I have been looking forward to talking with you about walking barefoot since I started this blog. Now that I’ve had some extra time, I have put together this post to share with you the science behind it, the benefits of going barefoot, how it effects your mental health, potential risks, and minimalist footwear you can try.
Throughout this post, you will see the terms “Earthing” and “Grounding” come up a lot. Those are terms others and scientists refer to when walking barefoot on a natural surface, such as grass, sand, or soil.
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THE SCIENCE OF GROUNDING
Lord knows, I am not a scientist. But, I am intrigued by natural healing, and continue to search for ways in which I can be the healthiest version of myself. (At least sometimes – pizza nights don’t count.)
If my oldest daughter were here with me, I’d have her better explain the physics behind the Earth’s electromagnetic field. However, since she’s off to college, I’m going to share what I have learned studying the science behind grounding.
When you practice grounding, or walking barefoot, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body. Let’s look at more scientific breakdown of how this occurs.
The Earth produces a 7.83 Hz electromagnetic field – (the Schumann Resonance) which harmonically entrains all life within these fields.
When feet are planted directly on the ground, electrical activity in the body is significantly increased within seconds. These subtle, yet powerful, EM fields restore the body and mind to health, increasing psychic abilities, intuition, as well as spiritual receptivity.
Clearly, there is more than one straightforward benefit to walking barefoot on outside surfaces. Below, you can find a list of the positive effect to walking barefoot.
BENEFITS OF WALKING BAREFOOT
The grounding effect is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of.
- Reduces stress
- Controls insomnia
- Regulates blood pressure
- Boosts energy level
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improve overall posture
- Improve mental health
- Boosts immune system
Recent studies have shown that the nerves of the feet are stimulated when we walk barefoot. This nerve stimulation usually leads to the reduction of stress levels.
The conclusion of this earthing study shows reductions in overall stress levels and tensions and a shift in ANS balance upon earthing.
A study in PubMed revealed that walking barefoot influences physiologic processes as well as inducing relaxation. It has also been shown that people who had been exposed to grounding have better night’s sleep when compared with those who did not walk barefoot regularly.
The reason for this is because walking barefoot helps stabilize circadian rhythms, which is the first step to better sleep; as it is the internal system that’s designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Since stress is released through earthing, which is also known as walking barefoot, it helps in controlling the blood pressure.
Grounding increases the surface charge of red blood cells. As a result, the cells avoid clumping, which can decrease blood viscosity. High viscosity is a significant factor in heart disease. This is why many people take blood thinning aspirin each day to improve their heart health. Earthing sounds like a better option, in my opinion!
Boosts Energy Level
Every lover nature knows that there is a higher energy in nature. This is why whenever you immerse yourself in the natural world, you pick up on the higher frequencies emitted from nature and therefore increase your own energy levels.
However, with our vitality constantly affected by modern society, it advisable for us to make out time to walk barefoot as often as we can.
Reduce Chronic Pain
In addition to enriching the immune system, earthing increases the oxygen levels of the body and thus, helps reduce chronic or acute pain in our body.
Improve Overall Posture
If you walk with rigid soles from shoes under your feet, you’ll have the tendency to put your foot flat on the heel. Studies have shown that shoes are having a negative effect, such as weaking our feet.
Our weak feet can lead to a bad posture which can lead to back pain, neck pain, even knee pain which is actually often caused by shoes that misplace your postural alignment.
When walking barefoot, however, the front part of the foot helps to bounce off the impact, which puts less strain on the joints from the toe, over the ankle, knee and hip and even to the back.
Improve Mental Health
When your bare foot sinks into the ground, consider it self-care for your mental health.
The Journal of alternative and complementary medicine suggests earthing may even help improve the function of red blood cells, a major factor in heart disease, as well as help regulate both the endocrine and nervous systems.
Direct contact with the earth’s surfaces have proven to play an important role in maintaining positive mental health. It’s no surprise walking bare feet will regulate nervous systems; making us feel happier than ever.
Vitamin D also plays an important role to your mental health. You can check out these best vitamin D supplements.
Enrich Immune System
In a recent study, alternative medicine practitioners affirm that the electrons present in the earth help enrich the immune system in the body.
DANGERS OF WALKING BAREFOOT
Although there are many benefits to walking barefoot, there are a couple ways in which walking barefoot can compromise your foot health.
First, if you have weak foot muscles, there may be potential risks with walking barefoot. After a lifetime of wearing shoes that minimize the sensations of the ground, your nerves are unresponsive to lessen impact forces. Instead, the impacts are absorbed by your joints, bones, and tendons.
This has led to an epidemic of plantar fasciitis (plantar fascia), Achilles tendinopathy and stress fractures.
Plus, if you are walking on uneven surfaces with no arch support, you may experience some discomfort. If you have poor mechanics of walking, I suggest slowly introducing walking barefoot to slowly build up your muscles. This may help prevent foot injuries.
Do you have severe pain, new pain, or other foot issues? If so, talk with your primary care physician, a chiropractor, an ankle specialist, or visit an orthopedic surgeon.
Risks of Walking Barefoot in Public Areas
Not wearing shoes in public areas, such as locker rooms, can lead to bacterial foot infections. In addition to fungal infections and athlete’s foot, you run the risk of stepping on sharp object.
If you’re walking on beautiful sandy beaches, then going barefoot is the best thing. However, if you will be walking through a lot of public places, you may want to wear minimalist footwear to avoid injury or harmful bacteria.
A lot of people have reservations of going completely barefoot. If you’re one of those who question the new research, you can try a pair of shoes that support the natural approach of earthing.
The following men’s, women’s and children’s shoes for earthing have excellent ratings.
Men’s Minimalist Shoes
These RHIZAL slip on shoes are my husband’s favorite grounding shoes!
RHIZALs have a copper plug through the sole, reconnecting you to this charge. And the RHIZAL shoes allow natural foot movement with a thin flexible sole and wide toebox.
Women’s Earthing Shoes
The Joomra minimalist shoe is the next best thing to walking barefoot on the trails. The slightly cushioned shoe will keep your feet comfortable on multi-surfaces.
Children’s Minimalist Shoe
These kids UpFen shoes protect bare feet from sharp objects and harsh ground temperatures. The children’s shoes have a variety of colors to choose from.
If you are going to run a marathon, I would think twice about wearing minimalist sandals.
This article says Harvard medicine claims minimalist sandals may be harmful to a runners joints, bones, and muscles. I suggest wearing more supportive shoes if you are going for a run.
Lastly, according to HolmesPlace every time the bottom of feet hit the ground, there are so many benefits that are often overlooked.
Next time you’re outside, let the soles of your feet feel the benefits earth’s surfaces have to offer.
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