I just returned from the Oregon coast and so enjoyed long walks on the beach, barefoot and free. It’s amazing to me the effort it takes to move through the sand. It’s so good for the muscles and bones to get that deep, intrinsic work.
Did you know 25% of all the bones and muscles in your body are in your feet? Another 25% can be found in your hands. Your hands and feet are precision instruments. We acknowledge this about our hands because they are busy all day long: creating, typing, pruning, weeding, cooking, chopping, and on and on. Most verbs are connected to hands- many more verbs than are with foot movements like stomp, slide, dance, etc.
Barefoot is Best
One of the biggest travesties of modern society is the way that we keep our feet sheathed and sheltered by shoes. Feet need input. They are unhappy without it. In fact, Einstein, one of the smartest guys we know in modern society, would take breaks throughout the day, barefoot. He would walk around for at least ten minutes, and make his feet sense and feel different surfaces and temperatures. This practice is important for stretching and moving the bones of the foot. He believed that this practice awakened his brain, allowing him to focus and think better once he headed back to the lab.
If you are familiar with reflexology, you know that an entire map of the body can be found in the feet, hands, and ears. (The eyes, too, but that is iridology.) The instep of the foot is the “spine line”. So many clients think I have mystical powers of perception when I feel their feet, particularly the instep, and ask them if they have pain in their ribs or lower back because of the tight spots I feel in their feet. When your “dogs” are hurting, it’s hard for anything else in the body to feel all right.
It’s easy to get happy feet, and you don’t have to take time away from anything else you might do on a normal day. Do you sit down to eat? Ever watch any movies or TV? If you are sitting, (even for work) why not treat your feet to an Epsom salt soak complete with essential oils, and some smooth and not so smooth stones that you use to provide some proprioception to the feet.
Proprioception, simply put, is the sense that lets us perceive the location, movement and action of parts of the body. When your feet are held in shoes, they can only feel the inside of the shoe. This gets really boring for the brain, so it just stops feeling the feet. And, when it stops feeling, you have to hit the ground harder and harder for the brain to know you are walking. I know it sounds wonky, but it’s how it works. Going barefoot, even if it is just inside, will do so much for your feet. Stretch them, massage them, and expose them to different surfaces and experiences. They will love you for it. Feet that get locked into shoes are feet that will be in pain, guaranteed.
And, one more treat for your feet: Check out this video where I will detail some massage moves you can add to that foot soak treatment I mentioned up there. So, get out there, and give your feet some experience. Dance barefoot. Walk in the grass. Take baby steps, starting where you can and working your way up. Your feet are so adaptable. Remember what it was like to be a kid and walk on rocks and not even feel it. You can get back there again, and the initial discomfort will be an investment that pays you back in bountiful returns of strength and ease in your feet vs. the pain and strain that is the expected norm. Don’t accept this.
May your tootsies enjoy some free time this beautiful summer!
Love People. Love Vitality.