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The Shoe: Potentially the Most Dangerous Modern Invention

Nearly twenty percent of our national expenditure is for healthcare expenses. Ten percent of that expense is for prescription medicine. This implies our country is suffering significant illness and we have an inability to prevent disease in the first place. In fact, we haven't healthcare at all; we have a failing #sickcare system. Many experts have suggested we are paying a steep price in terms of degeneration and illness as the result of our separation from Mother Nature.

True, experts are not in agreement about the cause of the increasing sickness in our country, but they all acknowledge that immune- and inflammation-related diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. Clinicians first recognized asthma as the rapidly rising health crisis, along with increasing hay fever and other common allergic reactions, such as eczema. Then food allergies grew exponentially. Today lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chronic pain are diagnosed two, three, or even four times more often than just decades previously. Interestingly, these findings are fairly limited to more highly developed countries.

Inflammation: An Overwhelmed Immune System

Autoimmune disorders are a dysfunction of the immune system, essentially our own body attacks our own cells, tissues, and organs. Rheumatoid arthritis, type one diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and endometriosis are all autoimmune diseases. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer are all linked to chronic inflammation. Age in itself is the result of #inflammation.

Genetics, poor diet, air pollution, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, environmental toxins, chronic stress and even living in a too sterile environment have all been identified as contributing factors to our country's declining health. More recently, more holistically minded practitioners and researchers are adding #disconnect to that list: a lost connection to our planet's natural flow of surface electrical energy and the #electron deficiency in our bodies as a result. The timeline of increasing illness related to inflammation and modern inventions that have separated us from the Earth supports this theory.

Naturally Earthed

For most every year humans have walked on this Earth, they've done so #barefoot. Our immune system has evolved through these years, and only more recently have scientists appreciated our modern living rituals as potentials for disrupting the Earth's role in stabilizing our electrical energy, ultimately creating an imbalance in our otherwise naturally grounded state. The bigger question seems to be, has our immune system and even our nervous system stopped functioning properly because we have insulated ourselves from #grounding, or #earthing? Do our shoes disconnect us from a relationship designed to support our vitality?

Experiments in German, where volunteers were kept in underground rooms without connection to the Earth in anyway, demonstrated catastrophic effects until electric rhythms comparable to the Earth's surface were pulsed into the metal shielding around the underground chambers. These studies at the Max Planck Institute included hundreds of participants over many years. Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Martin Zucker share in their book, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? states, "Normal rhythms in the body establish a stable reference point for repair, recovery, and rejuvenation - in short, for full health" (2010, p 17).

Are Shoes the Problem?

Shoes are a large part of our culture. What you wear on your feet may even be dictated by your profession. It is certainly influenced by your sense of design, your fashion preferences, maybe even your connection to a particular shoe brand; however, much of the time we are wearing shoes without any real reason that serves our feet. Podiatrists have differing opinions with many claiming one should never go without proper shoe support. Others claim shoe-people don't understand feet and foot-care people don't understand shoes. It has been said that a natural gait is bio-mechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person to achieve, "yet with the invention of one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot" (Ober et al, 2010, p 18).

The soles of our feet are also the source of more nerve endings than anywhere else on our body of comparable size, more than 1,400 nerve endings per square inch. We were created to feel and have contact with the Earth. Walking barefoot is a sensory experience necessary for optimal health; however, the bottoms of our footwear are virtually deadening. Consider that we have several layers that separate us from the earth, with the outsole, midsole, insole filler material, footbed, cushioning, and sockliner. This is a complete knockout of sensory response to the planet. Rubber, plastic, and even petrochemical compounds are all insulators from the earth; whereby leather, if one must, is likely the most conductive of all foot material.

A book written in the late 80s, The Sex Life of the Foot and the Shoe, discusses the foot as having an abundance of "sexual nerves" and historically was considered an important aspect of one's fertility. The foot has such great sensation, the author claims, that "every moment of standing or walking involves sensory contact with the ground" and these erotic sensations "can be aroused by the touch of the Earth, grace, wind, air, sun, sand, and water." Admittedly, I can't deny it. Stepping into the warm sand or dipping my feet into a cool pond always arouses an awe-inspiring moment.

Beyond the #shoe, the homes we live in and the buildings within which we work are also great insulators from the Earth's electrons. Where are you spending most of your time? How many layers separate you from the Earth? Beds have evolved as well. A third of our lives are spent in bed, which would have been on the ground in generations past. Rumor tells that there are still cave dwellers, like 40 million of them, in the mountainous north-central China region. They live surrounded by the Earth, acquiring its energy, and according to rumor, do so while watching cable television. Indigenous cultures still prefer to sleep on the ground, either on skins or grasses, anything but a thick, toxic-ridden mattress.

Relationship to Mother Earth

Eating well, sleeping sufficiently, eliminating toxic relationships, and moving optimally are all important aspects of healthy living, but might our relationships with Mother Earth among the utmost of important? Think about our animal kingdom. Those that live in shelters or in buildings have greater difficulty keeping themselves warm on cooler nights. Pets that live more inside with their masters have more veterinary visits.

Walk into the wilderness. Find a grassy area and step into it barefoot. Expose as much of your body to the Earth as often as you are able, on a regular basis. Find natural water, a lake, stream or the ocean and get into it. Sit in the garden. Lean on the trunk of a tree. Create a nature garden. During the pandemic, I created a nature area in the back yard for the Littles. I gathered as many logs and tree stumps from the city compost that I could carry and carved out a section of our yard, adding a rock area and sand box. There is also a table and chairs for pouring tea. I've added a number of kid-friendly plants and we invited butterflies we grew from eggs. Connect yourself and see if you gain more positive energies from it.

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