In this guest blog by Franziska Maria Cecchetti-Pretsch we talk about the benefits of being barefoot and grounding.
Whenever I start talking about my love for being barefoot, I get very different reactions from people.
Often children and teenagers think it’s really cool and funny :-) And they are also very willing to try it out with me.
But the reactions from adults are often different. Some find it weird, some react very negative, but some are also very intrigued and want to find out more about it.
It’s of course not a new concept at all. Our ancestors were mostly barefoot or only had thin sandals on when they were walking and running over long distances. They were hunting and moving barefoot all the time. And in some tribes in the world they still only go barefoot or have only thin sandals to protect their soles. Also when we are born, we have the skill from the start to walk and run barefoot. When you observe young children and see them walking and running, they have a perfect way of using their bare feet and find balance and strength in it. They use all the correct muscles in their feet and receive feedback from the ground. But as soon as we put shoes on, our feeling for the ground changes and gets lost.
But first of all a few words about our feeling when we go barefoot. Physically it means taking your shoes off and walking with bare soles on the ground. Some people feel very vulnerable about taking their shoes off. Not just that they might hurt their feet, but also because they don’t like the look of their feet and feel uncomfortable showing them. So for me as a Life Coach and Systemic Facilitator, being barefoot also has an emotional component. But let’s talk first about the health benefits that being barefoot brings.
There is first of all the exchange that we are having between our bodies and the electrons of the earth when we are barefoot. The planet has its own natural charge and we are positively influenced when we have direct contact with it. Studies show how this can have a positive impact on for example our immune system, reducing pain in the body or the quality of our sleep. This of course requires us to walk barefoot on natural ground and sometimes in times like winter or cold weather, it can be more difficult to do so.
But there are other benefits to walking barefoot even in the house. Your foot’s position has better control of your movements and balance when it touches the ground. Your brain gets an improvement in neural input from the receptors in your muscles and joints which lead to a better awareness of your body’s position in space and may even reduce pain. Walking barefoot regularly keeps all the joints, muscles and ligaments working and maintains strength, stability and range of movement in the foot and ankle. A proper foot function can also benefit the knees, hips and back because all of them are part of a chain of movement. So there is less of a chance to develop problems from ill-fitting shoes and how this impacts your feet.
And it doesn’t stop here. I want to at least briefly talk about the emotional benefits of being barefoot too that I have observed in my own work with people as a Life Coach and Systemic Facilitator. For me being barefoot is just part of who I am. I love the feeling of strength and support I get when I walk with bare feet on earth. And now it feels weird for me to have shoes on, not the other way round. I feel cut off from my stable ground in shoes. As I am also a runner, I know that my feet and legs are a lot stronger and more flexible when I walk barefoot to recover from running. And now I even run barefoot or in running sandals and it has taken my running to another level.
In my work with clients I have experienced amazing changes in their approach to life when they explore being barefoot, physically and emotionally. When we start taking the shoes off that cover us up and that might not properly fit us anymore, we experience fear, but also a feeling of freedom and boundlessness. Step by step we can stand more on our own feet and feel the benefits of connecting to our balance and strength that comes with it. Emotionally barefoot for me means showing honestly and openly how we feel and re-discovering who we are and who we were before we took on expectations and restrictions from the world around us. It’s always wonderful to watch how people suddenly have a more liberating feeling in their lives and how they are able to explore new options and possibilities that are opening for them as they feel more freedom.
So this is just a brief description of the benefits of being barefoot in your life, physically and emotionally. Maybe you are already keen to walk barefoot at certain times in your life. Or maybe you have never even considered how it might be to take your shoes off and feel the ground under your feet. Wherever you are on your journey, I hope you found reading the above article interesting and it has inspired you to try out being more barefoot in your daily life. If you have any questions about it or comments, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Barefoot Blessings, Franziska