Sunday, September 24, 2017

Introduction to Barefoot Walking and Running Workshop

Welcome to Something positive for your feet, your joints (and your wallet): Join the barefoot revolution!

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The Most Important Advice.
 As with any type of new activity for the body, go gradually to allow the feet and legs to adapt. 

Remember that while muscles, tendons, and nerves adapt relatively quickly, skin will adapt more slowly and bones and ligaments more slowly still. Also bear in mind that recovery from injury may proceed at a different pace - while nerves may adapt quickly, they recover from injury slowly.

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Minimalist Footwear

You can spend $100s of dollars on so-called minimalist footwear. There are lots of ideas on the
Web. Good luck.

Or you can pop down the Warehouse for slip on
beach booties or beach slippers retailing Summer
of 2010 at around $11.00 a pair for adult sizes.
They have minimal cushioning - even less if you
remove the thin insole, wear well for walking at
least, and provide good protection for the skin
while conveying almost all of the shape of the
ground and allowing the internal structure of the
foot to react to differential pressure just as if you
were barefoot.. They are ideal for situations where
you want the feel of being barefoot but want to
keep your feet covered.

Or make your own moccasins, DIY.

Surfaces for Going Barefoot
The ideal surfaces is uneven in a slight but random
fashion and also somewhat giving.

Try grassy areas, the verge rather than the footpath,
parks, playing fields and reserves, beaches,
bark or woodchip trails, riverbeds, weathered rock

at beaches, old cobblestones ....

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Online Resources:
What can I say—go to town with Google or your
favourite search engine, just don’t be sucked in by
extremeists, of whatever camp, and hawkers.
The following will give a flavour:
wonderfully-made.html (Caution: zealots)

The Debate: My Position
Debate rages on many internet sites between proponents
of barefoot running and believers in the
value of shoes and orthotics. A lot of it on both
sides is garbage ideology based on taking extremist
positions in order to promote goods or services.
I advocate routine (daily or 3-4 times/ week) periods
of barefoot or minimalist shoe walking or running on
unsmooth giving surfaces. I believe it is healthy for
healthy feet and properly managed, healing for some,
I would like to say many, unhealthy feet. Free reflexology
for the feet and the body.

There is a growing barefoot running movement
around the world. I believe that this is a good thing
BUT remain convinced that running long distances
on flat hard surfaces is on balance unhealthy, whether
shod or barefoot, It is a legitimate area for selfchallenge
and competition but don't kid yourself
about the health benefits - altho you may choose to
do it for the performance challenge and for competition.
if you do have or suspect you have existing foot
problems then I would urge you to consult your
doctor, physio or podiatrist about proceeding with
barefoot walking or running on a regular basis - but
don't let them off too easily - according to the clinical
perspective, freedom from pain denotes a healthy
foot - we I hope are aiming higher.

Why Go Barefoot? - 1
Our foot structure - with its many bones, joints,
muscles, nerve connections and sensors is marvellously
adapted to convey information on uneven
ground surfaces very quickly to the muscles controlling
the lower and upper leg - and more slowly to
the central nervous system to absorb pressure and

guide our balance as we move about in daily life.

Comparison of Footstrike Forces

Image result for Comparison of Footstrike Forces
From: Foot strike patterns and collision forces in
habitually barefoot versus shod runners by

Daniel E. Lieberman et al, 

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Why Go Barefoot? - 2
... Walking or running on flat hard surfaces in shoes
both muffles and renders redundant most of the motor
and sensory abilities of the feet. Further, repetitive
stress and poorly fitting shoes may damage the
feet. If all of our walking and running is of this type
the feet are being exercised only over a very limited

Going barefoot over uneven giving surfaces gives the
feet exercise that brings into play all of the abilities of
the structure and the muscles, sensors and nerve
connections of the feet.

Use it or lose it applies here as elsewhere. While
children and young people often go barefoot, older
adults may need to pay more conscious attention to
getting barefoot exercise to improve foot health.

How to Go Barefoot?
To walk barefoot in the same way that we walk in
shoes is quite uncomfortable. The diagrams on the
left show you why.

Walking or running barefoot or in minimal shoes
involves a change in gait from heel first to mid or
fore-foot first. It is almost as though the front of the
foot reaches to touch the ground very slightly ahead
of the heel. That is the first point and will involve a
shorter stride.

The second point is to have the joints of the leg and
foot in or close to alignment so the foot (and the
knee) point in the direction you are going. If your
normal gait is splay-footed, make change slowly.
For walking this gait will feel strange and less effective
for a while so it is important to relax and not to hurry.
For running, it is very uncomfortable to heel strike
without the support of shoes so mid– or fore– foot
strike quickly feels more appropriate when running

Image result for Comparison of Footstrike Forces

A Teacher’s Task
“If we work upon marble, it will perish,
If we work upon brass, time will efface it,
If we rear temples, they will crumble to dust,
But if we work upon men’s immortal minds,
If we imbue them with high principles,
With the just fear of God and love of fellow men,
We engrave upon those tablets something which time can never efface,
And which will brighten to all eternity.”

– Daniel Webster.

