Do you remember the joy of running barefoot on wet grass? Or feeling the textures of pebbles or rocks beneath your bare soles? When last did you go barefoot? And not just in your home, but out in nature?
If the answer is, you cannot remember, this is something you should do now… For immediate health benefits!
With five minutes a day of walking barefoot, or Earthing, as it is known, your entire body will feel the changes this creates.
‘Earthing” or “grounding,” the simple act of walking barefoot offers so many benefits that we lose by wearing shoes all the time.
One of the most important things to understand when you consider the benefits of walking barefoot is just how much of our body’s natural energies run through our feet. Everything from PMS to hypertension to sleep apnea is connected to specific points along our feet. (hence, the popularity of reflexology)
Our feet are designed to be walked on. There are over 200,000 nerve endings in a human foot… even five to ten minutes of walking outside barefoot will stimulate our bodies and senses thoroughly. Consider also the mechanics of the difference between walking barefoot and walking with shoes. When you have shoes on, the padded heels strike the ground and then the foot comes down flat before the leg lifts the foot up again. It is rough and unnatural. Take off the shoes and your feet will come down more gently, with your knee bent, until the balls of your feet are splayed, gripping the ground, before pushing off again. It is a subtle difference which drastically changes the mechanics of our body’s motion. That difference also causes many injuries, which can be reduced once you go barefoot. (researchers have found padded shoes can create up to 12 times the amount of stress on our bodies) . Another benefit of walking barefoot each day is the extra energies we can pick up from the surface of the Earth itself. You may find this thought too ‘airy fairy’ but consider this… Since the sixties, we have been walking with rubber or plastic soled shoes, literally insulating ourselves from the natural electrons flowing along the Earth’s surface. Those electrons have immense health benefits as they are absorbed into our bodies in a process called grounding. The most potent is their ability to neutralize the free radicals, which reduces chronic pain, muscle fatigue and signs of aging. Grounding your feet for five or more minutes a day can also positively impact your heart and nervous system. It raises the surface charge of your body’s red blood cells, which keeps them from clumping and triggering heart issues. It decreases white blood cell count and increases red blood cell count, indicating a positive immune response. Grounding also helps regulate the endocrine and nervous systems. Children and older adults especially will see many direct benefits to walking (or running) without shoes. By walking barefoot for a short time every day, our feet will stay stronger and healthier and that in turn improves our balance, reducing the chances of a serious fall in the elderly. For children, spending extra time running and playing outside without any shoes on will help their muscles develop properly.
In summary, there are many real benefits to going barefoot, clearly substantiated in research studies. Here are a few:
- It can reduce pain and inflammation.
- It can improve sleep.
Earthing is believed to stabilize circadian rhythms.
- It strengthens the immune system.
Researchers found that walking barefoot can actually decrease white blood cell count and increase red blood cell count. This outcome indicates a positive immune response.
- It can reduce the risk of heart disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, earthing increases the surface charge of red blood cells. This results in the reduction of clumping in the cells, which therefore decreases blood thickness. Since high viscosity has been directly linked as a risk factor in heart disease, earthing therefore reduces the risk of heart disease significantly.
- It reduces anxiety and stress.
Going outside, in general, can help regulate emotions and balance the nervous system. However, letting your body come in contact with the soil directly decreases anxiety and stress even more. That’s because the Earth carries a negative charge with it.
- It helps normalize your body’s natural rhythms.
The biological clock of the body needs to be continually calibrated by the pulse of the Earth that governs the circadian rhythms of all life on the planet.
- It loosens tense muscles and can eliminate headaches.
- It boosts energy levels.
Any time you immerse yourself in the natural world, you pick up on the higher frequencies emitted from nature. Therefore, you increase your own energy levels. Exposure to modern society can definitely affect your vitality. So make sure to spend as much time in nature as you can!
- It protects the body from our high technology environment with its many electromagnetic emissions.
As mentioned, earthing can reduce the electromagnetic charge within the body. Plus, it may prevent you from the harmful effects of EMF’s.
- It restores your natural Gait.
The most straightforward benefits is that walking barefoot more closely restores our ‘natural’ walking pattern, also known as our gait, it means:
- better control of your foot position when it strikes the ground
- improvements in balance, proprioception, and body awareness, which can help with pain relief
- better foot mechanics, which can lead to improved mechanics of the hips, knees, and core maintaining appropriate range of motion in your foot and ankle joints as well as adequate strength and stability within your muscles and ligaments
- relief from improperly fitting shoes, which may cause bunions, hammertoes, or other foot deformities
- stronger leg muscles, which support the lower back region
Shoes have thrown off the human body’s natural biomechanics but by taking five minutes a day to walk outside and re-adjust our feet to their natural state, we can reclaim the many health benefits that have been lost to us by wearing shoes
So even if you find the ‘grounding’ and ‘energy from the earth’ theory too airy fairy, the straightforward physical benefits should convince you to ditch your shoes for at least 5 minutes a day.