Thank goodness, the sun is finally out, and for me that means the chance to get outside without my shoes and feel my feet on the earth!
Many of you may be muttering about dirty feet and that rogue pebble, but it seems like recent studies are suggesting what I’ve always known; that there are numerous benefits to be had by walking barefoot.
Being barefoot in nature is now a whole trend known as “earthing” or “grounding” with scientifically-researched evidence that suggests there are numerous benefits to be had from going barefoot including reducing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.
The term “Earthing” means walking barefoot on soil, grass or sand or any other natural surface. Early studies suggest that the health benefits are based on the relationship between our bodies and the electrons in the earth. Reconnecting with the earth and our own innate healing abilities, is the focus of “earthing” and the bonus is that it’s simple to do, completely free and can be done almost anywhere, at any time. All you need to do is bring your bare feet and a willingness to try something that might seem a little bit “hippy dippy”!
A review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health looked at a number of studies that highlight how drawing electrons from the earth improves health. In one, chronic pain patients using grounded carbon fibre mattresses slept better and experienced less pain.
Another study found that earthing changed the electrical activity in the brain, as measured by electroencephalograms. Still other research found that grounding benefitted skin conductivity, moderated heart rate variability, improved glucose regulation, reduced stress and boosted immunity.
The science aside, I’ve always known that as soon as the weather gets warm enough I love to get outside without my shoes on (much to my husband’s disgust!) and that, invariably, doing this makes me feel joyful, well and rejuvenated. So, I’ve been right all this time…what should we do now?
Even if, like my husband, you don’t fancy losing the shoes there are still multiple benefits to be had just by getting out in nature and taking regular walks. Walking is a great physical exercise and studies show that walking for as little as half an hour a day can reduce the risk of cancer, improve cardiovascular health, help to control weight and prevent diabetes. In addition there are many mental health benefits that are proven to increase when we spend time in nature.
Walking also creates physical and emotional rhythms, it is a gentle and nourishing practice that gives us space and time to think, work through the things that are going on in our lives and even a light stroll will release endorphins and create a sense of wellbeing.
If you can also get past worries about dirty feet and potential hazards underfoot the act of taking off our shoes can multiply all of these benefits by helping us to synchronise with the earth’s natural electric charge, so why not give it a go? Toss aside the trainers, get outside and sit, stand or walk on soil, grass, sand or concrete (all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s energy. On the other hand wood asphalt and vinyl are not conductive and so will not offer the same benefits). So, go for it, start soaking up the natural benefits that Mother Earth has to offer – you won’t regret it, I promise! Let me know if you get out there and experience the benefits for yourself.
Love and light,