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Walking Barefoot

‘Earthing’ or ‘grounding’, is the act of walking barefoot on soil, grass, or sand, in nature, for approximately 30 minutes every day. When was the last time walked barefoot for a period to gain the positive benefits it can have on your mental health?

Grounding and earthing

In much the same way as the electrical circuit in your house is earthed, we too can benefit from connecting with the earth’s surface. The theory of grounding is that our body becomes imbalanced and one way to rebalance it is to connect ourselves to the earth. Our body tends to become positively charged and the earth, being naturally very slightly negatively charged, helps to neutralise the imbalance. Walking barefoot in nature is one way to become grounded.

walking-barefoot-on-a-logBack in the cave and some biology

When we lived in caves, we didn’t have shoes between us and the earth, we went about our daily activities the balancing took place naturally. Today, we take the process of walking for granted but there is so much that goes on as our feet hit the ground.

The sequence of walking is known as gait and starts with the heel hitting or striking the ground. Our body weight shifts over the foot from back to front, the outside of the sole of the foot to just below where your toes start. It shifts across to the big toe, and the tip of the big toe is last to leave the ground.

Pressure sensors in the feet

The sole of the foot is covered in tiny little pressure sensors on the end of nerves known as proprioceptors. Proprioception is how our body knows where it is in space and motion. Those little receptors send information to the brain in superfast time! Sending information about the surface of the ground, its firmness or how soft, and how level and secure it is. In turn, helping us instinctively know if we are on solid and safe ground.

System switched off

All things considered, by wearing shoes or walking on hard surfaces, we have mostly switched this process off. Due to this we blunt our senses once acting as a barrier to the natural world. Our body and brain were designed to use this information for a reason.

Did you know? There are somewhere in the region of 200,000 information-gathering nerve endings on the soles of our feet!

These neuro-pathways have become unused and, much like unfrequented footpaths, have become less easy to find and use. There’s a chunk of our brain that is redundant and waiting to be cleaned off and used again. Reconnect our brains to our feet and proprioception messages start again, our brains become surprisingly more adaptive to change and more responsive. In prehistoric times we might have been walking over quicksand and we would very quickly know about it! Instinctively, our brains respond to sensory feedback. In those situations, we become more capable of getting from A to B over rough terrain too.

A modern take

ReflexologyReflexology is a system of massage commonly attributed to the feet. But it does have other sites on the body also that are utilised to access reflex points which are linked to every part of the body and organs. The reflexologist will put pressure on certain points of the feet to restore function and balance to the body. (I don’t suppose our cavemen friends needed this as they stimulated their bare feet daily)

In modern times we have found a lacking and need to reconnect. Reflexology has been proven to not only relax the structures in the feet, but it can improve sleep and reduce symptoms of depression.

From what we know of gait, the big toe is very important. From a biomechanical viewpoint it is essential for physical balance. But its also the reflex point for balance throughout the body and the receiver of sensory feedback.

Effects on our emotional wellbeing

Studies on various forms of grounding or earthing have shown benefits such as:

  • Reducted pain and inflammation, due mainly to a lowering in cortisol levels
  • Increased levels of relaxation and better sleep
  • Stabilizing circadian rhythms.
  • Reduced white blood cell concentration and improving red blood cell count indicates a positive immune response
  • Reduced risk of heart disease linked to the above as the red cells are less sticky and so clump less inflow. Presenting less resistance to the circulation of  the heart which is the pump
  • Regulating the nervous system by reducing stress and anxiety
  • Calibrating our bio clock and synchronises it to that of the whole planet
  • Re-establishing good sleep patterns, menstrual cycle, and circadian rhythms. All hormonal processes are often driven by our mood and the primitive parts of our brains
  • Boosting our energy levels is also linked to hormone regulation and the primitive brain.

What happens now?

In introductory meetings with clients, I educate them on the roles of the negative and primitive mind. Working to help them retrain their brains to see and acknowledge the positives. Practicing any of the Tips that I deliver as blogs and/or videos will help you to do the same. Promoting good mental health and combating poor mental health and often the negative effects of extended production of cortisol, the stress hormone.

If progress is slow and you need a boost please contact me.

I would love to see photos of you walking barefoot and reconnecting to our amazing Earth.

Enjoy.

 

 

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