Barefoot? What’s this hippie dippie stuff??
At some stage I imagine you have met some earth-loving hippie walking barefoot from one end of the country to the other … Maybe you liked their vibe, maybe not … Either way, the benefits of kicking off your shoes are being talked about more and more. Even science is talking about it.
Walking barefoot, also known as “earthing,” or “grounding”, has gone from being a quirky trend, to a scientifically-researched practice. And while this may seem like a “new” trend, don’t forget that in evolutionary terms, walking in shoes is really the new trend.
How does it work?
Early studies are showing that the health benefits come from the relationship between our bodies and the electrons in the earth. So how does it work?
Get your physics hat on for a moment … The Earth is negatively charged, so when you stand on a natural surface, you’re connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. And since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it. So, going barefoot also allows you to “ground” with the Earth. Read more on the science here
Why should I walk barefoot?
Research is finding several health advantages in walking barefoot, such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep. Grounding is seen to benefit skin conductivity, reduce stress and boost immunity. One study found that grounding increased the surface charge of red blood cells. As a result, these red blood cells avoid clumping; which decreases blood viscosity. High viscosity is an important factor in heart disease. Many people take blood thinning aspirin each day to decrease this and therefore improve their heart health.
On top of the research that is emerging (more is needed), walking barefoot also gets you moving, outdoors and in contact with nature. And that’s good for our physical and mental health. Contact with blue and green spaces (read nature) is good for us. Plus … its free!! Remember, in terms of our evolution, its only relatively recently that we have been so keen to remove ourselves from nature. Being in contact and close to nature is the backdrop for our species.
What do I need to do?
The basics are getting yourself onto any natural surface: grass, sand, earth. Next, kick off your shoes and socks and simply allow your feet to be in contact with your natural surface of choice! Even standing in your bare feet is great, but if you can go for a gentle walk you have now added movement to the picture! For some, they include mindfulness techniques or deep breathing. We are not aiming for the 100m dash … barefoot running etc is another days work …
If you would like a few more tips on supporting happy, healthy feet, check out this video on stretching out your feet and toes.
If you have any further questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact the clinic here. Hopefully you find the general information in this blog informative and helpful, however, it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.
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