Walking Barefoot Is Good

Recent research has shown that barefoot walking is healthy. It also tells why shoes can impede long term health development

We were walking barefoot for millions of years, until very recently when we invented footwear. Our ancestors used biological material for footwear, like animal hide. It is only very recently that we started to use materials like rubber and plastic. In the so-called developed countries, babies use footwear almost from the time they start walking avoiding any contact with mother earth. Mother earth contains innumerable bio-positive free electrons which are human immune-boosters. 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, by wearing footwear, we are pushing ourselves towards illnesses.

A leading medical science journal Nature has published a study that has shown barefoot walking in good light. The study said, “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 plantar flexed 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.”

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. The energy vibration is seen as a solid structure and might set right many an aberration in the body physiology. Professor Robert Becker, 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.

 On the other hand, footwear alters our gait and would result in minor damage to the various lower limb joints as also the lower spine. Our aches and pains are due to this minor change that we have brought upon ourselves by wearing the fashionable footwear. We do not feel that until the pains become severe. Correcting it early, if not avoiding it in the first place, should be our aim.

“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 rear foot strike pattern. The long-term effect of these changes on growth and development are currently unknown,” quoted the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.

So hit the ground bare feet. There are certain precautions one has to take before barefoot running though. If one is used to shoes, do it gradually. Running barefoot requires longer period of training. One should try to walk on sand, preferably the wet variety, for a few days before walking barefoot on rough grounds and roads. Another good place to walk barefoot is a well-kept lawn. Barefoot walking will correct many of the changes that have been caused by shoes. A variety of other benefits have been reported, including reduction in pain and inflammation. I am sure that even the sceptics among us will consider barefoot walking!

Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

6 years ago

I most vociferously disagree with Pannag Kamat and call upon him to show where in Ayurveda he got this.
In the Dhote Udyan, on Mumbai's Mahim-Shivaji Park sea front the bare foot joggers walk on soft gravel -not hard paver block 275m walking track and also on a special Mexican lawn with grass for therapeutic bare foot walking exercises morning and evening.
I've switched over from high end walking shoes to open flat flip flops.

nagesh kini

6 years ago

I most vociferously disagree with Pannag Kamat and call upon him to show where in Ayurveda he got this.
In the Dhote Udyan, on Mumbai's Mahim-Shivaji Park sea front the bare foot joggers walk on soft gravel -not hard paver block 275m walking track and also on a special Mexican lawn with grass for therapeutic bare foot walking exercises morning and evening.
I've switched over from high end walking shoes to open flat flip flops.

pannag kamat

6 years ago

I disagree with this report. Ayurveda science has said that walking without footwear is not good.

REPLY

nagesh kini

In Reply to pannag kamat 6 years ago

Pannag,if you choose to disagree can you please lead the proof in Ayurveda text to substantiate your stand?

pannag kamat

In Reply to nagesh kini 4 years ago

Dear Nagesh Kini

Ayurveda science mainly written in 3 books and we consider them as authentic books for ayurveda. they are
1. Charaka Samhita
2. Sushruta Samhita
3. Ashtanga Hradaya.

There are lot of other books are available and all those are also used.
I will provide you the reference in Ashtanga Hradaya Chapter 2 of Sutra sthana shloka no. 32. Its explained that one should wear foot wears before going out side. The sanskrit shloka is
"saatapatrapadatraane vicharet"

Professor Dr BM Hegde

In Reply to pannag kamat 6 years ago

Would Kamat sab please let us know where in Ayurveda is this advice NOT to walk barefoot for our education please?
bmhegde

pannag kamat

In Reply to Professor Dr BM Hegde 4 years ago

Dear Dr. B M Hegde

Ayurveda science mainly written in 3 books and we consider them as authentic books for ayurveda. they are
1. Charaka Samhita
2. Sushruta Samhita
3. Ashtanga Hradaya.

