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Barefoot is Better! Modern Day Shoes Unhealthy

by Paul Fassa Health Impact News

What if you discovered that walking barefoot not only saves your children’s feet from poor foot formation as they grow, but also helps improve overall health for them and you as an adult? There have been several studies supporting both areas of concern.

It’s gotta be the shoes, right? That was a line in a circa 1989 humorous Nike commercial where avid basketball fan and film director Spike Lee was confronting Michael Jordan on where he got his vaunted basketball abilities.

But when it comes to poor podiatry health in our culture, it is the shoes, and it isn’t so funny.

From a review published in Pediatrics, August 1991, VOLUME 88 / ISSUE 2 by the Department of Orthopedics, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle; and Department of Orthopedics, University of Washington, Seattle, comes the following abstract commentary:

  1. Optimum foot development occurs in the barefoot environment.

  2. The primary role of shoes is to protect the foot from injury and infection.

  3. Stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness, and loss of mobility.

  4. The term “corrective shoes” is a misnomer.

  5. Shock absorption, load distribution, and elevation are valid indications for shoe modifications.

  6. Shoe selection for children should be based on the barefoot model.

  7. Physicians should avoid and discourage the commercialization and “media”-ization of footwear. Merchandising of the “corrective shoe” is harmful to the child, expensive for the family, and a discredit to the medical profession. (Source) In an article published in the October 2002 edition of Podiatry Management, revered podiatrist Dr. William Rossi proclaimed that the notion of foot problems from wearing unusually poor fitting or outgrown shoes was misguided because almost all shoes for children are and have been inappropriately designed footwear for children.

Most shoes, even those designed to give more support for young children and toddlers, are not designed to match the foot’s natural design. Dr. Rossi’s basic premise is that most footwear causes most foot problems. He died at the age of 93 in 2003, but his legacy continues through his writings that have enlightened others with the details of why most shoes don’t match the mechanical needs of our feet.

As we grow older, the more fashionable the shoes, the worse the mismatch. Almost all shoes do not have the same flex point as our feet. That and other factors cause internal foot malformation and malfunction.

Children’s footwear today is made, fitted and sold by the same naïve rules as a half-century and more ago. (…) The consequences? No shoe-wearing American or European adult owns a normal or unspoiled foot anatomically or functionally.

By “normal” or “natural” is meant in comparison to the pristine feet among the estimated one billion people of the world that go through life unshod. Dr. William Rossi (Source) Biomechanist Katy Bowman, author of the book Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear may have come across some of Dr. Rossi’s writings herself.

Her approach is more positive. She slips through accepted footwear and barefoot extremist perspectives, finding points where both sides are right and delivers a guide to a gradual transition to minimal footwear, not necessarily smaller, but more able to mimic natural foot movement and flexing while offering some protection.

More importantly, she explains most shoes create poorly developed feet, which also affects our spinal and pelvic alignments that in turn can create other seemingly unconnected health issues.

Both Bowman and Rossi point out the complexity of the foot’s structure. One human foot contains 26 bones; 33 joints; more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. With both feet, the amount of bones contained are about one-fourth of all the bones in the human body. (Source)

Even the foot’s arch is oversimplified. It is not one solid piece of material, but several bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons with their full natural strength and flexibility combining to form an arch. Shoe arches are misplaced and shoe bound feet can easily form “flat feet.”

Using flat shoes helps minimize the damage. The current healthy shoe movement is toward “minimal footwear.”

Shoes Also Hinder Our Energetic Energy Connection With Earth

The recent attention to “earthing” or “grounding,” by walking or standing barefoot for better general health and mood elevation is not just woo-woo new age stuff. It’s based on the scientific understanding of subtle energies that exist on the earth and in and around our bodies, such as the Chi energy stimulated by Tai-Chi, Chi-Gong, and acupuncture.

Biophysicist James Oschman, Ph.D., author of the book Energy Medicine:The Scientific Basis, sums up Earthing this way:

The moment your foot touches the Earth, or you connect to the Earth through a wire, your physiology changes. An immediate normalization begins.

And an anti-inflammatory switch is turned on. People stay inflamed because they never connect with the Earth, the source of free electrons which can neutralize the free radicals in the body that cause disease and cellular destruction. Earthing is the easiest and most profound lifestyle change anyone can make. (Source) The average electromagnetic resonance of the cavity between earth and its ionosphere was calculated by Winfried Otto Schumann in the early 1950s at 7.83 Hz (Hertz), which is why it’s referred to as the Schumann resonance. (Source)

Hertz numbers indicate electromagnetic pulses or cycles per second, so 7.83 Hz is a very low frequency. Most radio and internet values are represented by thousands and millions of Hertz per second, as in kHz (kilohertz), MHz (Megahertz), and even GHz (Gigahertz), billions of cycles per second.

A few years later, during the 1960s and 70s, Alpha brain waves were recorded by EEG devices in the ranges of 8 to 12 Hz, corresponding to the area of Schumann resonance. Alpha brain waves indicate a zone of relaxed comfort, mindfulness, and potential creativity. (Source)

The point is there is more to earth’s energetic potential than meets the eye. A lot of it is invisible, yet we can connect to earth for subtle energy or electrical nourishment by physically directly connecting the body to earth.

This has become a subject of scientific interest as various studies demonstrate the connection to earthing or grounding are stimulating and strengthening our Alpha waves. Holistic cardiologist Stephen Sintra, M.D., was involved in a study that proved earthing was beneficial to heart health by maintaining steady heartbeats and reducing inflammation. (Study text)

Another paper that involved Dr. Sinatra and others reviewed earthing practices of standing or walking barefoot outdoors or connecting bare skin to grounding devices indoors and reported several positive outcomes.

Improved sleep, less effects of stress on the adrenal system, reduced pain, (and significantly appropriate for our current Smart Meter, WiFi and cell phone culture: the reduction of electrical fields within the body were observed in their review of grounding or earthing practices). All these improvements easily translate into improved immunity and overall health. (Source)

Of course shoes, especially our modern use of rubber for shoe soles, block our connection to the earth’s electrical energy. This is why some barefoot standing and walking should be practiced as often as possible.

There are indoor mats and conductors that can create a grounding effect as well but some require being plugged into our AC current circuits which operate at 60 Hz in the USA and 50 Hz in several other countries. The downside is that harmful dirty electricity generation and household WiFi systems may dampen the positive effects of indoor artificial earthing.

This downside can be greatly reduced by shutting off WiFi modems, for periods of time or completely, and using direct cables to modems, the old fashion way. The dirty electricity can be greatly reduced by a Graham Stetzer (GS) filter, demonstrated in the video below.

The importance of earthing is more profound today because of our WiFi, smart meter, and cell phone culture. The effects of EMF (electromagnetic frequency) pollution are being researched and the current situation is more hazardous to our overall health and sanity than most scientists admit.

This situation is only becoming worse with every new electronic development pushed into service without testing its potential adverse effects. It’s more subtle than our toxic chemical pollution from thousands of new chemicals introduced and applied in our society without determining human hazards.

But we have a very simple solution to this crisis of overly abundant high frequency electrical energy that invades our body’s subtle energies, brains and nervous systems – going barefoot in the park, or on the beach, or in your yard, often. Even barefoot on sidewalks works.

Simple solutions to a complex situation.

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