Today we celebrate a day that not many people know about, and if they did they would probably scoff and say “It’s not a real holiday”. Well maybe it’s not, but the fact behind going barefoot for just a little bit of time is not something to scoff at. There are some real, scientific, benefits to taking a quick walk in the grass without shoes or socks (besides the freeing feeling of wiggling your toes in the grass). This shouldn’t be surprising when you really think about it seeing as our ancestors never wore shoes, and if they did they were made from a natural material like animal skin and resembled moccasins or sandals. Humans did not start wearing shoes as we know them today until around the 18th century – meaning that we as Humans have had a very long history of no shoes, or very little shoe. And just in recent history we started using insulated materials that have increased that space between us and Earth’s electrons that we need.
The surface of the earth has a continuous supply of free electrons due to something called a global atmospheric electron circuit (fancy term for the electrical interaction between the surface of the earth and the upper atmosphere.) Our bodies can fall prey to oxidative stress, or a buildup of positive charge in the form of free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that are highly reactive and highly correlated with inflammation which is linked with disease states such as heart disease, cancer, premature aging, and cognitive dysfunction. Free radicals can be further increased by pollutants in our environment, poor diet, and stress. Our cells can be damaged when these unpaired electrons seek balance by taking electrons from our healthy cells. Our bodies have a way to compensate for this by using antioxidants. We hear about the anti-oxidizing properties of vitamins and super foods, which are great sources of antioxidants, but why not receive some from mother earth as well
Studies have demonstrated that direct contact with the earth’s surface can:
- reduce chronic pain
- regulate heart rate variability
- improve sleep quality due to cortisol regulation
- lower blood viscosity, increasing circulation
- reduce stress by regulating the autonomic nervous system, allowing us to switch from “fight or flight” responses to “rest “ dominated responses
- have a regulating effect on thyroid hormone
To receive these benefits from the earth’s surface simply walk around barefoot for 10 minutes or more per day when you can. You can walk on sand, grass, concrete, tile or soil and receive benefits. It also helps to sit or lie on these surfaces as well. (Electrons will not transfer through wood, rubber, plastic or vinyl.) Added benefits of taking some time outside are a bit of vitamin D and giving yourself a chance to take a few moments for you to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. Kick off June by kicking off your shoes and enjoying a bit of the great outdoors!
Before you go and throw all your shoes away be cautious of where you take that barefoot stroll, no one wants you to cut yourself on a piece of glass. Also, if barefoot running is something you are interested in it should be noted that because you have been wearing shoes all your life there will be an adjustment period and you should start on soft earth i.e sand, grass, dirt.