Why I Walk Barefoot Everyday
A couple of years ago I read a book called “Earthing” by Clint Ober, and it absolutely blew my mind when it comes to recognising that connecting to the Earth is one of the simplest and best solutions for living a healthy life, with benefits such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation and improving sleep.
I have always been aware that going outside barefoot can help with the electrical potential of the human body, but in no way did I appreciate the wide range of well-researched benefits until I read Clint Ober’s book. Walking barefoot on any natural surface, or earthing, is a habit I now like to cultivate as often as I can.
First, what is earthing?
The earth beneath your feet provides you with food and water. It gives you a surface to sit, stand, walk, run, swim, climb, play, and build on. It also provides you with something very surprising — electrons. When you touch the ground with your bare feet or body, the electrons flow into you. This is called being grounded.
The earth’s surface has a virtually limitless supply of mobile electrons that gives the ground we walk on (as well as lakes and oceans) a natural negative electric charge. When your body is in direct contact with the ground, it dissipates static electricity and extraneous environmental electrical charges that accumulate in you. At the same time, you receive a charge of energy in the form of free electrons and your body synchronizes with the natural frequencies of the earth.
Staggering health benefits for such a simple practice
Walking barefoot on grass, sand or soil has been proven to increase antioxidants, reduce inflammation and pain, reduce stress levels, improve sleep and improve circulation of the blood. Other studies have shown that it can rewire the brain in significant and positive ways. Research has also shown that earthing can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. More holistically, earthing is about synchronising with the earth’s natural energies, which in modern society we tend to forget about.
How do I ground myself?
I walk barefoot as much as possible and pretty much spend most of my day barefoot — also taking barefoot walks in the garden. It takes at least a half an hour of exposure to the earth to access significant health benefits, so I recommend a minimum of thirty minutes of barefoot time outdoors daily, if possible. I have recently also started hiking barefoot. In fact, many professional athletes sleep grounded, as it reduces pain and facilitates quicker recovery for sore muscles.
Our feet are designed for varied terrain, but hard-soled shoes and unvaryingly flat walking surfaces offer them little stimulation or opportunity for development. Our feet are therefore much smaller and not as strong as they should be. Walking barefoot has meant that my feet hurt less and I am no longer flat footed as I have allowed the anatomy of my feet to develop. My feet are much wider now too, allowing them to work in a far more biomechanically efficient way. Walking barefoot has meant that I have also changed the way in which I walk. My foot lands almost flat. It rolls through the step, and the toes push off. Humans walked this way for millennia. Research suggests this style puts less stress on the knees.
I have also switched to wearing Vivobarefoot shoes or similar, more affordable options (Skinners, LXSO) which I purchase on Amazon. They promote your foot’s natural strength and movement. Allowing you to feel the ground beneath your feet.
Multiply the benefits of walking by going barefoot
Whether you choose to reconnect by walking or running barefoot, or by using barefoot substitutes, reconnecting to the Earth’s subtle energy is easy, safe, and simple to do. I think we would be hard-pressed to find a better win-win situation. By walking, we exercise our muscles and cardiovascular system, improve our mental health, reduce stress and support our overall wellness. Simply taking our shoes off seems to multiply those benefits.
If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, read any of the following or visit https://earthinginstitute.net/research/ to read additional peer-reviewed, published studies examining the health benefits of earthing.
1. Grounding after moderate eccentric contractions reduces muscle damage.
Brown R, Chevalier G, Hill M.
Open Access J Sports Med. 2015 Sep 21;6:305–17. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S87970.
2. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R.J Inflamm Res. 2015 Mar 24;8:83–96. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S69656.
3. The effect of grounding the human body on mood. Chevalier G.Psychol Rep. 2015 Apr;116(2):534–42. doi: 10.2466/06.PR0.116k21w5.
4. Earthing (grounding) the human body reduces blood viscosity-a major factor in cardiovascular disease. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Delany RM.J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):102–10. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0820.
5. Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P.J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:291541. doi: 10.1155/2012/291541. Review.
6. The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress. Ghaly M, Teplitz D.J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Oct;10(5):767–76.