the more your circadian rhythm becomes synchronized with the Sun, and the less time it takes to cue the clock! (And no, I’m not asking you to stare into the Sun. Sun-gaze at your own risk folks!)
  4. For the second quickest circadian reset, try wearing blue blocking glasses 2-3 hours before you intend to fall asleep. Do not expose your retinas to any artificial light after you put them on or you will reset your clock.
  5. For extra help, try supplementing lithium orotate and a high quality fish oil with DHA – especially the night before you intend to wake up with the sun and expose your eyes to morning sunlight. Lithium helps transport DHA through the blood-brain barrier and into the suprachiasmatic nucleus. DHA is largely responsible for the sensitivity of your circadian clock (because of the way DHA interacts with light!), and the highest concentration of DHA in the human body happens to be in the suprachiasmatic nucleus.

So…
Glasses, bulbs, fish oil, and lithium?
Sound like a lot of stuff to go out and get?
Want to skip the hassle of researching the best bulbs and the best glasses and supplements?

I offer a special circadian reset package for optimal sleep and optimal neurological and hormonal health.

It includes amber incandescent bulbs, the best blue blocking glasses, lithium orotate, and the highest quality fish oil to help get you started repairing your circadian rhythm and returning to neurological and hormonal health.

Ask me about ordering one!