The Benefits of Bare Feet

August 24, 2010

How things have changed! When I was a child the most important part of the summer was being allowed to go barefoot. Once school ended we would take off our shoes and they wouldn’t go back on until fall. Ah, country life, you say! Actually no, I grew up in the city and aside from the occasional foray across neighborhood lawns we were walking on cement sidewalks. Apparently this didn’t hurt me at all because at 60 plus I have great feet; no corns, bunions fallen arches, plantar fasciitis or any number of horrendous things that can make walking a pain. Having said that, I’m sure that all of the Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® work I’ve done has helped but I believe that it was the bare feet that made the greatest difference.

Why have we grown so adverse to shedding our shoes? The big shoe companies are making billions while our feet are becoming weaker and less functional. You have to understand that the most sensitive receptors we have are in our feet and when we walk bare foot these receptors are stimulated. They help us to adapt to the structure of the ground and to any obstacles that might get in our way. The more stimulation they receive, the stronger and more adaptable our feet become. It also plays a significant role in developing balance. Apparently it's never too late to improve. I recently heard about an 83 year old woman whose eye sight had deteriorated and she was having difficulty navigating around her house. She decided to try bare foot walking in the house and immediately felt more secure (prior to that the slipperiness of her indoor shoes had made walking hazardous). Young children should also be given lots of opportunities to go bare foot in order to stimulate the development of the bones, muscles and tendons that build the foundation for standing and walking.

The following video is the 1 or 4 that shows Dr. Chava Shelhav, a Feldenkrais practitioner from Israel, working with Jasmine whose ability to walk was impaired by brain damage. Chava is helping her discover her feet and legs.

The second video is in fact the 4th in the series; by this time Jasmine is learning to stand and shift her weight in preparation for walking. Of course she has bare feet!

If you have any questions or comments visit me, as feldylady on Twitter or on my Facebook page under Sandra Bradshaw. 








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