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Let’s walk barefoot again

IMG_0528 ste(2)BY JIMMY PIMENTEL – I HAVEN’T done it for a long, long while but I’d like to start walking barefoot more often again.

In my childhood days during the Japanese occupation years of 1941-1945 and immediately after the American liberation, I walked around mostly barefoot.

I had no choice. Shoes were a luxury in those hard times. Shoes were worn only for school or going out. At home, in the garden, and on streets of clay and gravel in my town of San Juan, Rizal, children walked barefoot. Even most adults.

But families became more prosperous, and soon we went into wearing bakyas (wooden slippers) and finally into shoes. Those who could afford them bought leathers for going out and rubbers for play.

I fact, my parents warned me not to walk barefoot any more or I would develop stomach worms, catch a cold, or step on a nail and hurt myself.

That was many yesterdays ago.

Today I have learned something better: It’s called “earthing”. According to American freelance health writer Paisley Hansen, earthing is also known as “grounding” and refers to having physical barefoot or bare-skin contact with the earth.

Earthing, Ms Hansen says, can help improve immune and cardio function, result in better sleep, and fight inflammation.

Simply put, just enjoy a nice walk outside in your yard or the local park without the benefit of shoes or socks, she advises her readers.

And my health consultant says of Ms Hansen: “She does a great job of bringing to light health practices that are easy, low cost, and can have a significant impact on overall health and chronic symptoms.

“This is based on the concept that this contact with the earth will restore the electrical signal to your body that has become lost, and it will lead to better natural health.

“It neutralizes the positively charged free radicals caused by electromagnetic garbage that the body absorbs from your TV and all the electronic gadgets that we regularly use.

According to Ms Hansen, many people have reported significant and health benefits from being grounded Well, from earthing.

Benefits include improved immune system function, sleeping better, less inflammation, and a healthier heart.

When you have direct contact with the earth, Ms Hansen writes, electrons will be conducted into your body causing it to become stabilized and grounded, which allows your immune system to work at optimum levels.

Those who can get a good night’s sleep directly on the hard ground report wonderful benefits, but most of us aren’t able to get comfortable and actually sleep in this manner.

Our bodies suffer from inflammation as free radicals build up. The practice of earthing can neutralise the effects by using its negatively charged surface against the positively charged free radicals.

Those who practice earthing claim to have achieved much healthier hearts. Cardiovascular benefits include dramatically increased circulation, thinner blood and healthy blood pressure. This is due to the blood thinning effects of earthing.

Ms Hansen suggests walking barefoot on grass, soil, ‘’or flowing water’’ like a spring. Sandy beaches were the best place to go earthing, as the moisture acts as a conductor.

Too bad it has taken me a good eight generations to learn all this. Why? Because I have always suffered from this “Imelda Itch”. I own more than a dozen pairs of shoes today: black, brown, tan, cordovan leathers and suede; high and low dressy and cowboy boots; boxing boots; white, blue, brown and red running shoes, two pair of golf shoes, and a pair of red martial arts slip-on’s.

Every one of them a collector’s item now.

I’m going back to walking barefoot.