VIEWPOINT JIACM 2014; 15(1): 7-8
Barefoot walking and running
BM Hegde*
*Padma Bhushan; Former Vice-Chancellor, Manipal University; Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of the Science of Healing
Outcomes (JSHO); Chairman, State Health Society’s Expert Committee, Govt. of Bihar, Patna; Visiting Professor of
Cardiology, The Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London, U.K.; Affiliate Professor of Human Health,
Northern Colorado University, U.S.A.
“No matter how complex or affluent, human societies
are nothing but subsystems of the biosphere, the Earth’s
thin veneer of life, which is ultimately run by bacteria,
fungi, and green plants.”
– Vaclav Smil.
Barefoot walking in 2013? The writer must have gone mad!
That would be your first reaction as you are sold to the
idea of running without shoes is impossible up until this
minute, right? Read on to know the truth as is known now.
We were walking barefoot for millio/ns of years until very
recently when we invented foot wear. Even then our
ancestors were using biological material for the foot wear
like animal hide. It is only very recently that we have
invented artificial material like rubber and many other
plastic like stuff to make expensive fancy foot wear and
running shoes. In the so called developed countries babies
almost from the time they start walking use footwear
avoiding any contact with mother earth. In addition we
were also sleeping on uncovered ground for some time
every day where a large area of the skin used to come in
contact with the earth.
Mother earth contains innumerable bio-positive free
electrons which are human immune-boosters. The
National Library of Medicine’s online resource PubMed
lists 7,021 studies and 522 review articles from a search
of “antioxidant+electron+free radical”. The influx of free
electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact
with the Earth is likely to neutralise reactive oxygen
species and thereby reduce acute and chronic
inflammation. When we insulate ourselves from those
healthy electrons we are pushing ourselves towards
illnesses. Walking in itself has now been shown to be a
very healthy activity. The famous Ohasaki Cohort Study in
Japan showed that walking regularly reduces the risk of
premature mortality in addition to reducing one’s medical
bills in the long run.
Now that the leading science journal Nature (2010; 463:
531) has published a good study that has shown barefoot
walking in good light, my plea might be acceptable to the
westernised Indians (RNIs – Resident Non-Indians) who
think they have a scientific temper. Our mistaken notion
that lack of evidence is equal to evidence of absence has
been proved to be wrong in all sciences. I better quote
that study summary in detail without editing it here
“Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions
of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented
until the 1970s. For most of human evolutionary history,
runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear
such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little
cushioning relative to modern running shoes. We
wondered how runners coped with the impact caused
by the foot colliding with the ground before the invention
of the modern shoe. Here we show that habitually
barefoot endurance runners often land on the fore-foot
(fore-foot strike) before bringing down the heel, but they
sometimes land with a flat foot (mid-foot strike) or, less
often, on the heel (rear-foot strike). In contrast, habitually
shod runners mostly rear-foot strike, facilitated by the
elevated and cushioned heel of the modern running shoe.
Kinematic and kinetic analyses show that even on hard
surfaces, barefoot runners who fore-foot strike generate
smaller collision forces than shod rear-foot strikers. This
difference results primarily from a more plantarflexed foot
at landing and more ankle compliance during impact,
decreasing the effective mass of the body that collides
with the ground. Fore-foot- and mid-foot-strike gaits were
probably more common when humans ran barefoot or
in minimal shoes, and may protect the feet and lower limbs
from some of the impact-related injuries now experienced
by a high percentage of runners.”
Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s negative
potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical
environment for the normal functioning of all body
systems. Moreover, oscillations of the intensity of the
Earth’s potential may be important for setting the
biological clocks regulating diurnal body rhythms, such
as cortisol secretion. Human body is immaterial; it is
energy vibrations, seen as a solid structure. Hence energy
vibrations of the healthy variety from outside might set
right many an aberration in the body physiology. Professor
Robert Becker, a doyen of an orthopaedic surgeon from

New York University has shown that each body cell is but
a semi-conductor. We also generate plenty of static body
electricity which needs to be earthed. Direct body contact
with the earth is a good way of accomplishing that task
as well.
Shoes alter our gait. That would result in minor damage
to the various lower limb joints as also the lower spine. So
many of our aches and pains are due to this minor change
that we have brought on us of wearing the fashionable
shoes. We do not feel that till the pains become severe
and the injury uncorrectable except with quick fixes like
drugs or surgery. Correcting that early, if not avoiding it
in the first place, should be our aim. So hit the ground on
bare feet. There are certain precautions one has to take
before barefoot running though. If one is used to shoes
right from childhood, it will take some time to get used to
walking barefoot even. Our soles of the feet are built for
barefoot walking but we alter that by using shoes right
from childhood. So do it gradually. We should try to walk
on sand, wet sand would be still better, on the beach for a
few days before walking barefoot on rough ground or
roads. Running barefoot requires longer period of such
training, but running is bad for health anyway. We are
concerned about barefoot walking here. Another good
place to walk barefoot would be a well-kept lawn.
If one cannot avoid footwear one has to choose such
shoes that do not alter the physiology of the sole. In fact,
barefoot walking will correct many of the changes that
have been caused by shoes. Heal landing shoes that we
have in the market are the worst enemies of the human
sole. “Shoes affect the gait of children. With shoes, children
walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and
knee motion and increased tibialis anterior activity. Shoes
reduce foot motion and increase the support phases of
the gait cycle. During running, shoes reduce swing phase
leg speed, attenuate some shock and encourage a rearfoot
strike pattern. The long-term effect of these changes on
growth and development are currently unknown,” feel
the Harvard researchers in their study quoted above.
A previous study demonstrated that connecting the
human body to the earth during sleep (earthing)
normalises the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep.
A variety of other benefits were reported, including
reductions in pain and inflammation. I am sure that even
the sceptics among us will now start thinking about bare
feet walking!
“What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my
feet once more, to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny
brooks where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of
rippling notes, or to clamber over a stone wall into green
fields that tumble and roll and climb in riotous

– Helen Keller

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