Image by David Mark 

When it comes to natural healing, animals have a sixth sense that leads them directly to what they need most. From birds and elephants to dolphins and dogs, animals, whether by instinct or learned behavior, have discovered ways to cope with parasites, pests, aches, and pains. This science of self-medication is called zoopharmacognosy (zoo for animal, pharma for drug and cognosy for knowledge).

Wounded by a vicious attack, tigers have been known to dig holes deep in the dirt to receive healthful benefits from the Earth. Freed from snares that mangle and rip their limbs, wolves and foxes are known to retreat to earthen dens to allow nature to soothe their inflamed body parts. Injured animals, from elephants to monkeys, seek out nature’s pharmaceuticals to soothe pain and initiate recovery.

In addition to select botanicals, they include mud and clay baths, rich in healing minerals, as a topical skin treatment that helps fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds. Together with the anti-inflammatory effects of grounding, and the inherent medicinal remedies found in the Earth’s surface, nature takes care of her own in wondrous ways.

Horses and the Great Outdoors 

While Dr. Stephen Sinatra was in medical school, one of his fraternity brothers contacted him about investing in one of his family’s race­horses.

“His father had recently passed away and my heartbroken friend had managed to sell six of his father’s seven thoroughbreds. He hadn’t been able to sell the remaining mare and asked me to help him out. Long story short, I ended up partnering with him, breeding his remaining mare, and producing a four-time winner right out of the gate. I was hooked and began breeding horses for the racing circuit. I even ended up getting my own farm in Mary­land, where my horses thrived in the lush green pastures.

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“A year later, my best friend was battling pancreatic cancer, while taking care of his own horses that were confined in the stable’s paddocks on his small Long Island farm. Trying to lighten his work load, I had five of the horses transferred to my own farm in Maryland. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to keep up with their care during the last year of his life and they were in sorry shape. Severely malnourished and infirm, a lack of exercise left many of them lame, along with other problems that affected their gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Hav­ing been confined for such a long time, the horses’ mental states were also compromised, leading to behavioral problems related to pent-up energy.

“In spite of their dire conditions, I packed them all up into a van and drove them to my own farm in Maryland where I planned to let them run wild in my sixty-acre field with my other healthy horses.”

Daily exercise is essential for the overall health of a horse. Not only does it increase the horse’s stamina and endurance and strengthen ligaments and tendons in their legs, it improves the functioning of heart and lungs, aids in the motility of the digestive tract, improves the immune system, and increases their resistance to disease.

“As far as I knew,” notes Stephen, “these horses hadn’t been exercised in months. With his illness, they were no longer being properly cared for. I told the vet I thought it best to let nature take its course here, not explaining that I had been learning all about the benefits of grounding at the time and was convinced the horses would not only survive on my farm, they would thrive.”

“I assured him that the horses were going to love being out in the wild no matter what happened in the end. As long as they had access to water out there and extra hay to supplement the grass they could eat, they would be fine. ‘Just wait and see,’ I offered, ‘no harm done.’

“They were exposed to natural sunlight and grounding every day. They thrived like crazy, putting on hundreds of pounds of weight and racing through the fields without a care in the world. They became strong horses, like the ones I owned, testament to the power of grounding for all living beings. In other words, the animal world tells the truth. When given the opportunity to reconnect with the Earth’s energy, these once sickly, broken-down horses, now forever wild, were the absolute picture of health.”

Connected to the Earth

Studies and clinical observations have found that our pets can suffer from the same degenerative conditions that affect us when we are disconnected from the Earth. Not surprisingly, dogs and cats in the wild tend not to suffer from those conditions, and one of the reasons why, in our opinion, is that all wild animals are naturally grounded because they live outside all the time.

Since time began, animals have lived in direct contact with the Earth. Their feet were always on the ground, they always breathed open air, and the sun and moon illuminated their days and nights, keeping their circadian rhythms in tune with nature. Even after their people moved into houses, most dogs remained outdoors. In the 1950s and 1960s, dogs were kept outside more often than they tend to be today and were still primarily functional, acting as a guard, children’s playmate, or walking companion.

Since the 1980s, there have been changes in the pet dog’s role, such as the increased role of dogs in the emotional support of their owners. People and their dogs have become increasingly integrated in each other’s lives. Now people and their pets are indoor creatures. Sure, dogs go for walks and enjoy other outdoor activities, but, like most of us, our dogs often spend more than twenty hours a day inside.

