It’s finally summer again! The sun is out. It’s time to soak up the warmth and get back in touch with mother-nature. You might not have thought of going barefoot as a legitimate practice, but if you’re feeling ungrounded or anxious, then reconnecting with the earth under your feet could be the best therapy for you. So, step-out of those constricting shoes and get grounding or earthing.
Big City Life
More and more of us are becoming city dwellers; some even commute hours a day to get a piece of that hustle and bustle. This means that our feet are spending more time than ever before locked inside tight shoes. By the time you get home and kick-off those shoes, your feet might feel (and look) more like an elephant’s. This is especially true in summer. As your feet warm-up, your veins dilate to move fluid into the surrounding tissue. This mechanism is used to cool them back down, but for it to work well your feet need room to breathe, which doesn’t happen when they are imprisoned in shoes.
This extra pressure also causes a lot of stress throughout the body. If you’re familiar with reflexology, you’ll know that several nerves connect various areas of the feet to other parts of your body. Any pressure or feeling in your sole will have a ripple affect somewhere else. The central part of your arch for example, the part we all like to have massaged, is directly related to your gut. When you are grounding, your feet are free. They will adjust and spread on the surface allowing the blood circulation to return to normal. Any sensation in your sole will trigger stress-releasing signals upwards, which in turn helps the body heal and regenerate itself.
The ‘Science’ Behind Grounding
Let’s take a quick trip back to the basic science classroom. Don’t worry, we won’t go too deep! You might recall that you, and everything around you, is made up of atoms and that electrons are paired negatively charged particles living inside atoms. Certain genetic or environmental triggers such as stress, air pollution or UV rays trigger a process known as oxidative stress. This basically means those atoms may lose or gain an electron in response to external factors and become unpaired, producing free radicals – not exactly great for your body. They damage cells and contribute towards chronic inflammation, cancer and other conditions, while also causing symptoms of aging such as wrinkles. Definitely something you want to avoid!
You’re probably familiar with antioxidants in foods. These help protect the body from damaging free radicals.
Well, it turns out, you can think of the earth as one gigantic antioxidative ball.
The earth’s surface has an overall negative charge and research suggests that grounding may help combat the harmful effects of free radicals. The theory is that by tapping into the earth’s electrical energy, you can replenish the electrons lost, and turn damaging free radicals back into happy stable atoms.
Kick-back & Relax
‘Grounding theory’ has come under certain criticism because of this somewhat sketchy scientific evidence. We agree that the research may be stretched and that is why we want to focus on the emotional benefits of simply kicking-off shoes, stretching your toes and feeling the earth beneath your feet. Whether it’s dewy grass, soft dirt or fine sand, something wonderful happens when you’re barefoot! You feel free and grounded as though someone pressed the pause button.
At Spinal Care Clinics in Brentwood, we often see how stress can manifest itself as a physical condition, such as back pain or neck pain, and vice versa. We encourage you to make the most of the summer and take every opportunity to get out and reconnect with nature.
So, in the famous words of Nancy Sinatra, ‘these boots are made for walking’ but your feet are made for grounding and you might even soak-up a few electrons in the process!