Body Pain Relief: The Surprising Benefits of Going Barefoot
You might be surprised to find out that going barefoot could help your body pain. How often do you go barefoot ? Growing up in Australia we were barefoot most of the time but I find that this is not the case for many of my clients. Some people wear shoes all the time, even socks to bed at night and as a result, usually have some kind of chronic pain in their body. Was that a gulp I just heard from you ? No worries, keep reading to see how going barefoot can help your body pain.
Could Going Barefoot Help Your Body Pain ?
If you’re struggling with body pain, here are 3 reasons why going barefoot could help you.
1. Enhanced proprioception
Proprio what ? The soles of your feet contain pressure receptors which provide critical feedback for your body to know “where it is in space.” This is also known as proprioception which comes from the Latin word Propertius, meaning “one’s own” and perception.
Note to Mums, it is particularly important for your kids as they learn to walk and run around to be barefoot. Take their shoes and socks off…their adult selves will thank you.
Thick soled and ill fitting shoes greatly reduce necessary foot to brain feedback and therefore your quality of movement. While an overdeveloped shoe might be protecting you from rocks and other spiky things on the ground, the lack of earth-foot rapport can throw your stride off and cause further biomechanical stress, because the brain is less aware of where the foot is landing – and how to make minute neuromuscular adjustments.
2. Better foot mechanics
You weren’t born with shoes on so isn’t it likely that your feet were designed to walk around unshod ? Yes we need foot protection sometimes, but most modern shoes are so constrictive that they alter the natural mechanics of the bones and hinges in your foot. As the base of support for your entire body, when your feet aren’t working in line with the way they were engineered, your whole body gets thrown off balance. Just watch a woman walking in high heels to see this in extreme action.
If you’re a runner, the jury’s still out about whether to not to wear shoes. In theory, barefoot is always better. That said, some surfaces can hurt and biomechanically, you also have to transition slowly from the heel-strikes-first motion of a shod foot to the natural toe strike of the barefoot runner. The short answer is : if you’re not having any pain in your body, keep doing what you’re doing. If you are struggling with chronic pain you may want to do 2 things:
- Give barefoot running a go on friendly surfaces first like sand, grass or soft dirt, with a slow transition period to allow your body to adjust it’s use pattern.
- See a body pain specialist who can help you re-balance your fascia. Imbalances in soft tissues as a result of habit and injury is the primary problem I work with in my Structural Integration practice to eliminate pain. Trying to solve the problem with foot beds and shoes often just moves the trouble further up into your structure creating knee, hip and low back pain. You can schedule an appointment here
3. A natural energy boost
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about grounding or earthing for health. While the research is recent, (check out the film The Grounded http://youtu.be/yoXRAqsXCmQ) humans have been walking around barefoot or in simple leather shoes for thousands of years. What does this mean for you?
Your body transmits and receives electromagnetic energy. This can be measured by things like an EEG which shows the brains electric pattern or an ECG which measures the heart’s. The human heart field is shaped like a torus, the same as the Earth’s field. This is not woo woo, it’s current science. These pics will give you a visual on these fields – the Earth’s and the human heart field as an example.
The Earth we walk on maintains a negative electric field which is optimum for human health. When you stand or walk on it barefoot, the earths electrons are conducted into your body via the meridian system – the same channels an acupuncturist uses to regulate the flow of chi. It’s like plugging yourself into a giant power point and charging up.
Health benefits include enhanced immune function, stress reduction, sleep regulation and the biggy for body pain – reduced inflammation. For those reasons alone, it’s worth taking your shoes off and hey, it’s free.
Have I convinced you to take your shoes off yet? Aside from all of these health benefits, don’t you just love the feeling of walking on fresh grass or feeling the sand between your toes at the beach ? There’s nothing quite like it is there.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how going barefoot can help with your body pain, so leave a comment in the comments section below. If you like this article, please share it with your friends and as always, drop me a line with any questions you might have. I here for you.