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Barefoot Health

Over the past few hundred years, a number of people from a number of organizations have been at work lying to the public in an attempt to convince them to wear shoes.  Unfortunately, for the most part, they have been successful.

Fortunately, however, there are some people who know the truth.  And, thanks to the wonder of the Internet, we now have the ability to share that truth with the world.

Healthy as can be

One of the main fallacies that the liars have used to promote their misinformation is the supposition that going barefoot is somehow unhealthy.  Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

The bottoms of the feet are loaded with hundreds of thousands of nerve endings, all craving stimulation.  Wearing shoes robs those nerves of the input they crave.

As a result, the corresponding nerve centers in the brain begin to atrophy, starved of the sensory input they are meant to process.

Going barefoot restores life to those areas of the brain.  New nerve endings begin to grow...information is processed more completely and blood vessels grow in to feed the newly revived regions...the whole brain begins to function at a higher level.

And all the way on the other end of things, the feet themselves become stronger.

If you never walked anywhere, but rode around in a wheelchair all the time, your legs would become weak and fragile.  Likewise, by being assisted by all manner of rubber, plastic, leather and other materials, the feet become weak through the wearing of shoes.

When you go barefoot, the feet have to work on their own.  They become stronger through exercise, just like every other part of the body.

And, finally, actual medical research has shown that wearing shoes is bad.  Check out these quotes from a New York Magazine article discussing the topic.

Last year, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, published a study titled "Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?" in the podiatry journal The Foot. The study examined 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European), comparing their feet to one another's, as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans - i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers - had the unhealthiest. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Bernhard Zipfel, when commenting on his findings, lamented that the American Podiatric Medical Association does not "actively encourage outdoor barefoot walking for healthy individuals. This flies in the face of the increasing scientific evidence, including our study, that most of the commercially available footwear is not good for the feet."

"Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person," wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. "It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot." In other words: Feet good. Shoes bad.

So, contrary to popular belief, wearing shoes is actually what's unhealthy.

Pleasure, not pain

Going barefoot is a natural, healthy way to experience the world.  The risks are minor - really nothing more than going around without gloves, which everyone does all the time without even thinking about it.

It is a pleasant experience, and one which every American should be able to enjoy.  The pleasures and benefits far outweigh any possible risks.  So, go out and enjoy it!

Your example will encourage others to do the same.  Together, we can build a wonderful, barefoot world. :)

Continue from Barefoot Health to Barefoot Fun to remind yourself of how much fun going barefoot can be!

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