Once your child begins to walk, the next event many parents get excited about is the first trip to buy the first pair of shoes; some parents get so excited about shoes that they put them on their baby’s feet before they can walk and sometimes even before they can crawl!
Shoes that are commonly worn today ,with rubber insulating souls, are a very new invention in the history of man’s evolution. For eons of years men, women and children roamed the earth with their bare feet and slept and sat directly in contact with the earth’s surface. In extreme cold weathers they may have also wrapped conductive animal skin around their feet and under their bodies whilst they slept for extra warmth but the body was in contact directly with the earth’s energy for at least 80% of the time. Nowadays due to insulating shoes, raised beds, synthetic carpets in our homes and artificial carrying devices for children our human race is now directly connecting with the earth less than 1% of the time, 0.025% to be exact or just 10 minutes a month.
So why should this matter? Does your child like to run their hands along a brick wall whilst being pushed along in a buggy? Have you ever wondered why so many children ask to take their shoes off whilst outdoors? Have you ever noticed small babies chewing on the metal chain of a swing and wondered why they find it so appetising?
The answer lies in the earth’s natural medicine that can bring health and happiness back to us all. The earth acts like a giant, constant, self regenerating battery, re-charged by lightning storms with a never-ending supply of free electrons also known as negative ions. For those of you who are scientifically minded check out this interesting study (http://electromagnetic-pollution.com/attachments/EFX_science_Ober_chronicInflammation1.pdf).If you’re confused then stay with me and I’ll break it down…
Our bodies are full of cells which all have an electrical charge to keep them functioning effectively. The movement of nutrients and water into and out of the cells is regulated by these electric fields. The atoms that make up our cells each have a pair of electrons whizzing round them in constant orbit. When our bodies are attacked by stressors such as electromagnetic pollution from mobile phone masts and domestic appliances, a process known as free radical damage takes place. Free radicals are solo electrons which want to pair up with a second electron; in the process they rob an electron from the next stable pair that they come across. To understand this better consider a single person running off with someone else’s partner and breaking up their relationship. This then results in a domino effect for surrounding coupled electrons. The single electron becomes unstable, without a partner, and in search of a new mate then steals off the next pair it comes across….quite the home wrecker!
This process is how inflammation and disease is created. “A build-up of free radicals over time will wreak havoc with your immunity by causing a cascade of cellular destruction; all because these little molecules are electrically unstable and require a ‘donation’ of an electron to stop the damage from continuing.” (http://www.bdlive.co.za/blogs/health/2013/05/29/earth-yourself-the-benefits-of-barefoot-healing)
Fortunately for us planet earth has created a way to help guard against the body’s damaging attack on itself. Much like plugs and electrical devices have a grounding wires to stop any interference in the signal occurring, we humans too have the ability to directly re-connect to the earth which provides us with a constant flow of free electrons. These free electrons act like speed daters; they will happily pair up and prevent those free radicals from interfering and breaking up the healthy relationships by donating them a flow of new partners to satisfy their pairing needs.
The higher up from the earth we travel, the more positive charge we experience. This is often noticed as static charge in our hair or an electric shock when touching a door handle; something we experience more in the winter time when we are least connected to the earth and the air is artificially heated, creating friction and more positive charge. The earth has an abundant supply of negatively charged ions which neutralise the effect of electromagnetic pollution in the atmosphere around us.
Grounding or earthing is a process which not only aids in decreasing inflammation (which is the root to most disease) it also improves immune function and helps to regulate body temperature and circadian rhythms (sleep wake cycles). As a result, the more grounded you can become the better you sleep, the less cold you feel, the less you will ‘catch bugs’ and the less pain, inflammation and depression you experience.
The key to connecting back to this vital healing source is to allow yourself and your children to go barefoot on the earth and touch it directly with the skin as much as possible. It’s important to realise that only natural materials conduct the earth’s free electrons, not man-made insulating materials.
grass, mud, metal (unpainted), cotton, linen, bamboo, trees and plants, human and animal skin/hair (e.g. leather), glass and sand, marble, concrete, stones, tiles and brick, natural bodies of water such as lakes, sea, rivers and even running water coming directly on to the skin from taps and the shower through metal pipes.
Man-made synthetic materials which insulate and therefore do not conduct:
plastic, synthetic rubber (incl. souls of shoes and pushchair wheels), polyester and acrylic (clothing and fabrics), carpets, dead and treated wood (decking and flooring), tarmac, chemical coatings in paint, bath tub, lined paddling and swimming pools.
In addition to the numerous benefits of grounding, going barefoot also enables healthy development of the muscles in the feet and creates correct spinal alignment. If your child has collapsed arches or balance and postural problems one of the first things a chiropractor will encourage is to take off their shoes and give your child more barefoot time.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving this may be the fear of your little one treading on something sharp or undesirable. My little one walks barefoot on seemingly sharp and rugged surfaces all the time including pebble beaches and wood chips; due to the lack of tension in his legs and body he does not feel pain like we adults might do. If you do still want them to have some layer of protection there are now leather moccasin slipper style shoes for ALL ages to give protection to the feet when the weather is dry/cold. Don’t forget that even these wont keep your kids grounded if they aren’t wearing natural cotton fibre socks underneath. (http://www.star-child.co.uk/)
It can also be difficult to ground if you live in a particularly cold or wet climate; it’s much more appealing to take your shoes off and jump in a lake or the sea to have a grounding swim when it’s warm outside. The cheapest way to combat this is to encourage your kids to go climbing and touching the living trees more often, rolling in the grass and playing in the sand pits getting their hands dirty. For young babies you can wear them in a sling and through touching your skin and connecting to your electron flow they will also be grounding. At least 30 minutes a day of making direct contact with the earth can make a huge difference to your child’s health, try it and see for yourself!
If you have a little more cash to splash there are some great products which allow you to sleep grounded in bed using a cotton and silver threaded sheet connected to the earthing prong in a plug socket. This increases your connection to the earth to nearly half of the time. There are also handy conductive grounding mats, also plugged in to a socket and are especially useful for putting under little feet whilst playing the computer or watching a film. (http://www.earthing.com/)
Next time your kids ask to take their shoes off instead of worrying about the dirt and the cold think of it as a nutritional supplement boost of free electrons which will help to calm, regulate, restore and re-balance them…..and after they’ve finished there’s always wet wipes for a quick and easy clean.
For more information on going barefoot and its benefits, read the book ‘Earthing’ by Clinton Ober.