Are Your Shoes Killing You?

Family, Self

Changes that have happened over the last decades that have negatively impacted your health

Inflammation is a vaguely specific word in medicine. It is specific in the sense that it applies to anything which causes the body to do extra work and/or is a tax on every system in the body. It is vague in the sense that literally too much of just about anything can cause inflammation. The usual culprits for inflammation are bad diet, lack of nutrients (not mutually exclusive with the first), stressful lifestyle, and poor sleep habits. To make it more “elusive” and hard to pin point, inflammation in the body can manifest as just about any symptoms; gas, bloating, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, neuropathy, dementia, high cholesterol, or angina to name a few. 

As we have developed as a society, we have strayed away from some of the simplest things in the name of progress, fashion, and simplicity. Kids put shoes on as soon as they wake up to go to school. Then you have recess and after school activities that all have shoes required. Adults are even worse because our outside of work activities don’t involve recess and sports. If we are lucky, we get an hour at the gym and our after work activities probably include happy hour. For both of these situations we are practically 100% removed from the surface of the Earth the entire day. Our cars have rubber tires. Our shoes have synthetic soles. Our buildings are insulated. We truly live on the Earth and don’t interact with it. 

Now why am I blaming shoes? They aren’t the only culprit but they are one of the easiest changes to make. When you look back at indigenous people and earlier civilizations, the foot protection they wore, if any, was made from a leather sole. Our shoes now have a synthetic rubber sole. This impedes the flow of electrons. You can search on PubMed and find peer reviewed articles that explain the science of why our body needs to have contact with the Earth. This isn’t a hippy-dippy concept, it has been shown what happens when we can plant our bare feet on the ground daily. Now I am not saying we need to sleep on the ground, I love my bed more than most and as far as camping goes…let’s just say I’m more of a glam-per. But it does point out some very simple changes we can be making. Do I want you to go hiking barefoot in the Sonoran Desert? No. Should we spend our morning drinking our coffee outside with our bare feet in the grass before we start our crazy day? Probably not a bad idea. 

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I’m not saying this is a cure all for every malady in our world, but I do think it highlights how connected to the Earth we need to be. If we can slow down, be more intentional, and actively connect to the world we just might find ourselves able to handle more stress with less side effects.