There are lot of other books are available and all those are also used.
I will provide you the reference in Ashtanga Hradaya Chapter 2 of Sutra sthana shloka no. 32. Its explained that one should wear foot wears before going out side. The sanskrit shloka is
"saatapatrapadatraane vicharet"

Pulse Beat

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The Importance of Breakfast
Skipping breakfast could lead to increased heart attacks, according to a study published in the Circulation. Skipping breakfast and eating very late at night are both dangerous; they raise the blood pressure and alter the serum lipids levels. Dr Cahill concluded, “Don’t skip breakfast. Eating breakfast is associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks.
Incorporating many types of healthy foods into your breakfast is an easy way to ensure your meal provides adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.” Earlier studies had also shown that eating late at night alters metabolic repair processes that increase the risk of developing multiple chronic conditions. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning within the first hour after waking up, and stop eating late night dinners, to dramatically lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This is one of the most common bowel problems for those with a stressful lifestyle. More and more researchers are turning to alternate medicine research for this syndrome which defies all pharmaceuticals. Recently, at a meeting in Brussels, French researcher, Ariane Gerkins said that alternate methods of individually tailored regimes should work better. The latter include individual food items and alternate medicines, especially herbal drugs; for symptom relief, psychological support by specially trained counselling has worked wonders.

Cheaper Research in China?
According to The New York Times, executives at one of the British drug majors were warned nearly two years ago about critical problems with the way R&D was conducted in China. The New York Times story suggests that problems may be deeper than just notorious sales practices. It shows how dangerous and problematic it can be when pharmaceuticals companies export R&D to China. Since 2006, 13 of the top 20 global drug-makers have set up R&D centres in China, according to a report by McKinsey & Company.

Pertinent Questions That Await Answers
Many of the following questions are awaiting their true answers which we do not get from the usual claptrap of modern medicine: Does chlorella fight cancer? Has aspartame been scientifically studied for side-effects? Does curcumin treat arthritis? Is the Mediterranean Diet supported by science? Are statin drugs dangerous? What is the link between vaccines and autism? What are the side-effects of arsenic exposure? What are the side-effects of drinking processed milk? Are food ingredients safe? What scientific literature supports the benefits of super-foods? How dangerous is chemotherapy? Dr Mike Adams has tried to answer all of these on his website: http://www.naturalnews.com.

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Virgin nature has all that we need for good health

Today, every Innus is a Canadian citizen who is heir to every disease that a Caucasian Canadian gets. The only change for diseases in Innus is the introduction of monetary economy where greed rules the roost

The creator, if there was one, or for the consumption of Darwinians, evolutionary process would not have left any stone unturned to see that the creation needs no outside help for survival. This is simple logic which science lacks. Science like, many others, is only an enterprise, which seems to have outlived its usefulness. It is this half-baked science, which, according to Nobel Laureate chemist, John von Newman, “is making models, mostly mathematical constructs, which, with verbal jargon, is supposed to work,” really hurts. John was talking of the hard sciences of physics and chemistry, but not our great medical science, which according to another great scientist, Rustum Roy, is only a statistical science where we use surrogate end points statistically to claim our successes. Even hard sciences had to eat the humble pie when they saw liquid helium refusing to obey the rules of physics by flowing against gravity and passing through intact containers! Did liquid helium throw thermodynamics upside down along with Newton’s laws of gravity?
 

To give an example in medical science, the infamous Multiple Risk Factor Interventional Trial (MRFIT), which spent millions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money, turned out to be a boondoggle, showing that, while the so called risk factors for premature death, such as high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol could all be controlled with our interventions, the final outcome measure of precocious death does not get altered! Many a time our interventions could alter the final death certificate label (due to adverse drug reactions) but cannot change the date. Statistically, we claim that our interventions are the ‘be all and end all’ of human existence. Some fanatics go to the extent of catching these so called risk factors “young” in the asymptomatic stage of one’s life to the further detriment of health. The ultimate truth is that change of mode of living (as close to nature as is possible) is much more powerful in avoiding premature death.
 

