The concept of walking barefoot is nothing new, as our ancestors walked barefoot on the ground and slept directly on the earth. It is unfortunate that many seem to have forgotten this age-old practice of barefoot walking
In today’s lifestyle, keeping your feet protected with cushioned footwear is a normal thing. But there are some people who follow a holistic approach, believe that such a connection between human beings and the earth is critically important to our wellbeing in many ways.
National institutes of health suggest, ‘Earthing (or grounding) refers to the discovery of benefits—including better sleep and reduced pain—from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.’
What is ‘grounding’?
Barefoot walking, also referred to as grounding, is one of the most powerful and ancient practices which connects you to nature. Grounding allows your body to connect directly with mother nature Earth, making an electrical connection with its energies.
Walking barefoot on the ground helps you get rid of all the negative charge from Earth through your feet into the body. According to The Journal of Environmental and Public Health, ‘Earthing (also known as grounding) refers to contact with the earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems, some of them patented, that transfer the energy from the ground into the body. Emerging scientific research supports the concept that the earth’s electrons induce multiple physiological changes of clinical significance, including reduced pain, better sleep, a shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic tone in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and a blood-thinning effect.’
How can older people include barefoot walking in their life?
Barefoot walking is the easiest way to absorb the electromagnetic charge of the earth through direct physical touch. Many people do not have this connection with nature anymore and this can lead to health problems.
Here are some helpful tips to start walking barefoot :
- Walking barefoot techniques vary depending on your comfort level.
- The easiest way is to keep it simple and get outside barefoot and walk in the grass.
- To begin with, start by spending 10 minutes per day walking barefoot.
- As your leg muscles strengthen, you may increase the length of time you walk.
- Simply notice your foot placement and how it improves your balance.
- You can move on to walking barefoot outdoor places, such as grassy park or a beach.
- If you feel any pain or discomfort, take a break or restart again another day.
The benefits of walking barefoot
There are many benefits, both physical and mental wellbeing, which are closely linked with walking barefoot.
- Improves sleep quality and quality of life
Reconnecting with nature is a natural alternative to sleeping medications. Undertaking some barefoot walking regularly on a grassy surface can help you to sleep more soundly.
According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative andCcomplementary Medicine, ‘Grounding the human body to earth (“earthing”) during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. Changes were most apparent in females. Furthermore, subjective reporting indicates that grounding the human body to earth during sleep improves sleep and reduces pain and stress.’
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
Grounding could reduce blood viscosity, which is a main factor in heart disease.
Various researches have shed light on the physiological effect of walking barefoot in improving cardiovascular health.
According to Journal of integrative and complementary medicine, ‘Grounding increases the surface charge on RBCs and thereby reduces blood viscosity and clumping. Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.’ Walking barefoot reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduces inflammation and pain
Touching the earth barefoot helps your body to reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation and prevent disease.
‘Multi-disciplinary research has revealed that electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding or earthing) produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases,’ as reported by Journal of Inflammation Research.
- Stronger foot and leg muscles
PubMed suggests, ‘Ageing is associated with a decline in muscle strength and impaired sensory mechanisms which contribute to an increased risk of falls. Walking barefooted has been suggested to promote increased muscle strength and improved proprioceptive sensibility through better activation of foot and ankle musculature.’
Barefoot walking is a great way to improve balance and strengthen the muscles, not only the feet, but also the ankle joints, hips, lower back and leg muscles. Walking barefoot over a grass field or soil is similar to acupuncture. Barefoot walking stimulates your nervous system and boosts your immune system. Research supports walking barefoot as a crucial element for improving our health and wellbeing.
- How barefoot walking addresses Hypertension
Hypertension, also called’ high blood pressure’, increases with age. It has serious health risks which include kidney disease and heart attacks. But getting some exercise can make a big difference. If your blood pressure is high, walking barefoot can help you control it. This is said to lowers blood pressure.
Accordig to a PubMed Study, ‘This is the first known study measuring the influence of grounding the body on hypertension. The results indicate that grounding appears to be a safe BP-reducing therapy.’
- Improves mood
Barefoot walking improves our senses as the bottom of our feet as we touch many different types of textures. Some research has found that barefoot walking can also result in some health benefits like lowering stress levels, improving sleep and mental health. It calms us when we are feeling stressed and it can improve your mood.
According to Journal of Environmental and Public Health, ‘Direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness. Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.’
- Reconnect with nature
Spending time in and around nature is beneficial to our health and mental wellbeing. Barefoot walking outdoors in nature may help to reduce tiredness and sadness. Engaging all five senses is a wonderful way to be present with natural surroundings.
According to a study, ‘Barefoot walkers had higher connectedness and restoration than shoe wearers in both environments, though increased tactile experiences only mediated the relationship in the beach setting. Findings suggest that walking barefoot is a viable and low-cost activity to facilitate greater feelings of natural connectedness and psychological restoration.’
- Restores balance and body awareness
Maintaining good balance is essential if we want to live actively for as long as possible. Correct Toe’s blog says, ‘When someone is barefoot regularly, the sensory feedback from the foot becomes more detailed and refined, allowing the foot and brain to delineate small changes of sensory stimuli. The result is better control of motor function and balance. This is especially important as we age because the loss of balance is the top reason for falls in the elderly.’
Barefoot walking is not a once-in-a-while exercise, but rather a constant therapeutic technique that connects us electricity to the earth. In order to encourage this connection to mother nature, throw off your shoes and enjoy the barefoot walking effect of the grass beneath your feet.
This article does not advocate you walks to the shops in barefeet! But around your home on suitable surfaces, on grass in your garden or parks and open spaces, on sandy beaches etc. Check with your doctor or health professional if this is for you!