By feeling the ground, people begin waking up the vestibular system (balance system) of the brain, stimulating new neural connections and remapping their minds for greater balance. For seniors this is critical, because one fall or hip fracture can lead to a gradual decline in health.
By going barefoot one begins to wake up new muscles, both for balance and support. Not only that, but if you look at a super-model’s legs, chances are she’s been walking barefoot at the beach, toning ALL of her leg muscles in the process.
The body works on the use it or lose it principle. Use something, you get to keep it. Don’t use it, and it atrophies. When people start going barefoot their feet reawaken and begin to strengthen again.
The corollary to this is less foot conditions.
As the feet strengthen, plantar fasciitis diminishes, foot neuromas go away, bunions begin to dissipate and other conditions such as hammertoes go away. Even the arthritic foot begins to slowly heal itself as it develops greater strength, flexibility, and blood flow.
Going barefoot not only wakes up long-dormant muscles of the feet and legs, but gets more blood flow to the feet and legs to get them going. This increased blood flow means less aches and pains, less varicose veins, and warmer feet and legs in the winter.
We’ve all learned an unhealthy habit, or pronounced pelvic-tilt from a lifetime spent in a traditional shoe. The typical running or walking shoe isn’t just a shoe, it’s a high-heel, sporting a heel of 1-2 inches (if not more) in height. To keep from falling over we’re forced to get our butts back and bend forward at the waist, straining our hamstrings, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and neck. It also puts a lot of force on our hips, knees and feet when we run. Once we’re out of a shoe we can begin to reverse this. By feeling the ground the nerve endings on the bottom of our feet begin to tell us that we’re leaning or tilting forward, or that we’re bending forward at the waist. With practice we run, walk, and even stand with better posture, more like a dancer or a model. Not only do we look better and get taller, but we greatly reduce all of the stress and strain on our bodies. And all without any additional work!
Kids get healthier.
With childhood diabetes and obesity, kids health is at an all-time low. And health begins with the feet. If you have strong feet you can walk, run, bike and more. But with weak painful feet, there’s no desire to exercise. The American Podiatric Medical Association now recommends keeping kids out of shoes for as long as possible, because they know shoes weaken and deform the feet. Keep them out of shoes and kids stay healthy. Not only that, but the act of feeling the ground strengthens their senses and helps remap the brain. According to Dr. Merzenich, one of the nation’s leading neuroplasticians, barefoot stimulation helps improve memory, focus, concentration, and overall intelligence too!
Decreased blood pressure.
Studies show that by stimulating the nerve endings on the bottom of the feet, we can decrease blood pressure and the parasympathetic (cortisol) fight or flight response of the body. In other words, we decrease stress and inflammation throughout the entire body.