Step Into Well-being: How Walking Barefoot Connects You to Earth’s Healing Powers

Do you remember that one person who walked everywhere barefoot, even during winter? As odd as it may have seemed, it turns out they might have been on to something. New research is showing that walking barefoot in nature, a practice known as earthing, carries a variety of health benefits. From increased antioxidant levels to improved sleep, earthing has evolved from a counter-culture trend to a researched and proven practice that can aid in boosting overall well-being.

Earthing: Connecting with nature

Walking barefoot on natural surfaces like soil, grass, or sand facilitates a connection between our bodies and the earth’s electrons. The earth has a natural charge, and our well-being seems to improve when we are in direct contact with it.

Numerous studies have been conducted to demonstrate the health benefits of earthing. One review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health collated the findings of various studies which showed that drawing electrons from the earth improves overall health. In one study, chronic pain patients using grounded carbon fiber mattresses reported better sleep and reduced pain. Other research discovered that earthing changed the electrical activity in the brain, skin conductivity, heart rate variability, and glucose regulation. Additionally, it reduces stress and improves immunity.

Furthermore, one study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine discovered that earthing increases the surface charge of red blood cells, helping prevent them from clumping together and decreasing blood viscosity. High viscosity is a major factor in heart disease, which explains why many individuals take blood-thinning aspirin every day to maintain good heart health.

Reaping the benefits through walking

Even without the proven benefits of walking barefoot, taking frequent walks in nature is greatly beneficial. Engaging in regular walking, even just half an hour per day, can lead to a reduced cancer risk, improved cardiovascular health, moderated weight, and diabetes prevention. Additionally, walking enhances blood oxygenation, circulation, immune response, and the removal of toxins while also relieving stress.

While walking on an indoor treadmill at a local gym can also provide many of these benefits, opting for an outdoor, natural environment increases the mental health gains received from walking. Walking in nature allows for being in the moment and enjoying the present rather than just trying to achieve a goal. Plus, the beautiful landscape and fresh, oxygen-rich air prove far more refreshing than stale gym odors and television screens.

Walking also creates physical and emotional rhythms. It is a gentle and nourishing activity, giving us space and allowing us to process the day’s events. Just a light stroll releases endorphins, and as the walk progresses, our breathing starts to synchronize with our movements. This synchronization leads to a sense of expansion and freedom, ultimately transforming walking into a healing activity that removes stress and improves mental and emotional well-being.

A step back in time, barefooted

Walking delivers a variety of benefits, from building strong muscles to improving mental health and decreasing stress. Removing our shoes and connecting with the earth’s natural charge only enhances those benefits. This connection makes sense on an evolutionary level as humans have only recently distanced themselves from nature. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back, barefoot, and reconnect with the earth in the name of health and well-being.