By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
I go barefoot whenever I can. Why? I love the way it feels, and I know it’s better for my body because that’s how I was made to walk (not in shoes). But most importantly, because I want my dose of vitamins G and D. And now, during the warm summer months, it’s a perfect time to forgo wearing shoes outside and get grounded!
Find yourself a grassy yard or a grassy park. Better yet, if you are near the beach, stroll along the cool, wet sand as the ocean laps at your feet. If you have any pain or stress when you start out, I guarantee you’re going to feel better after a half-hour or hour of walking barefoot. Sitting barefoot, with your feet planted on the ground, is also good (I just prefer walking because of all the health benefits associated with exercise).
“There’s something special – almost spiritual, even – about touching the earth. Let’s say you’ve had a challenging day at work. You come home. What’s the first thing you do? Take off your shoes, right? When you’re barefoot outdoors, something special happens. You feel the ground and suddenly all your anxiety dissipates.”
-Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee, co-authors of the 2013 book, Barefoot Walking
When you are outside walking, you can get vitamin D from sunshine. Additionally, you can also get a good dose of what I call “vitamin G.” G stands for ground and vitamin G refers to the natural, gentle electric charge on the Earth’s surface.
Benefits of Going Barefoot
In today’s world, people are largely disconnected from the Earth’s energy. Lifestyle changes, including the widespread use of insulating rubber, or plastic-soled shoes, have disconnected us from the energy in the ground, and, of course, we no longer sleep on the ground as in times past. This physical disconnect may actually be an unrecognized cause of inflammation, pain, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep. By reconnecting to the Earth, many common symptoms are often relieved and even eliminated: people sleep better, they’re more energized, and they feel better.
Transference of the planet’s natural, subtle electric energy into your feet and throughout your body is a process known as Earthing, or grounding, and is a subject of great interest to me. I co-authored a book on it, and have contributed to studies showing that the Earth’s energy has a profound nurturing effect on the body.
The potential benefits on the whole body and the aging process are massive. Medically, this is a big deal, a major discovery!
Sandler and Lee mention other, more structure-related benefits of going barefoot in their book. Basically, shoes make our feet conform to their shoe design agendas. Without such agendas, our feet are free to strike the ground as they are designed to do, a biomechanical effect that ultimately means less wear and tear on our bodies. When we rely on shoes to stabilize and support our feet, we don’t use our foot muscles. Going barefoot can help us improve our foot strength and stability. Additionally, walking can result in improved balance due to enhanced signaling from the nerve endings on the bottom of the feet responding more naturally to the ground. Stimulating nerve endings of the feet can also help reduce blood pressure, lower anxiety levels, and boost the immune system.
Do we need any more reason to get outside and go barefoot?
The research on grounding, along with testimonials from all over the world from people who have read the Earthing book, provides intriguing evidence of significant physiological shifts and a healthier functioning body. Anyone can experience such effects just by going barefoot outdoors!
If you live in a colder climate, or just can’t spend much time outdoors, you can still tap into the Earth’s beneficial energy by using “barefoot substitutes” indoors − special conductive bed sheets, floor mats, and body bands connected by a wire to the ground. You can use these systems while sleeping, working, and relaxing.
So kick off your shoes, walk barefoot, get grounded indoors, and reconnect to Mother Earth!
Copyright 2014, 2016 HeartMD Institute. All rights reserved.