I still remember what the famous hypertension specialist, Sir George Pickering, wrote about high blood pressure, which I feel, is 100% true. He said “more people in this world make a living OFF hypertension than die OF it.” This naked truth speaks for most of our interventions. About cardiac interventions, which have become the biggest till movers for hospitals, Harlan Krumholz, the chief of cardiology at Yale, had this to say in his editorial comment in the New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 336: 1523 on cardiac procedures, outcomes and accountability: “cardiac procedures are done in the USA mainly because they net billions of dollars in cash for doctors and hospitals, status symbol and visibility… and not for the benefit of patients.” The scenario has not changed in 2013 either.
The 1997 study was a comparison between Ontario and New York. Another study has shown similar findings in the words of DT Ko and colleagues in the JAMA, which is echoed by Krumholz also (JAMA 2013; 310: 151-52) thus: “….higher prevalence of interventionists, and cardiac invasive capabilities- as well as market oriented financing-in New York seems likely to account for much, if not all, of the disparity between New York and Ontario; if so there is an opportunity for reducing health care costs in New York.” This applies to India as we ape the New York style in India.
 

A scientific study in early 1960s published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled “The failure of scientific medicine, the Innu community study” showed that the Innus, an aboriginal tribe living in the Innu land, a colony off the coast of Saskatchewan, had no illnesses whatsoever until 1892 when the first business, Williams Company, came to start their barter trade there. Till then Innus lived a simple natural life style of an egalitarian hunter gatherer communes sharing and caring. They lived to ripe old age and the causes of death were just old age and predation. They were not aware of money and greed till the Williams Company taught them to sell their hide for biscuits etc. in their possession. Then, came money into their lives and today every Innus is a Canadian citizen who is heir to every disease that a Caucasian Canadian gets. The only change for diseases in Innus is the introduction of monetary economy where greed rules the roost.
 

Virgin nature has all that we need for good health. Sunshine is your best health tonic which, unfortunately, has been demonised by the drug and cosmetic industry. Monetary economy has destroyed the bounties of nature in every field and made our environment detrimental to human and other species’ health. That is why our all-powerful immune system cannot manage some illnesses fully. Our food is poisoned, drinking water is not potable, air in polluted, work environment is stressful, and our future, uncertain. Man’s greed and proclivity for comfort has been responsible for this raping of nature. That is why, in some instances, we might need help from healers. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, probably knew all this when he propounded his hypothesis where he said: “cure rarely, comfort mostly, but console always.” That is true even today, despite all that we claim as advances in technology which have become counter-productive. Latest studies have shown that it is only the human immune system that cures (Bingel et al. Placebo effect. Science Translational Medicine 2010 Feb issue) even with outside interventions. That is called the Placebo effect. A good healer should, therefore, be a good human being, her/his qualifications notwithstanding.
 

Let us go back to nature and try to set things right to prevent destruction of nature. Just see the difference in your wellbeing when you change from walking with footwear to walking barefoot. The bio-positive electrons, plenty on the earth’s surface, are the most powerful anti-oxidants. Hopefully nature will recoup for the good of the human race. Let our politicians be warned that nature is not there for everyone to loot. If you treat nature as your mother she will feed and heal you; if, on the contrary, you treat nature as your mistress she will kick you in the teeth. A word of advice for our profession is in order. Be human and humane and treat every patient as your own-self in distress and do unto them as you would want done unto you. Let not greed take over like it has done in New York in the above cited studies compared to Ontario where social medicine does not give any incentive for over diagnosis and overtreatment. Please remember that it is nature that heals. Even the best cardiac surgeon cannot make a heart transplant heal in a dead body. It needs human immune system for healing. The surgeon is only a catalyst or facilitator. Be humble and care for your patients-other name for patient care.

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COMMENTS

Marilyn Mann

6 years ago

I just checked the 1997 editorial by Harlan Krumholz, and your quote is not contained therein. The closest thing I see is:

"In a fee-for-service system, cardiac procedures generated billions of dollars in revenues each year. A high volume of procedures brought prestige and financial rewards to hospitals, physicians, and the vendors of medical equipment."

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