Barefoot Benefits

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By KRISTI DORIAN

DSCF8444Worry washes away with each pounding wave 
Stress slips through the sand with every footstep
Fear fades fast with each foraging fingertip 
In the lake, in the sand and in the soil 
We are renewed

 

One wintry February afternoon, I discovered that walking barefoot in nature apparently has strong healing powers for my body. If you are a fellow Winnipegger, you may have guessed that I did not go out to walk through the gigantic, freezing snowbanks in my bare feet to test this theory out!

I was watching an episode of Dragon’s Den that I had missed. This Canadian TV program features people making business pitches to five possible investors. On this particular episode, Sue Kenney was pitching her product Barebottom Shoes. She stated that the sole-less “shoes” (nothing more than leather wrapped around your foot) connected you to the earth’s healing properties. She noticed better balance and a stronger body core as she walked and ran barefoot in her sole-less shoes.

Dave Chilton, a “Dragon” known for his “Wealthy Barber” books, asked Sue if her product was connected to a huge trend called earthing. I thought, “What the heck is earthing?  This sounds so Aquarian!” It had something to do with directly connecting to the earth’s energy – i.e., in your bare feet – which then affects your body’s electrons and theoretically improves your health.

The Dragons turned her down, but I got turned on to earthing.  Here’s what I discovered.  Earthing is the current catchy word to describe what I’ve always heard of as grounding.

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Whether walking the warm beaches of Puerto Vallarta (photo above) or frolicking in Lake Winnipeg waters, you’re lapping up the benefits of earthing.

Perhaps like me, you’ve heard phrases such as “get grounded,” “go hug a tree or something,” “walking barefoot in the sand feels SO good,” or “if you’re stressed out, go wiggle your toes in the grass.”  Perhaps you relax by getting your hands dirty in the garden, digging up weeds and sifting the rich dirt through your fingers?

Guess what? You’re earthing! It’s a direct physical interaction with the earth. Take off the rubber-soled shoes, take off the gloves and frolic in the earth’s natural environment. Or even take a long walk off a short pier! Okay, that might include taking your clothes off – but hey, whatever makes you feel good, right? Swimming in a natural body of water is another way to connect with Mother Earth and “go earthing.”

On Earthing Canada’s website, I read about earthing’s history.  A TV cable installer, Clint Ober, brought this idea forward in the late 1990s, to much skepticism. As I continued reading, the concept made total sense to me. Our shoes, cars and homes block the electrical flow between our bodies and the earth, causing illness.

I remember doing conductivity experiments in science class. I learned that rubber, plastic and paper don’t conduct electricity; they are insulators that block electrical current to varying degrees.

Stay in your car, with four rubber tires during a lightning storm, was safety advice I’ve heard related to conductivity.  As well, when your car needs a boost (another side-effect of living in a cold climate), I was taught to always have one of the cables attached to another part of the engine block away from the battery to ground the current and avoid sparks.

And of course, we all have some extension cords with a third-prong – that’s the grounding wire, so a buildup of static electricity or charge doesn’t damage our appliances and electrical devices. So it was an easy leap to the idea that rubber-soled shoes block the earth’s electrons from neutralizing some of the bad “charge” that builds up in our bodies.

Ober’s theory was that humans are living ungrounded for longer and longer periods of time and getting sicker. He wondered if there could be a correlation between the two. He spent years studying and researching the concept.

Earthing Canada clues us in on Ober’s theory on their website:

Ober knew that Earth’s electrical surface is made up of negatively charged electrons (also known as free electrons). These electrons have the ability to move more freely and reduce positive charges (free radicals).  Free radicals continue to ravage our bodies’ healthy cells in search of the one thing they are missing, an electron.  Once a free radical finds its missing electron; it is satiated and is no longer contributing to the inflammation in the body.  While many of us may grow to be “electron deficient,” we now understand that the earth below our feet is the greatest source of these electrons…if only we stay in contact with it. 

When we get connected and let those healing electrons in, our bodies start to normalize.

Some of the possible health benefits are:

• reduced inflammation

• better sleep

• less pain in general

• lower stress

• and more energy.

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Illustration by Ainsley Ashby-Snyder

Living in Winnipeg, it’s bad enough being locked in snow and ice five months every year. But my duplex neighbour’s dog poops in our yard all year round. I am not about to go walking barefoot out there or on our city boulevards either.

Earthing Canada to the rescue! On their website, my eyes were drawn to the tab labeled “Products.” Of course, I thought, there are earthing products for those very reasons – most people have limited opportunity to swim in the ocean or walk barefoot in the park. I should have guessed. My exploration continued.

Sheets? Mats? Body bands and patches? Shoes, of course! Several interesting products – something to plug in at home, in the car or at the office that connects you to the earth through your properly grounded wall outlet (not the shoes, that’s different “technology”).

You can also purchase your own grounding rod to stick in the earth yourself and set up.  The earth’s energy passes along the connection to the earthing product. When your body is in contact with the product, you start absorbing the earth’s electrons.  You can also buy an outlet checker if you’re unsure about your connections!

earthingbookThere’s more to discover – Clinton Ober with Stephen Sinatra, MD and Martin Zucker wrote a book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever, plus Debbie Whyte has a video link in her sidebar. At the very least I will take more opportunities this summer to walk on a sandy beach or swim in a lake.

Happy Earthing trails to you!

Aquarian publisher Kristi Dorian will find some time to wiggle her toes in the summer sand. She sure hopes you do too!

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