Walking with bare feet has existed since humans first arrived on this planet. As our cultures became industrialized, wearing shoes became the sensible thing to do. Far from our natural origins, modern culture’s proclivity for wearing shoes throughout our daily lives has taken a toll on our feet. Although shoes can be essential, protective or even fun, they have also contributed to our separation from Mother Earth by depriving us from a key support tool that naturally keeps us grounded.

Walking barefoot is also known as “grounding” and “earthing”, which is essentially what it does to our bodies. It connects us directly to the earth and its mild negative charge, neutralizing the positive charge that most modern bodies possess.

Scientific research is beginning to show the many physiological benefits of grounding. The practice can reduce stress, inflammation and pain; improve sleep and energy; relieve muscle tension and headaches; regulate body temperature, blood pressure, hormones, and digestion; and much more.

For best results, feet should be directly touching the earth whether it’s soil, grass, sand, or rocks. Sitting under a tree, hugging a tree, organic gardening, and even swimming in a natural body of water will serve your grounding practice. The key is direct contact with the planet’s natural conductors. To enhance the practice, breathe deeply, helping to move the energies around your body. If you don’t have access to a safe place to be barefoot or if sanitation is a concern, stand on a towel made of natural fibers like organic cotton or hemp.

While getting out into nature is best, our busy schedules and other variables may prevent us from being able to walk outdoors to benefit from direct contact with Mother Earth. To remedy this, a multitude of products are on the market to assist with grounding indoors. Grounding products are gaining in popularity, even sports figures and family pets are benefiting from this indoor-friendly technology.

It’s easy to find others interested in this practice. There are communities of barefoot loving people around the world who join together to share in shoeless adventures. You probably have meetup groups in your area with whom you can walk, hike and ground. The Earthing Institute is a leading authority on earthing, and their website provides an abundance of information and resources.

Getting back to our shoe-free ancestral roots is a way to counteract the effects of modern living. When we touch Mother Earth with the soles of our feet, it’s deeply connective, allowing us to absorb her nurturing and healing energy. Earthing is one of the easiest wellness techniques we have access to. A mere ten minutes outdoors with your bare feet flat against the earth will help you revitalize and restore balance.