Bart Rademaker, MD
80% of the worlds population does not wear shoes. However it is considered a sign of civilization to be wearing shoes and poverty if you don’t. The Romans considered articles of clothing a sign of power and footwear as a necessity of civilized life. Whilst the Greeks, Hindus and Egyptians found very little need for shoes. The Olympic games and the battles of Alexander The Great were all done barefoot. But over time – as civilization rose in Europe, new forms of footwear developed: pattens and chopines all to elevate the social status – in fact royalty in the 16th Century used high heels to appear larger than life
There are no actual laws that mandate the use of shoes but it is expected none the less.
So what are really the benefits of wearing shoes? Excepting for some protection against cuts and abrasions and the possibility of parasites – there are none. In fact wearing shoes can lead to higher incidences of osteoporosis, knee problems, flat feet, bunions and callouses. Whereas being barefoot leads to a natural gait, studies also show that humans had healthier feet prior to the invention of shoes.
Clearly civilization is not always good for us. Our bodies were never designed to wear shoes. Going barefoot is also part of the natural healing process. The earth surface has a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free electrons which can positively affect the bioelectric matrix within us. this anti oxidant and anti inflammatory affect on the body results in many health benefits. As the internal bioelectric milieu is normalized, all body functions can be affected, and has been scientifically proven.
The practice of walking barefoot on natural ground is known as earthing. Research has shown benefits in many areas of body functioning. Getting grounded by going barefoot on natural surfaces is essential for your healing and our wellness. This process of balancing the bioelectric matrix within your body is only part of the benefits you get from walking. The act of walking itself in nature has a multitude of other obvious benefits from a cardiovascular standpoint to a mental and spiritual one. Taking the time to connect with nature and with self, to simplify, and then to oxygenate and exercise the body will generate a solid foundation of personal wellness.
Optimizing the bioelectric matrix through earthing specifically affects the following:
moderated heart rate variability,
decreased blood viscosity by increasing the surface charge of blood cells and reduces clumping
improved glucose regulation,
endocrine and nervous systems.
sleep disturbances, including sleep apnea
Chronic muscle and joint pain, and other types of pain
Asthmatic and respiratory conditions
Immune system activity and response
Heart rate variability
Primary indicators of osteoporosis
So, define civilized? It is the socially, culturally or humanely correct way to be. Or according to the dictionary, to civilize is to bring out of savagery. Perhaps using footwear is not so civilized for our body.