Walking barefoot, also known as “earthing,” has gone from being a kooky counter-culture trend, to a scientifically-researched practice with a number of remarkable health advantages, such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.
Why should you walk barefoot?
- To wake up the vestibular system of the brain, stimulate new neural connections and remap the minds for greater balance.
- By going barefoot one begins to wake up new muscles, both for balance and support and greater strength.
- When people start going barefoot their feet reawaken and begin to strengthen again for healthier feet.
- The corollary to this is less foot conditions: As the feet strengthen, plantar fasciitis diminishes, foot neuromas go away, bunions begin to dissipate and other conditions such as hammertoes go away. Even the arthritic foot begins to slowly heal itself as it develops greater strength, flexibility, and blood flow.
- Greater circulation: Going barefoot not only wakes up long-dormant muscles of the feet and legs, but gets more blood flow to the feet and legs to get them going. This increased blood flow means less aches and pains, less varicose veins, and warmer feet and legs in the winter.
- Better posture: To keep from falling over we’re forced to get our butts back and bend forward at the waist, straining our hamstrings, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and neck. It also puts a lot of force on our hips, knees and feet when we run. Once we’re out of a shoe we can begin to reverse this. By feeling the ground the nerve endings on the bottom of our feet begin to tell us that we’re leaning or tilting forward, or that we’re bending forward at the waist. Not only do we look better and get taller, but we greatly reduce all of the stress and strain on our bodies. And all without any additional work.
- Kids get healthier: With childhood diabetes and obesity, kid’s health is at an all-time low. And health begins with the feet. If you have strong feet you can walk, run, bike and more. But with weak painful feet, there’s no desire to exercise. Keep them out of shoes and kids stay healthy. Not only that, but the act of feeling the ground strengthens their senses and helps remap the brain.
- Decreased blood pressure: Studies show that by stimulating the nerve endings on the bottom of the feet, we can decrease blood pressure and the parasympathetic (cortisol) fight or flight response of the body. In other words, we decrease stress and inflammation throughout the entire body.
- Reflexology benefits: Reflexology is the process of stimulating nerves on the bottom of the feet to stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation & pain, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and tension, and to stimulate many other healing processes in the body. Studies have shown great reflexology benefits to going barefoot and stimulating the soles of the feet.
- Reduce inflammation: One possible solution may be grounding or earthing, the process of reducing inflammation by walking, standing or even sitting barefoot on the ground. Studies have shown that free radicals, the pesky buggers responsible for inflammation carry a positive charge. Though these positively charged particles play an important role in our immune system and the healing response, if we don’t have a way to drain them, they build up in our bodies, creating excess inflammation and cell/tissue damage. Meanwhile, the earth naturally carries a huge negative charge. It’s your body’s way of discharging this unwanted charge. Direct contact with the ground also allows us to discharge free radicals.