I love shoes but my natural preference is barefoot. Always has been. As soon as the weather shows the slightest bit of warmth, I kick off my shoes every chance I get: at home, in the car, at my desk, you name it. I’d rather not wear shoes when I don’t have to.

I once read an article about the positive effects of walking barefoot on the ground. This phenomena, called “grounding” or “earthing,” basically says that you will see some health benefits — such as decreased inflammation and stress, and improved circulation — when you put your body in direct contact with nature and the Earth. As new age-y and alternative medicine-y as it sounds, I have to say I agree that there are some benefits to reconnecting with nature. But then again, science agrees, too!

From a scientific perspective, the theory is that the Earth has a mild negative charge and over time our bodies build up a positive charge. When we put ourselves in direct contact with the Earth, we neutralize the body’s built up positive charge and return to a more balanced state. Current research supports the concept that grounding or earthing may be an essential element in good health along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity. Look, this public health professional can get down with that!

Nikki by example | www.nikkibyexample.com

Anyway, I was a very happy and healthy kid. And while there were many factors that went into making my childhood a good one, I do remember running around everywhere in the summer months without any shoes on. I’d run in the grass, over gravel, and through dirt. I’m sure this had something to do with my good mood. Now, any time I feel like I need to recharge, I take off my shoes and feel the Earth beneath my feet, whether it’s soft grass, warm sand, or thick soil. Maybe this is why I love going on hikes, having picnics, and simply being outside to soak up the sun (vitamin D) and feel my body recharge.

Even if the health benefits of grounding aren’t that noticeable, it still feels good to walk through the grass from time to time. So, relax and take a few minutes to feel nature between your toes. One thing’s for sure, I’m still taking my shoes off every chance I get.

Nikki by example | www.nikkibyexample.com

What do you think about grounding/earthing? Do you ever go barefoot?