How Pets "Catch" Human Ailments

Fifty years ago, veterinarians were seeing animal patients primarily for acute injuries and infectious diseases, common for their outdoor lifestyles. Today, along with growing incidences of obesity from overfeeding and under exercising, pets are suf­fering from a host of chronic degenerative diseases including allergies and arthritis, just like we are.

According to Scientific American, our family pets develop diabetes, heart disease, can­cer, and more, just like humans do. Skin conditions, stom­ach issues, and ear infections are the top three reasons dog owners bring their pets to the vet, and stomach issues, urinary tract infections, and skin conditions top the list for cat owners.

What’s at the bottom of these conditions? Inflammation. The common denominator in so many modern-day ailments, inflammation, goes rogue when we—and our pets—step away from nature’s treatment table.

Take arthritis for example. The CDC estimates that about 23 percent of human adults have it, and the stats are similar for dogs. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 20 percent of dogs suffer from the disease, with a staggering 90 percent of older dogs presenting with painful arthritic joints in their later years. Veterinarians suggest that the incidence of arthritis in dogs is also correlated to obesity.

Overweight dogs have a much greater chance of developing joint disorders. Multiple studies have shown the link between being over­weight and the increased risk and severity of arthritis. This condi­tion is particularly problematic for city dogs that don’t have access to consistent outdoor exercise.

The Need for Exercise

Experts in dog behavior agree that too little exercise is causing epidemic levels of canine obesity, leth­argy, and behavioral problems. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, one in four dogs is now considered obese, and heart disease and diabetes are also on the rise.

“The lack of exercise can lead to arthritis or other orthopedic issues, chronic inflammatory diseases and even potentially cancer,” agrees Marty Goldstein, DVM, author of The Nature of Animal Heal­ing and The Inside Spirit of Animal Healing and one of the first integra­tive veterinarians in the industry. “Exercise not only lifts depression but it boosts the immune system because the lymph system is acti­vated by motion. The lymph system’s nodes, vessels, and ducts are major players in the immune system, capable of filtering out and killing unwanted bacteria and organisms. Without movement, the lymph or body purification system stays in an almost dormant state.

“Work on the immune system and a body can start to heal itself and bring inflammation down. Support the immune system and amazing things happen. That’s the secret to enabling the body to function and thrive, as nature intended. It works for people and animals,” he says.

Integrative Veterinarian Medicine

More and more veterinarians are practicing integrative medicine to support an animal’s immune system, incorporating alternative modalities like energy healing to complement their treatments on their pet patients. They have found that energy healing work affects the emotional, mental, and physical bodies of the pets they treat.

Just as we know that disruptions in the normal flow of energy eventually lead to physical illness and psychological symptoms in people, such symptoms are now commonly seen in indoor pets as well. Not only does staying indoors promote a sedentary life­style, which leads to the alarming rise in pet obesity, it disrupts their exposure to unfiltered natural light, which is needed by the hypothalamus and other glands for endocrine balance and optimum health. Veterinarians advise giving your pets access to natural light whenever possible by letting them stay outdoors or near an open window or on a screened porch so that nothing interferes with the full spectrum of natural light.

In Health and Light: The Effects of Natural and Artificial Light on Man and Other Living Things, author John Ott, a pioneer of time-lapse photography, discovered the vital role that natural light plays in the lives of plants and animals. Without it, plants can’t set fruit, animals have reproductive problems, and humans and animals may develop a variety of modern illnesses.

Indoor lighting adds to the problem. Glass windows screen out ultraviolet light, which is a crucial part of the spectrum, but fluo­rescent and incandescent bulbs are incomplete in other ways. Any lights that change the appearance of colors can adversely affect the body. It’s ironic that the fluorescent lights being touted for their energy efficiency may, according to light researchers, create a host of new health problems, while none of the bulbs labeled “full spectrum” include the complete spectrum of natural light.

Of course, the blue lights from computer screens are another problem altogether when it comes to our health. In our homes, appliances and electronics can create localized EMFs that affect pets, but Wi-Fi floods indoor spaces with dangerous electrically charged particles that can adversely impact their health. We suggest that you limit your pets’ EMF exposure by turning off your Wi-Fi at night, or by putting all of your devices on airplane mode to mitigate its effect on your indoor pet.

