Why Walking barefoot is more healthy
It’s true: Enjoying “long walks on the beach” is likely the most heavily referenced activity in singles ads.
But, turns out, there appears to be evidence of why placing our bare feet on the earth is such a calming, peaceful exercise.
Walking barefoot—also known as earthing or grounding—has gone from being considered hippy-dippy hogwash to a scientifically-researched practice with a number of remarkable health advantages. But more on the perks of the practice in a second. First, let’s define what earthing/grounding is.
One of the most eloquent and easily-understood descriptions of grounding comes from a website called MindBodyGreen.com: “Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, which is great for conducting electricity. The earth has a negative ionic charge. Going barefoot grounds our bodies to that charge. Negative ions have been proven to detoxify, calm, reduce inflammation, synchronize your internal clocks, hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms.”
As Certified Holistic Health Coach Rupina Meer put it, when our feet’s over 200,000 nerve endings actively respond to the ground, it’s like living reflexology.
According to Gaia, a health and wellness network, walking barefoot on either moist grass or the beach immediately produces a warm, tingling sensation or a sense of well-being that can trigger a multitude of health benefits, often within minutes. These benefits include relieving muscle tension, headaches and menstrual symptoms, a boost in immunity, a reduction in inflammation, and reduced stress hormones and improved blood pressure. Furthermore, for people who are ill—and therefore have the most free radicals—the benefits of grounding can be dramatic. And those who are healthy usually report sleeping better and having more energy after doing a bit of earthing.
Grounding/earthing is pretty self-explanatory, but here are some additional tips:
- DO walk on grass that is slightly moist, as the water helps conduct the electrons; dry grass won’t be as effective
- DON’T walk on grass or soil that is littered with dirt, dog/bird droppings etc. Because the soles of our feet are very effective at absorbing the earth’s energy, they can also absorb toxins. Clean grass, pristine forest, or beach soil is ideal
- DO engage in grounding after flying, as our bodies bioelectrical rhythms are thrown out of balance in flight and grounding restores that electrical equilibrium
- DO wash your feet with soap and water, after grounding, to get rid of soil detritus that you may have picked up
- DON’T go barefoot if you have any open cuts/sores on your soles, as that can be an entry point for parasites/fungi
Well, here’s something that’s hard to deny: Walking barefoot is fun and carefree. It evokes happiness. Like finding a crumpled dollar bill in the pocket of a long-forgotten sweater—or hearing a Jimmy Buffett song during happy hour.
And, c’mon, walking barefoot just plain feels good.
Have a safe, and happy Fourth of July!