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Connecting With Nature – Barefoot Walking
Have you ever wondered why it felt so wonderful to walk on the grass or how amazing it was to sleep on the ground under the stars?
Walking barefoot, also known as earthing, has become a scientific practice with a number of remarkable health advantages such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.
Going barefoot works by reawakening the natural stride in the body through the feedback we get from our feet touching the ground. There is less impact and joint torque than in a shoe, it reawakens muscles that have atrophied in our shoes, reawakens nerve endings and our balance system, stimulates reflexology points on the bottom of our feet. This all means a stronger body, less joint pain, better posture, more mobility, greater health, and greater freedom.
When the skin touches any natural surface on earth, you experience the flow of earth’s electric energy connecting to your physical body, which has been scientifically proven to promote healing and create a deep sense of well-being.
Greater balance. By feeling the ground, people begin waking up the vestibular system (balance system) of the brain, stimulating new neural connections and remapping their minds for greater balance. For seniors this is critical, because one fall or hip fracture can lead to a gradual decline in health.
Greater strength. By going barefoot one begins to wake up new muscles, both for balance and support. If you look at a super-model’s legs, chances are she has been walking barefoot at the beach, toning all of her leg muscles in the process.
Healthier feet. The body works on the “use it or lose it” principle. Use something, you get to keep it. Don’t use it, and it atrophies. When people start going barefoot their feet reawaken and begin to strengthen again.
Less foot problems. 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. We have all learned to be in a shoe for our lifetime. The typical running or walking shoe usually sports a heel of 1-2 inches (if not more) in height. To keep from falling over we are 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 are 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 are leaning or tilting forward, or that we are bending forward at the waist. With practice we run, walk, and even stand with better posture. Not only do we look better and get taller, but we greatly reduce all of the stress and strain on our bodies.
Kids get healthier. With childhood diabetes and obesity, kids 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. The American Podiatric Medical Association now recommends keeping kids out of shoes for as long as possible, because they know shoes weaken and deform the feet. Also 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.
Reduce inflammation. Perhaps most importantly, going barefoot has been shown to reduce inflammation. According to many new studies, inflammation is the number one cause of disease in the 21st century and a 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, which are 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. Direct contact with the ground allows us to discharge free radicals.
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.
EHC strongly recommends you to set aside time each day to walk barefoot on earth and enjoy the healing benefits that are freely offered to us by our generous mother Earth.