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Take your shoes off to improve your health

Orientation and health

Our physical relationship with the environment, our orientation, plays a vital role in our overall health. How we perceive and interact with the space around us has profound effects on our well-being. For instance, our balance and coordination, essential for stability and injury prevention, are closely tied to our orientation. Feeling grounded and connected to our surroundings can induce a calming effect on our nervous system. Moreover, our environmental orientation is intricately linked to mindfulness and presence, both of which contribute significantly to our overall wellness.

Our physical orientation is influenced by three primary sources of information: our vestibular system (inner ear), vision, and the baroreceptors in our feet. While many individuals rely predominantly on vision to navigate their surroundings, having input from all three sources enhances the adaptability of our system.

Baroreceptors in our feet

The feet house baroreceptors, specialized nerve endings that provide the brain with feedback on blood pressure levels. When we actively engage with the information provided by these baroreceptors, we gain a heightened sense of gravity and the horizontal plane underneath us, crucial for effective movement coordination. Unfortunately, modern lifestyle practices, such as habitual shoe-wearing, have significantly diminished the function of these baroreceptors. By insulating our feet from direct contact with the ground, we lose tactile sensitivity and stability, often compensating with unnecessary ankle tension, further impeding blood flow and sensory input to the feet.

Grounding and earthing

It’s a shame that Minnesota’s climate makes it near impossible to walk outdoors barefoot for half the year, which means we don’t get the additional benefits of the “grounding” or “earthing” phenomenon in which the negative electrical charge of the earth helps us discharge excess positive ions from our own cells, which decreases inflammation and increases the production of antioxidants. However, opportunities for barefoot walking can still be found, particularly indoors. Engaging in this practice not only activates the intrinsic muscles of the feet but also enhances the sensitivity of the baroreceptors, fostering a more profound connection with our environment.

Activating baroreceptors: a simple exercise

  1. Stand up and pay attention to any tension in your ankles.
  2. Shift your weight back and forth, noting any tightness.
  3. Close your eyes, using a nearby support if needed for balance. Direct your focus to your ankles, imagining tension dissipating into the soles of your feet, making them feel heavier.
  4. Continue swaying gently, becoming aware of the sensation beneath your feet.
  5. Open your eyes, maintaining this heightened awareness, and take a barefoot stroll around the room.

By closing your eyes, you eliminate the dominance of vision, allowing your feet to absorb information directly from the ground. This exercise not only enhances proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of the body) but also encourages a deeper connection with your surroundings, promoting overall well-being.

How Do Our Patients Feel About Us
  • "I’ve been coming here for a few months to help with my back pain. They have helped my physical health but also my mental health. It’s so nice to do some scheduled self care each week. The doctors and front desk staff are all so sweet and so welcoming. When you come in you can always expect a big smile and hello from Ann."

    - Eleanor H.
  • "First and foremost Dr John is the best human! I’ve gone through numerous different chiropractor practices and could not speak more highly about the service and care that I’ve received from Advanced Spinal Care. They’ve made treatment affordable and comprehensive. I’ve also had difficulty with being adjusted in a beneficial way in the past, but I don’t feel that way going to Advanced Spinal Care. No matter which team member I see I know I’m in good hands and I leave feeling better than before (which is huge for me). I definitely recommend their services for chiropractic care and physical therapy."

    - Shelby I.
  • "From day one, this office has been very welcoming. No judgments. (At least, not that I know of) The doctors are all very knowledgeable, down to earth, and honestly just want the best for each individual patient. The front staff are a wonderful bunch that is always happy to greet you and can get you on the schedule in a snap! This Team has had me pain free for quite awhile now. Such an amazing feeling it is.5 STARS and hats off to the whole office. Would recommend them 24/7!"

    - Amy H.
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