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Ideally, movie theaters showing the new documentary The Grounded will have their floors removed, so that viewers will be able to dig their toes into the dirt while watching it.
That’s in accordance with the premise of this film directed by Steve Kroschel, which makes the claim that bare-skin contact with the earth has healing powers. The concept, referred to as both “Earthing” and “Grounding,” is apparently the cure for ailments ranging from arthritis and insomnia to snoring, with one doctor testifying that it’s “a revolution in healthcare that transcends Penicillin.”
Well… OK. Kroschel, a National Geographic filmmaker and naturalist, certainly seems sincere in his beliefs, even burrowing his naked body into the ground to experience the healing effects. He’s backed up by several “experts,” including a pair of Apollo astronauts, Canadian science broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki and various other doctors and ordinary citizens of the small Alaska town in which he lives.
But other than the anecdotal testimonials and some experiments involving plants, there seems little scientific evidence to back the theory up. Featuring swelling orchestral music that wouldn’t be out of place in an evangelical church service, the documentary resembles a late night infomercial for a product that’s free, save for the motel that offers an “Earthing Room” to its guests, no doubt for an additional charge.
Dedicated New Age types may well embrace the passionate arguments espoused, and if the concept catches on the sales of footwear will no doubt be adversely affected. But the rest of us will have to be excused for our skepticism, even if it definitely feels good to dig your toes into the ground on a warm summer’s day.
Opens Jan. 10 (Kroschel Films)
Production: Passion River Films, One Paw Productions
Director/producer: Steve Kroschel
Executive producers: Erwin Mertz, Joann Ross Cunningham
Director of photography: Mario Benassi
Editor: Carey Komadina
Composer: Stuart Mitchell
Not rated, 74 min.
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