THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL FEET!
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
In the last few years my Reflexology practice changed in a very surprising way. Although a lot of my clients looked for treatment to help with stress and anxiety, an alarming amount of people also complained with foot pain that interfered with their ability to exercise or even to go for a walk.
Leonardo Da Vince once said "The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”.
Understanding the reasons why we should restore the function and sensitivity of our feet can change our view on health and pain. This blog is meant to empower everyone to take this simple life change to greatly improve quality of life. Will it fix everything? Probably not, but it will give you a fighting chance.
So why are feet so important?
1. Feet are our only connection to the ground.
"The longest journey begins with a single step" - Lao Tsu
Although we're not the only mammal on earth capable of walking only on 2 feet, we are the most efficient doing it. As soon as other bipedal mammals need to run or move faster, they usually revert back to all 4's locomotion.
Not us. We developed a unique set of skeletal and muscular changes that allow us to move efficiently and with exceptional endurance while maintaining our two-legged locomotion for both walking and running.
Appreciate how wonderful it is to know that your feet will take you to where you need to be.
2. Feet are the foundation for all our body weight while standing... and moving...
"Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise." - Carrie Latet
Your whole body sits in 2 relatively small structures with 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments. This is a masterpiece of biomechanics.
When we walk, 60% of the time both feet are on the ground, but the other 40% we are balancing on 1 leg.
When we run, things get ever more interesting. Depending on cadence, around 30% of the time (float phase) you're not even touching the ground, while the rest of the time only one foot touches the ground.
Imagine the complexity of coordination of all the foot structures needed not only to propel you forward but also to keep you from falling over.
3. Feet inform our brain of where we are in relation to the ground.
"With thousands of plantar receptors, the foot is also a proprioceptive-rich structure, containing thousands of small nerves that are sensitive to every subtle movement we make" - Dr. Emily Splichal
Have you ever sat on your feet just to realize they were numb as soon you tried to take a step? How did that feel? Could you feel the ground? Did it change your walking gait?
Have you ever noticed older people looking at their feet while walking? Or holding on to something in an attempt to feel safe while moving?
Feet are extremely rich in small nerves whose purpose is to give the rest of the body the information it needs about the ground we're standing on. The faster the foot feels the ground, the faster and more efficiently our whole body reacts to cooperate for balance and locomotion.
The ability to feel the ground (hardness, texture, inclination...) will not only interfere with our ability to move but also with the ability to feel safe in the environment we're in. Can you see how the use (or inactivity) of the plantar nerves can also have a role in our emotional state?
4. Feet allow us to absorb the earth's the earth's electrons when we walk barefoot.
"The Earth itself is the original anti-inflammatory. And the planet itself is the biggest electron donor on the planet." - Clinton Ober
What happens when you take your shoes off on the green or at the beach? The two main science-backed benefits of Earthing are: Reduced Inflammation and Regulation of the Circadian Rhythm.
Look at it this way.
The atmosphere has a positive electric charge and the ground has a negative electric charge.
The human body is regulated by the nervous system and the endocrine (hormone) system. These systems regulate body processes through chemical and electrical signals that pass between cells.
When we can't balance our electric charge (through the use of rubber sole shoes that insolate us from the ground), our body has trouble regulating itself and our immune system pays the bill. Chronic Inflammation is one of the biggest problems we can face when we stop going barefoot on natural terrain.
5. Feet help us heal and restore.
"If you're feeling out of kilter, don't know why or what about about, let your feet reveal the answer, find the sore spot, work it out" - Eunice Ingham
Eunice Ingham was the first to realize that foot restrictions could cause problems in the upper body health and upper body weakness could also also translate into foot imbalances.
With all the points mentioned above, it's easy to understand the benefits of treatments like Reflexology, Restoration the foot's natural shape and function or even just going for a mindful walk. When it comes to health, feet are usually far from our minds unless they hurt. The truth is, feet can be a powerful ally in healing and maintaining health.
If your foot can feel every subtle movement we make and can activate and recruit the whole body every time it touches the ground, imagine its role in blood circulation, muscle tone, lymph drainage.....
If the foot is allowed to work the way it was designed to work:
by being strong and naturally shaped vs weak and shoe shaped
by being allowed to feel the ground (being barefoot or wearing a thin sole shoe)
by touching natural terrain for at least 30 min daily,
we'll be giving our body a powerful tool for the activation of the body's natural ability to self-heal.
Awareness and education on the power of having Natural Feet will help you build your health from the ground-up. Give it a try and I promise you won't regret it. I did it, and I never looked back.