Earthing: The health benefits of being barefoot
Our feet map our bodies, and studies have shown that the health benefits from walking barefoot comes from the relationship between our bodies and the electrons in the earth.
Connecting our feet to the earth
Earthing, also called grounding, stems from the idea that in modern city life we no longer have direct physical contact with the Earth, and therefore are losing out on purported health benefits of exchanging electrons with the surface of our planet.
You can ground yourself by walking outside barefoot, sitting on the ground, or being connected to the Earth via grounding devices that transfer electrons from the earth to your body, according to Dr Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.
The theory behind the health benefits is that since Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you will absorb electrons because your body regularly produces positive charges. Earth’s electrons help with reduced pain and better sleep. While earthing, you are connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy.
The Reflexology of Going Barefoot
Runbare lists Reflexology as a great benefit to being barefoot. Reflexology is the process of stimulating nerves on the bottom of the feet to stimulate the immune system. Studies have shown that reflexology in relation to going barefoot reduces inflammation and pain throughout the entire body, blood pressure, stress and tension; and stimulates many other healing processes in the body.
According to cardiologist Dr. Sinatra, inflammation thrives when your blood is thick and you have a lot of free radical stress and a lot of positive charges in your body. Grounding effectively alleviates inflammation because it thins your blood and infuses you with negatively charged ions through the soles of your feet.
Research has demonstrated it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your bloodstream and transform your blood.
By restoring balance in the corresponding body part, reflexology has a deeper focus than a regular massage. A detox foot bath can enhance the reflexology session by drawing out any negative energy and toxins from the body. During a detox foot bath, you immerse your feet in a foot bowl while toxins are removed from skin pores through the bottom of your feet. The process takes 30 minutes and the water changes color at the end of the session to symbolize which area has been detoxified. The foot bath can also improve the immune system and help with seasonal allergies because your body is getting cleaner while the toxins are being removed.
Clare Tuma is a barefoot enthusiast and says that if she had a choice, she would walk barefoot all the time.
“It’s way more comfortable,” says Tuma. “To be completely honest since my feet get all hot. It feels better barefoot.”
She was surprised to find out that there were health benefits to her normal routine and didn’t realize that something so simple made a difference. Walking around barefoot was something Tuma has always done.
According to health writer, Martin Zucker, you may feel a sensation of warmth rising up through the feet and legs during earthing.
There are many ways to enjoy being barefoot in a controlled environment. A lot of exercises such as yoga are done barefoot so that a person can receive that connection from the earth especially with the common child’s pose. In child’s pose you are physically in contact with the ground because you are pressing your feet into the earth and feeling the earth’s energy.
No shirt, no shoes, no service
Going barefoot in public may be seen as tacky or extreme, but science proves that walking around without shoes is actually healthy for you.
Tuma also says that some people may just feel like it is out of the norm.
“Most people think its disgusting,” she says. “I don’t really mind. It’s not like I walk around in mud when I’m barefoot.”
Being barefoot can be overlooked and put in a box as being socially unacceptable. Some businesses will even put up signs to refuse service to customers without footwear. Even though it is not the law, it’s up for individual taste when it comes to public establishments and their policies.
If you don’t like the thought of being barefoot in public just yet, walking around at home with no shoes or socks can help keep you grounded and connected to the earth.
There are indoor Earthing products such as bed sheets, mats, or throws that can be used while watching TV or reading. These products connect you with the Earth’s electrons in the same way as if you were standing barefoot on the ground outside. Next time you think about wearing shoes in the house, try going barefoot. Try earthing. The disconnect from the Earth has been overlooked by medical advancements but, by reconnecting with the Earth’s energy, your general well-being can drastically improve with this simple and natural practice.
Brittney graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a B.A. in Journalism. She is interested in fashion magazine writing and entertainment news, and is looking forward to what the future holds!