i’ve spent a good part of the last 9 years of my life and career as a Reflexology Therapist researching barefoot lifestyle and overall improvement of health.
it would almost seem inconsequential that what we put on our feet (or not) could have a direct correlation to our health, but it’s absolutely true! just like what you put into your body as fuel has a direct impact on internal function. anyway that we constrict the natural movements and functions of our body will have a direct and negative impact on our overall health.
firstly, let me say that I’m not expecting you suddenly rip off your pointy toed heels and run marathons skin to pavement. in fact, this is the worst thing you can do to your feet. following accounts like @thefootcollective will help you educate yourself on the proper way to transition to a more barefoot type lifestyle.
so how does a barefoot lifestyle affect respiration and reduce stress response?
firstly, the very act of walking barefoot – unshod foot against natural surfaces – allows our body to become grounded with the earth which naturally starts a process of awareness of the body and it’s needs. your breath will immediately and subconsciously become deeper and longer. your shoulders will naturally disengage from your chin and will roll back to allow for deeper respiration.
over time, as you spend more time in barefoot platform shoes or unshod entirely, your toes will begin to retake their natural splayed form. look at a babies foot. the toes are naturally wider than any other part of the foot, there are no toes pointed inward or tucked underneath other toes there are no hammer toes or bunions on babies. just a beautiful natural fan of toes crowning the entire foot.
that space between the toes – and listen to me here – that space between your toes actually expands your lung capacity and allows for deeper breath AND actually puts more time between your thoughts!
so in your quest to manage the stress response in your body, in addition to all the things we discussed in parts 1-4 of this series, consider spending more time barefoot… particularly in nature or on natural surfaces.