July 13, 2016

Dare to Go Bare this Summer

Dare to Go Bare this Summer
By: Tanya Kriesel
Dare to go bare this summer, barefoot that is. Explore the outdoors barefoot and gain the health benefits for your mind, body and soul through a sole connection with nature. 
When you walk barefoot on the Earth it is called Earthing or Grounding.  Scientists have studied the effects of Earthing on our health to explain why it feels so good to connect with nature barefoot.  Earthing has shown benefits in reducing pain, inflammation and blood pressure.  It can increase mental clarity, energy and muscle recovery.  The theory of why Earthing is good for our health is that it draws free electrons from the Earth into the body to help balance our total body health. Plus these electrons are probably the most powerful antioxidants available. Earthing is free, all natural, readily available, and environmentally safe. 
When you go barefoot not only are you connecting to the healing Earth energy you are also receiving a natural Reflexology treatment. Foot Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to reflex points on the foot to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal and restore health. The reflex points correlate to the more than 7,000 nerve endings on each foot that are connected to our organs, glands, and structures of the body. Reflexology has been likely practiced since Ancient Egyptian times.  There are numerous reflexology benefits: promotes relaxation, reduce pain, boosts circulation, improves digestion, eliminates toxins, and increases energy.  By walking barefoot in nature you are stimulating theses reflex points and in return improving your health.
Nature provides natural reflex tools to stimulate these points. One of my favorite barefoot adventures is after a long busy work day kicking off my shoes for a hike in the forest.  Instead of walking over the big tree roots along the path use it as a reflex tool.  Place your foot across the root.  Take a deep breath and allow your foot to sink deeper onto the root. By moving the foot in different directions you can massage reflex points on your feet. Be aware of the sensations and take note of any sensitivity, soreness or tightness you may feel.  Educate yourself about the Foot Reflexology diagram or simply download an image or App.  In reflexology these sensations relate to the stress level of the particular body part. By pressing on these points you may relieve blockages and congestion. The feet hold stories of your body’s health that can be told thru Reflexology. What are your feet telling you?
Barefoot walking also improves balance, posture and muscle tone.  Nature’s uneven terrain is an excellent natural obstacle course for your feet.  By going barefoot on uneven surfaces, the sensory inputs of the foot signal the brain to make subtle adjustments in your gait to improve balance, posture and tone your muscles throughout the entire body. Wearing shoes blocks these signals. We now know it is best to have pre-walkers go barefoot or wear flexible footwear to learn to walk. Why do we then stuff our feet in shoes for the rest of our life restricting the agility and health of our feet?
Another favorite summer destination to walk barefoot is the beach.  The warm sands are heavenly.  The cool waters are refreshing.  One fabulous thing about living in Wisconsin besides the beautiful natural landscapes is the surrounding big lakes and the many inland lakes. We have so many opportune places to go to soak in the healing powers of nature.  Next time you visit a beach instead of walking over the smooth beach stones, use them as foot massagers and reflex tools. Stand on the stones to massage the pad and the heel of the foot or use the sides of the stones to massage your toes.
In Asia, small smooth stones or cobblestones are used to create “Reflexology Paths” to stimulate the reflexes of the feet.  Many people make it part of their morning routine to walk these paths before work.  In 2005 Oregon Research Institute completed a study with findings that adults 60 or older who regularly walk on cobblestone surfaces showed lower blood pressure readings than those who walked on flat surfaces.
Adding a Reflexology Path to your landscape or garden area would provide aesthetic beauty and health benefits.  Our lawns are a perfect safe place to start practicing walking barefoot. 
Always use caution and common sense when going barefoot in nature.  Barefoot walk in places that are free from glass, sharp objects and poisonous plants.  Listen to your body’s ability and physical health before adventuring out barefoot.  Start slow your feet may be sensitive.  Study the Reflexology diagram.  Have fun and be mindful.  Also if you haven’t experienced a Reflexology treatment, seek out a trained Reflexology practitioner and give it a try.
Going barefoot isn’t just for babies learning to walk, rugged wilderness people or hippies.  Actually everyone can live a healthier life by connecting our soles to the energy from the Earth. Happy Earthing to all of you! 
For more information on Reflexology please visit CCM Wellness Center website www.ccmwellnesscenter.com or call 920-429- 2888.

Tanya is a Licensed Massage Therapist integrating craniosacral therapy, reflexology, massage techniques, gentle visceral manipulations and Reiki to help release the emotional and physical conditions, traumas and stress within the body. She is a practitioner at CCM Wellness Center.

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