I was intrigued when I read about the benefits of walking barefoot in Blue Dreams: the Science and the Story of the Drugs That Changed Our Minds by Lauren Slater (Little, Brown, 2018). I did a little research and discovered there is actually a term for barefoot therapy – “earthing” – and it’s all the rage. (Even Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it!)
Earthing stems from the idea that as modern life takes us further away from nature, we are losing out on the health benefits our planet has to offer. In short, earthing is putting our bodies back in direct contact with the earth whether it be soil, sand, or water.
It may sound hippy-dippy, but a handful of small studies have found that going barefoot appears to provide some general health benefits including better sleep and reduced stress, although I have doubts about some of the more radical claims of curing disease.
My son, who suffers from general anxiety, likes to go for walks in the backyard at least twice a day because, he says, “It makes me feel better.” He typically wears flip-flops on his jaunts, but there is no doubt that being outside is where he feels his best.
I worked outside this past weekend and went barefoot as much as possible. Was it the sunshine or was it the exchange of electrons from being in direct contact with the soil that made me feel so good?