Robert Parker had a hit with his song “Barefootin” in 1966. Who knew he was talking about brain health.
There is a hypothesis that we need to spend more time barefoot. Those holding the view that we should spend more time shoeless base it on the idea that our ancestors spent eons that way. By wearing shoes all the time, our brains are not getting important signals from those thousands of nerves on the soles of our feet. By going barefoot, we restore the flow of information into the brain, keep those nerve pathways active and so on.
There is an additional, related hypothesis in favor of us spending a lot more time barefoot-particularly outside. The leading proponent of this idea is Dr. James Oschman. Dr. Oschman has degrees in Biophysics and Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. According to him, planet earth gives off free electrons, which can transfer into our bodies if we don’t have an insulation layer in the form of shoes. And that those free electrons, once introduced into our bodies, are potent free radical scavengers. (A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron, making it highly reactive. In a giant over-simplification, free radicals are associated with heart disease via oxidative stress.) This hypothesis is generally known as “earthing” or “grounding”. Dr. Oshchman wrote about the benefits of barefooting in his book Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis.
Therefore, if you walk barefoot in the grass, not only will you be stimulating nerve pathways from your toes all the way to your brain, you’ll also get a healthy dose of electrons, which will pair with the free radicals and thereby neutralize them. And your heart and brain will be better for it.
If you decide to try it, don’t call us if you step on something sharp.
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Excerpted from the upcoming book How to Grow a Bigger Brain. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.