It goes without saying that modern building materials are also keeping our pets from being naturally grounded. When they are outside on the grass, walking in sand, on gravel, or even on con­crete, their bodies are absorbing a constant flow of free electrons. When they’re indoors, in our cars, or walking on asphalt, they are insulated from the Earth’s energy flow.

If your pet spends most of the day and all of the night indoors, do what you can to increase his time outside. Resting or playing in a fenced yard is perfect, as are long walks, hikes, and swims. For pets not able to sleep on the ground, grounding pads provide contact with the Earth when they are indoors.

The Healing Power of Your Pet

In addition to much-needed exercise for you and your pet, from horses to dogs and more, there is another benefit to interacting with your pet outdoors. Grounding pets transfer their healing energy to you simply through touch.

Horseback riding on dirt trails is grounding for both horse and rider. History attests that the Roman Empire produced some of the finest mounted warriors the world has known, yet they rode bareback. According to stories we heard, they believed that the “Earth spirit” rose up through the horse and into the body of the warriors, thus empowering them.

If you have ever ridden bareback and felt the sweat of the horse on your skin, you may recall feeling a spark-filled connec­tion to the horse that’s unexpectedly charged with energy. That sensation embodies the transfer of charged impulses from horse to human, manifesting in a grounding sensation that actually comes from the Earth itself.

Take your animals outside and let them interact with nature’s heal­ing resources without man-made interference and you’ll find their health and happiness return in spades, like my horses’ did.

Accessing Earth’s Healing Energy

Grounding helps heal all kinds of inflammatory ailments that your pet may suffer from and walking them is one of the easiest ways to ensure that they are accessing Earth’s healing energy. As grounding enthusiasts, we love anything that encourages folks to walk on a regular basis.

We’ve never met a dog that doesn’t want or need to be walked daily. Not coincidentally, research has shown that dog owners walk twenty-two minutes more a day than people without dogs. All those extra daily steps, pats, and hugs you take while grounding your dog can make a real difference in your health and well-being.

In their bestselling book, The Forever Dog, Karen Becker and Rodney Habib write, “Health travels up the leash. Humans don’t necessarily like to exercise, we don’t like to move our bodies— there are a lot of things we don’t want to do for ourselves that we’ll do for our dogs.

The healthy strategies that we choose for our dogs can ultimately better impact and influence our own bodies because we’re moving more, we’re outside more. We’re getting fresh air, we’re getting some sun, we’re interacting with people. And pretty amazing research shows that petting dogs helps reduce human cortisol levels.

Just being around dogs can lower our heart rate and our blood pressure. So there are positive physical changes that occur when we look at dogs and when we pet dogs and when we play with dogs, especially outside. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.” Of course, pets also bring a lot to the table in terms of unconditional love, playing an important part in our lives. 

Copyright ©2023. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted with permission of the publisher,
Hampton  Roads Publishing Company.

Article Source:

Get Grounded, Get Well: Connect to the Earth to Improve Your Health, Well-Being, and Energy
by Stephen Sinatra, Sharon Whiteley, Step Sinatra

book cover of Get Grounded, Get Well by Stephen Sinatra, Sharon Whiteley, Step SinatraDiscover the secret to better health and a better life through grounding. Let nature and Dr. Sinatra be your guide to a happier, healthier life. Recent scientific findings and clinical studies link grounding with relief for a variety of health issues: Heart disease, Sleep disorders, Inflammatory conditions, Depression & anxiety, Attention disorders.
Grounding, the simple act of connecting to the always abundant, nourishing energy of the earth’s surface, has been scientifically and medically proven through numerous studies to have significant positive effects on our physiology. 

Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available as an Audiobook and a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C.Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., is a board-certified cardiologist and certified psychotherapist with forty years of clinical experience treating, preventing and reversing heart disease. He is also certified in anti-aging medicine and nutrition.

In his practice, Dr. Sinatra’s focus has been integrating conventional medical treatments for heart disease with complementary nutritional, anti-aging, and psychological therapies to counteract the inflammation and plaque processes that cause heart attacks and strokes. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and a former chief of cardiology and medical education at Manchester (Connecticut) Memorial Hospital.

More Books by the author.