My Personal Barefoot Experimentation,
Rambling Anecdotes on Feet
This is part two of a series of articles on bare feet.
I had been encouraged by Alf and I had been all over the internet. I had read “Barefoot Running: Step by Step” by Barefoot, Ken Bob Saxton, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and I began to experiment.
I liked the feeling of being completely naked. The removal of shoes added yet another dimension to my sense of nudity and awareness. I felt delightfully more naked.
I had had troubles with my feet for years, from wearing heels wrong, to those shooting pains in my heel, stiffness when I woke up. I had mostly worn custom cowboy boots since my early twenties. I had had back trauma injuries in rear-enders and as I aged, I found my health diminishing.
Finding hiking shoes had been frustrating, as my feet had become a quadruple E, but my heels had stayed the same. They don’t make shoes for duck-foots like me. They would be too tight while my heels slipped out, my heels were bothered, or because they were not firmly attached all around, hiking back downhill often left me without toenails.
After attempting a string of solutions, I was getting a pain between the middle toes on my right foot. During a physical, I mentioned this to my doctor. He inspected and determined that I had Morten’s Neuroma, squeezed nerves between toes. HE suggested 800 milligrams of ibuprofen, or right then, he could clip the nerves and the problem would be over. I elected to wait, research. Maybe some alternatives would pop up, other than this popular medical answer. I saw a video of the surgery, and it was horrible to watch. I was aware of chi flow, acupressure points and realize that a natural untampered nervous system is healthier. Everything works together. It is there for a reason.
This Morten’s condition usually comes from toes being squeezed together in shoes. It is very common in women who wear high heels. I had been wearing cowboy boots with heels to correct my heel spur problem, everywhere.
I found something to try from a chiropractor’s website, whose web address worked last week, but these are now misdirected. I’ll see what can be done about this and correct:
I tried the massaging and it worked. I applied the process to all other parts of the foot and ankle and associated tendons. I slowly worked deeper and deeper all over the feet. I was learning the systems and interaction. It was amazing; I discovered how my feet work and how freeing the motion dramatically effects the rest of the body. I also relate this to a mutual love affair that I began with my feet.
There are definite health benefits to having naked feet according to this doctor. He suggests barefoot running, being barefoot as often as possible and tells of the inherent problems of clothing feet into shoes. Barefoot increases life expectancy and quality of life. Shoes can make people die younger and live miserable. It sounded kind of extreme, but…check it out. Dig deeper.
I went through a process of recovery from my Morton’s Neuroma. There were a couple of experiences. I noticed that the road wear on my feet was dramatically different on each foot. It told me that each of my feet are doing something different. I saw the impressions as I walked in the sand and mud. When I pointed my feet, leading with my second toes, there was a dramatic difference in my poster. Standing, when I positioned my feet as such, I immediately noticed a feel of being more pigeon-toed and my knees seemed to show that, but then my posture was amazingly better. The slouch that I have had all of my life ended. Everything seemed to line up and stack on top of each other very well. This felt natural and not forced. I felt more stable and all of this just because I moved my toes a couple of millimeters toward each other. When I walked with the second toes leading the stride, other positive movements like toe to heel and lifting of knees worked naturally. I wanted to look into that. My investigation has found quite a few surprises.
I began to follow the exercises, massaging and tricks that this doctor gave in his videos. I could feel the effects dramatically. I could feel just how much that my feet have been trained and made tight. How they get inflamed and what other things that they need to be flexible. I am realizing the potential for flexibility that they have with these conditionings and feel how this spring that he describes, actually works.
I worked on one foot extensively, for hours and then tried it out. The difference between the feet was amazing, after the work. The one foot sat down and moved completely different. The difference could be felt and actually seen also, in an imbalance all the way up my spine. It created a twist in my body. The Morton’s foot was now healthier than the other, as I looked into the mirror and evaluated the results. My feet and apparently most people’s feet are very messed up from shoes and need work, as described, to function properly. When I went outside barefoot, the worked on foot was taking the rock and sand much better, a complete difference. It wasn’t about the thick callous as much as the ability of the foot to be flexible. The soles of the feet do not work simply, like the soles of shoes. The sensitivity on the foot is incredible. The foot reads so much, it moves differently, it warns to stop stepping on damaging things, instantly, it reads the surfaces. It has intricate traction strategies. It naturally desensitizes where it needs to. It is tough, just enough. The discovered reality is that the bare foot is infinitely superior to a shoe.
Given many of the problems that have been related to barefoot walking at first change, the deep massage technique probably would make it much more comfortable. As I spent daily hours getting deeper and deeper with the doctor’s techniques, at times, I would feel and erupt in tears, not because of the pain, but deep messages of emotion and trauma was buried there. The samskara of life was releasing, the same as that reported during Rolfing. I inquired with four massage therapist friends. They all told me, “It’s hard to f… up feet, no worries.”
There is a silent inflammation created by shoe wearing. Inflammation such as this is related to, Parkinson’s, cancers, depression, etc. Twisted crooked backs, compression and jarring cause back and other health problems and discomfort. This can be mostly avoided by the natural spring action of the body, but that spring is jammed up like a major epidemic in the western world. These claims seemed kind of far reaching, but when I experimented, dang if there is amazing personal evidence and these claims begin to make sense. My quality of life will be more sustained through the years, if I keep to this and take care of myself, barefoot as much as possible. The result is evident. The reason for the health problems became obvious.
So, we have yet another great reason, or excuse to be more naked. We can avoid major health issues and stay younger. I’m on it!
At the very least, and obvious to me, this is a way to condition my feet for the coming season of healthy nudity and I suggest to look into this website and hopefully experiment, finding the same discoveries. Look to: http://teamdoctorsblog.com/conditions/
The All Over Part:
Not having to do with the website, but interesting to me, as I was experimenting, when walking and running in the driveway, it was a wonderfully mindful meditation of awareness. The sensations and influence don’t stop at the feet, but in the hips, etc. I moved differently. The neighbors were out and I couldn’t risk being nude there. I put on shorts. Where I experimented fully nude, I was more aware of the entire fluidity of my body’s motions working together. When I draped the light shorts over, it was a definite distraction and took awareness of sensation from that hip area, sort of severing my body. I wasn’t noticing my body there, I was noticing my pants. I moved differently, it seemed. There is a more natural healthy gait and clothing changes that. Shoes do obviously, but clothing does also, just more subtly. I’m thinking (of course) that we all need to walk around totally nude at least some of the time. There is obvious blood flow, chi movement and natural structure inhibited by clothing. If shoes do this much to change us, then I figure I need to look into other clothing and health, too. I doubt that there is literature on this. It would be considered too picky and insignificant to research and who would spend the money. I do know that the whole body needs to breathe.
It is a fact that children who grow up bundled in snow suits walk differently than those who run mostly naked here in the warmer climates. Shoes definitely effect children’s development. Shoes are more harsh and there is documentation. Clothing…what if….
Your feet walk upon the Earth and through this your spirit is connected to the universe. Our feet are our contact with the Earth and the energies that flow through it.
Cherokee “Moonmaiden” Jenny Wallace