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Earthing, Part III
May 06, 2013

What a glorious past week.

This time of year is by far my favorite.

The weather was close to perfect (a bit above average temperatures).

Warmer temperatures, following the monsoons we had and you have Instant green and an explosion of flowers and plant life.

(I had to mow the lawn twice this past week.)

Bird migration is in full swing in my corner of the world.

One day I have White-throated sparrows.

As soon as they move on, I am blessed to awaken last Monday to dozens (literally) of White-crowned sparrows.

They make such a soft, happy sound.

At least to my ears.

Orioles, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, and the little bird with the big sound.

That's right, House Wrens All in the same week.

Certain times of the day, and especially at night, the toads are in full song.

Flip the page on the calender and everything seems to happen as if a Symphony Orchestra is playing.

I can watch the toads as they march toward the ponds and marshes.

The roads are spattered with toad pancakes to prove it.

And right on cue, the Green Herons have arrived.

Nothing like a toad buffet to pick from along water's edge.

Turtles, raccoons, snakes and other creatures will dine on toads as well.

The remaining toads will mate, deposit eggs and the march reverses itself.

In a couple of months, there will be toadlets everywhere around here.

This letter is the last in the short series on earthing/grounding.

While a bit controversial at times, the data speaks for itself.

The letter is a bit long, so take your time reading it.


Time to lose the myopic posture on this issue.

It’s in the Dirt!

Bacteria in soil may make us happier, smarter.

Many people, including me, talk about the restorative benefits of gardening and the reasons why it makes us feel good.

Just being in nature is already therapeutic, but actively connecting with nature through gardening (earthing) is added value.

Why is that?

For me, it has been a meditative practice throughout my adult life

It’s gentle exercise (most of the time), and it’s fun.

It allows you and me to be nurturing and to connect with life on a fundamental level.

Ask mothers why babies are constantly picking things up from the floor or ground and putting them in their mouths, and chances are they’ll say that it’s instinctive.

That that’s how babies explore the world.

But why the mouth, when sight, hearing, touch and even scent are far better at identifying things?

Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating
dirt is good for you.

Growing up, we couldn't wait to get outside and play.

We would come home from school, grab a bite to eat, change out cloths and we were outta here (even on most winter days).

With eight kids, mom didn't seem to mind.

Roll down hills, climb trees, or play some ball.

There were forts to build, and dirt ball fights, creeks to explore.

Building dirt and mud cities.

Dad tried to keep us contained by constructing a nice, sterile sand box.

It looked pretty, but was never used.

Why play in sand when we had dirt and clay to play in.

Oh yes, there was the garden too.

Thankfully, I loved gardening.

Eight kids..............

Baths and dirty laundry.

Yet, when I grew up, that was the norm.

Parents just knew it was good to get outside into the fresh air and run off some energy.

It made for healthier kids and sleep filled nights.

We weren't under foot as much either.

You know.................

Mom, I'm bored, what's there to do.

Never an issue.

It was everyday life in the country.

(I have no idea if it still is.)

Growing up, our kids were allowed to play and get dirty.

Karen the city girl didn't much care for the dirt being tracked in or the laundry, but the kids grew healthy.

Today, I am sad to say our grand kids aren't allowed to get dirty too often.

About the only time they get down and dirty is when they come over here, or hang out with me.

Yes, sometimes I have to make them go outside.

These kids are also a sickly lot.

They are healthy in many ways, but they catch every cold or bug that comes around.

There are mild cases of asthma, ADHD, and whatever diagnoses they are.

Kids popping pills to keep them down.


Because we are warned about all of the unsanitary things out there.

Didn't God give us immune systems?

Yes, there are people born with weakened systems and physical and mental health issues.

I'm not down playing that at all.

However, do you stop and wonder why there are so many illnesses these days?

We are pumping down toxins and hormones in just about everything we eat.

We take pills for just about everything imaginable.

We have become suburban countries on the most part.

In many locations it is unsafe to let your kids out (get out and play with them).

I digress.

On the most part, we are born healthy and it takes time to build up an immune system.

You know, breathe germs, taste them and touch countless objects.

I find it refreshing that more mothers are doing what is "Natural" nursing their babies.

This also builds immune systems.

Can't find that in a formula mix.

Okay Ron................ back to business.

Taken from the New York Times.

In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system.

Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted
in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.

These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries.

“What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune responseto explore his environment,” Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor wrote this.

“Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”

Another leading researcher, Dr. Joel V. Weinstock, the director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said in an interview that the immune system at birth “is like an unprogrammed computer.

It needs instruction.”

“Children raised in an ultra-clean environment,” he added, “are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.”

Studies he has conducted with Dr. David Elliott, a gastroenterologist and immunologist at the University of Iowa, indicate that intestinal worms, which have been all but eliminated in developed countries, are “likely to be the biggest player” in regulating the immune system to respond appropriately, Dr. Elliott said in an interview.

He added that bacterial and viral infections seem to influence the immune system in the same way, but not as forcefully.

Most worms are harmless, especially in well-nourished people, Dr. Weinstock said.

“There are very few diseases that people get from worms,” he said. “Humans have adapted to the presence of most of them.”

When babies and toddlers eat dirt, they're also ingesting micro-organisms that assist in building appropriate immune responses.

The idea of ingesting bacteria and intestinal worms doesn't sound appealing, it is nature.

It is healthy for your children and for you.

Dirt – It Does a Body (and Soul) Good.

Here are a few ways (of many) that dirt can benefit your children.

Studies have shown dirt to be good for your brain.

Apparently, there are types of bacteria that are naturally found in soil which activate the neurons that produce serotonin – a key chemical in many bodily functions, as well as a natural anti-depressant.

In other words, dirt can actually help make you feel happy.

Dirt is also great for the immune system, especially
in children.

Research has shown that early exposure to the naturally occurring microbes in soil will help build stronger, more disease-resistant kiddos.

In our germaphobic culture where we have entire aisles of cleaning products at the grocery store, some children are being raised in “overhygienic” conditions.

Without enough exposure to different bacteria and microbes, it is thought that the immune system doesn’t learn to recognize its own cells, and this could be a reason for higher rates of asthma, eczema, and other diseases.

If you have read 'The Last Child in the Woods' by 'Richard Louv', you are familiar with the term “nature-deficit disorder.”

In our technologically savvy generation, kids just aren’t getting enough time to play outside, and that has now been linked to attention disorders, depression (yes, in children), and obesity.

Children who play outside laugh more, which means they’re happy.

It also means their blood pressure and stress levels are lower.

(Did you know that those are two physical benefits of laughter? We could all probably stand to laugh a little more!)

Kids who play outside grow in their character development.

They become more adventurous, more self-motivated, and they are better able to understand and assess risk.

Nothing pernicious about dirt, it's good for you and your kids.

Give your child or grandchild a bucket and a shovel and set them in the dirt.

See what happens.

Garden with your kids!

You don't have to really plant, simply make the child feel needed.

Explore nature.

Study insects, leaves, wildflowers
(no picking), etc.

Take hikes, or wade in creeks.

Considering all the benefits of playing in the dirt, it sounds like a great idea for us grown-ups to get outside and join our children.

Wash more with soap and water instead of anti-bacterial soap or wipes.

Live, Laugh, Love.

That is what nature is all about.

Now go play in the dirt, and let the kids get dirty.


There is so much research that continues on earthing and getting dirty.

It will boggle your mind.

You know how grandma was right about the chicken soup.

Well, your parents were right on this one too.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.

Alfred Austin

To play in the sun, to breathe in God.

To grow a garden and get dirty.

It's as old as mankind.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:15

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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