It all started innocently enough a few summers ago. In the practice one afternoon, my shoes hurt, so I took them off. After adjusting a few people, however, I was, almost instantly, converted. I felt stronger, more sure on my feet, grounded. More purposeful and connected with each adjustment.
So as per most products, concepts, new trends or fads….I experimented on myself, and did a bit of research before being ready to share my thoughts.
I am not a runner, but I have heard about barefoot running. I believe strongly in the importance of children being barefoot, particularly in their toddler years when just learning to walk.
I asked some colleagues and was not surprised to find that many of them also adjust barefoot – the simple answer when I asked why? its more natural and the way we were designed! I was also surprised to learn so many people I adjust prefer being barefoot, finding it more comfortable.
Many health experts agree that bare is the healthiest state for your feet to be in. Most shoes have no relation at all to the natural shape of the human foot. It’s also been argued that most adult foot trouble would not exist if properly shaped shoes, or better yet, no shoes at all had been used during childhood.
Children who are encouraged to walk barefoot typically have:
– fewer instances of deformed toe
– greater foot flexibility
– greater ability to spread the toes
– denser muscles on the bottom of the feet
– greater agility than those who had never gone barefoot
– better hip rotation and more flexibility of leg muscles
– greater balance
– better posture, spinal balance and overall nerve system function
What are the benefits for you?
– natural shaped feet, including straighter toes free of corns, hammer toes, bunions and callouses in the wrong places
– well shaped legs resulting from a natural and balanced gait.
– a more natural motion, free of weight brought on by shoes
– prevention of blisters, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts
– better posture & spinal health!
It’s also been suggested that people who are barefoot tend to be less stressed and authoritative, leading to a more relaxed environment at both home and work. Many cultures believe that the positive energy of the earth, known as chi, prana, is absorbed through the soles of the feet. When you are walking barefoot your body is absorbing this positive energy, allowing you to think more clearly.
AND…there is evidence that the natural motion of barefoot positively affects brain function!!!
Other than the spine, the foot is the region of the body which contains the most proprioceptive sensory receptors, the distinctive nerve circuits that help your brain know where your body is in relation to the space around you. Given this abundance of sensory information, the natural unrestricted movement of the feet is vital for overall neurological health!
I have happily embraced being barefoot as much as possible. Even though I do love shoes, I find myself wearing them more because I need to, not because I want to…and I kick them off as soon as I can.