In our lifestyles as modern humans, we have lost our connection with the Earth. We stay mostly inside of our homes, workplaces, and vehicles. Even those that work and or play outside do so in synthetic shoes. Unless you are a gardener who doesn't use gloves, we are almost completely physically disconnected from the ground beneath our feet. What follows is why shoes are for suckers AND why you should consider tossing them as often as possible.
1. Modern Shoes Deform the Feet and Affect Posture
Have you ever observed the feet of newborn babies? Their toes are set wide and have magnificent mobility immediately upon leaving the womb. Newborns can grip objects with their feet like hands. Now look at any adult foot that has developed with shoes. Our feet are deformed. For some reason, modern shoes are not designed in the shape of a foot. Look at most shoes, especially dress shoes. The toe box does not widen out to fit the shape of a natural foot, but rather it tends to come to a point. The toes are smashed especially the pinky. My own pinky toe actually twists and curves underneath it's neighbor. Overall, the foot and toes lose mobility and strength.
On the webpage for The Society for Barefoot Living, it says,
" The fact is, human feet were designed for walking barefoot, and they continue to be totally efficient and sufficient for that purpose... Though feet tend to remain soft and weak with regular shoe wearing, they will – like any other part of the body – grow stronger, healthier and more resilient when allowed to function as nature intended: moving freely, and exposed to fresh air and sunlight while unencumbered by tight restraints (shoes)."
How can this not affect the way you stand and walk? Feet are our foundation. If they are malformed then how can that not misalign the body from my ankles all the way up to the neck and head. Consider this point. What do you think would happen to your hands if you stuck a constricting cast on them for your whole life? Your hands would cease to function anywhere near full capacity. This is what happens to our feet in shoes.
2. Physically Connecting to the Earth is Good for You
The book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever, by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Martin Zucker, defines Earthing as "living in contact with the Earth's natural surface charge--being grounded--which naturally discharges and prevents chronic inflammation in the body". This book documents how reconnecting and grounding the body consistently produces these and other common benefits:
-Rapid reduction of inflammation
-Rapid reduction or elimination of chronic pain
-Dynamic blood flow improvement to better supply the cells and tissues of the body with vital oxygen and nutrition
-Accelerated healing from injuries and surgery
How? Simply put, the ground contains a negative electrical charge. In modern life we are bombarded with constant positive electrical charges from our mobile phones, electronics, cars, and crappy food, to say the least. We also tend to store up this massive positive charge which results in inflammation, which is the cause of a lot of illness and disease. When we are grounded and touch the Earth for periods of time we absorb negative charges and release positive charges straight into the Earth.On page 5 of the 2nd Edition of Earthing, it says,
"Earthing is among the most natural and safest things you can do to improve your health; something simple yet astoundingly profound. It is not a treatment but a hugely rewarding return-to-a-core aspect of Nature that we have abandoned. Earthing is a missing link in the health equation."
3. Start Slowly & Expand Gradually
So what can you do? First, take your shoes off indoors and be barefoot for your daily activities. Also, begin to walk around outside in the soft grass of your yard or a nearby park. After awhile, you can begin to experiment with hard surfaces, like rock beds and trails. BE MINDFUL & GRADUAL as there are countless hazards and your feet are most likely weak and soft. Even after almost 6 years of dedication it still hurts when I step on a thorn or sharp stick. The benefits far exceed the occasional minor impairment.
A strategy I live by is to always be as close to barefoot as I can. There are now numerous upcoming brands of footwear that cater to us barefoot warriors. They recognize the need for a flat shoe and wide toe box, allowing the foot to sit more naturally. Simply search "barefoot shoes" or "minimalist footwear" in your favorite search engine.
Some added bonuses I experience are that I can now withstand very cold temperatures and even walk around in snow for longer and longer periods of time. My feet are simultaneously becoming tougher AND more sensitive to the touch. BE RELENTLESS AND PERSERVERE. Your foot strength and perhaps more important your overall health with improve.
For more tips on going barefoot and earthing, see these resources:
Craig Arthur Johnson is a writer, speaker, and adventurer. A reverent son of Mother Earth and the Divine Cosmos, he is a humble student of life where there are no degrees. Unconventional in thought and a seeker of truth, he allows heart and intuition guide his choices.
As a Holistic Lifestyle Specialist, Craig will most likely be outdoors communing with the natural world. Sunshine, movement, meditation, swimming, and being barefoot are simple pleasures that bring daily contentment.
Attention! I am currently writing a book of holistic remedies for depression, including Earthing!! It's called Feeling Alive Again: The Outsider's Guide to Overcoming Depression. Please share & donate to my Go Fund Me campaign!
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