By Barbara Janelle M.A., B. Sc.
Grounding, the energetic connection with the Earth, is important to health in both humans and animals, and the latter it plays a significant role in behavior. Grounding is an integral part of the Therapeutic Touch treatment (1): it draws more energy into the field through the chakra system and thus supports health. Grounding is also a call to the spirit to come fully into the body and as such helps to define life.
Grounding Energizes the Field
A strong energetic connection with the Earth draws more energy in through the energy field, primarily through the chakra system and out through the feet and Root Chakra. The field normally takes a lot of energy in through the Root Chakra from the Earth too but TT practitioners do not work with that flow directly.
Embodiment of Spirit
In a talk he gave some years ago, Depth Psychologist Aaron Kipnis said “Wholeness involves the embodiment of spirit…an uninhabited body is more susceptible to disease.” (1)
In my work both as a TT Practitioner and as an Animal Communicator, I check the energy field for balance and grounding. Often there is more energy in some part(s) of the body and less in other parts. With both people and animals, there may be more energy in the front or to one side of the body or in the upper body. This is mirrored by the grounding in that it may be stronger in one foot or as is often the case in animals, it is often stronger in the front feet and weaker in the back feet. This is aptly described by phrases referring to the relationship of spirit and body: “She was beside herself with anxiety, fear, concern, etc.,” “He is always ahead of himself,” “He is rather spacey,” etc. In my experience, animals that are out in front of themselves are often pushy and do not know their own boundaries. Animals that are afraid of things are almost always are weak in grounding in the hind feet. In all of these cases, the spirit is somewhat disassociated from the body.
Strengthening the grounding increases the flow of energy through the field and also calls the spirit to be fully present in the body; this results in better physical, emotional and mental balance. In animals and people this can translate into greater steadiness, confidence and ability to cope with the changes and challenges that life presents.
In both humans and animals, sudden shock from fear or trauma can result in a significant disassociation of the spirit from the body that is accompanied by intense trembling as well as by changes in circulatory parameters. Surgery can cause some disassociation between spirit and body and a person can feel as though some part of self has gone missing. Grounding procedures can significantly help to maintain wholeness, and the loss of a part of self can be effectively addressed with a soul retrieval ceremony.
Grounding as Definition of Life
When a person, an animal or a plant is alive, grounding – the energetic connection with the Earth, no matter how slight, is present. On dying, the grounding diminishes and upon death it disappears. Death is the separation of spirit from the body.
Assessment of Grounding
Visualizing the person or animal’s grounding, either with or without gently touching the feet, will give an image or sense of the quality of grounding. Visualization is very much an individual’s process, but there is some agreement that grounding images come either with pictures of roots, connection with the ground, and/or energy flow into the ground. (There are very likely many other ways in which information comes too.)
Assessment should include a check to see if grounding from both feet, or in the case of animals, all four feet, is equal. Weak grounding, indicated by shallow or thready roots, reduced energy movement, or a sense of floating slightly above the ground, usually indicates reduced energy flow in the field. This can result in the development of a physical problem. In animals, grounding problems may translate into health problems, behavior issues, or both.
An animal who is not well grounded is not confident and is much more likely to move quickly into fearful, instinctual, reactive behavior – flight, aggression, freezing, fooling around, running to the group for support. Dogs that are afraid of thunder are not well grounded. Dogs that are afraid of people or other animals are not well grounded.
Poor grounding means the animal does not breathe well and has trouble taking in information and focusing. They tend to walk almost on their toes, tentatively on the Earth. Their bodies are often tense and over a long period of time this can have an impact on their immune systems. They do not feel their bodies well, and often do not know their physical boundaries
Supporting and Strengthening Grounding
Directing the field with visualizations of stronger roots spreading wide and going deeper is usually effective in strengthening grounding. This can also be enhanced with stroking or energetically unruffling and supporting a flow of energy down through the legs and out the feet.
An even more elegant and effective way to strengthen grounding is to touch the person or animal on the spine or somewhere on the body and ask the Earth to hold this one. The Earth is a conscious living being and all life forms are part of her, maintaining an energetic connection with her.
Two exercises that I use in my Animal Communication courses to teach people about grounding are these:
1) People work in pairs. The one who is receiving stands in a balanced posture with hands at the side of the body. Before starting, the receiver says the alphabet A through J out loud so the tone of the voice can be heard.
2) The working member of the pair kneels down (or sits in a chair and reaches over to touch the receiver’s feet or knees) and touches one of the receiver’s feet and visualizes roots from the foot growing into the ground – spreading wide and going deep. Then touches the other foot and repeats this, and then holds both feet and visualizes the grounding. When that feels strong, the worker stands and asks the receiver to say the alphabet again and listens for any changes in tone.
3) Roles are reversed and the procedure is repeated.
4) A discussion period follows
Exercise 2 is done after the first exercise
1) The receiver stands in the balanced posture with hands at the sides. The working partner touches the feet and asks the Earth to hold the receiver.
2) Roles are reversed and the exercise is repeated.
3) A discussion period follows.
After exercise 1, there is usually a noticeable deepening, lowering and slowing of the receiver’s voice, accompanied by a strong relaxation response: deeper breathing, relaxation in facial muscles, etc. Listening to people’s experiences of having their grounding supported is very interesting.
After exercise 2, people often report stronger feelings of groundedness and comments like “it felt as though the Earth reached up and encompassed me” are common. The general conclusion is that the Earth does a stronger and more complete job of grounding than that done by humans visualizing the process.
In both cases, the grounding experiences strengthen the receiver’s grounding. These exercises also give people an experiential understanding of the impact on animals when their grounding is supported.
Supporting an Animal’s Grounding
Approaches similar to those described above can be used with animals. A person can gently touch an animal’s foot and imagine roots into the ground, and then proceed around until the grounding in all four feet is supported. It is not necessary to hold more than one foot at a time. The animal may be standing or lying down. This generally takes 5 to 15 seconds per foot.
The easier and more elegant way to do this is to touch the animal’s spine and ask the Earth to hold the animal. This takes only a moment to do.
In both instances there can be a noticeable change in the animal’s expression and breathing.
Grounding an animal each day brings more energy in through the energy field and supports overall health. It also affects physical balance and that translates into better emotional and mental balance and more confident coping behavior.
- Please note that an article, similar to this one but directed more to Therapeutic Touch Practitioners, “The Importance of Grounding,” appears in the Therapeutic Touch section of my website.
- Aaron Kipnis is on the Faculty of the Pacifica Graduate Institute of Depth Psychology in Santa Barbara, California. The talk referred to was given in the Integrated Medicine Program at St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara in early 2001.