Feet: so often overlooked, abused, forced into shoes on flat floors, crammed into heels, left with no lift in the arch when placed in flip flops and pumps, we stand on them, run on them, jump on them – how often do we massage them? Pedicure them? Take a good look at them and think “you need some love mate”?
The latter actually all the time for me, I’m a bit of a foot abuser, and since seeing the podiatrist it’s time to change!
As humans we were designed to run around bare footed on unruly terrain, and as humans we cram our feet into a supported structure (a shoe) then walk all day on flat surfaces – barely using any of the muscles within our feet that help us balance – and more importantly help us understand our relationship of spatial awareness, which helps us balance.
The feet provide a relatively narrow base for walking, and the ankles are quite slender when you consider that they carry the entire weight of the body for many hours each day. We need to give them more love.
Did you know that the soles of the feet are home to countless proprioceptive sensors, which provide vital feedback to the brain regarding the terrain we’re walking over? And similar sensors in our ankles also provide important information on the body’s swaying position in space as we move? And that we have clusters of proprioceptive sensors around the body specifically related to helping us balance which are located in the soles of the feet, the ankles, the hips, the spine, and the neck?
These sensors work by sending sensory information from the feet to up to the brain, which then makes subtle adjustments to our gait so we can continue to stand, walk and run with ease. This proprioceptive feedback loop takes place in milliseconds and is in constant process with each step we take.
And by working these sensors, by way of massage, walking barefoot and balancing on one leg – we can improve their their strength – and in turn the strength of our bodies.
So the next time you take a balance, think about the work your foot is doing for the benefit of your whole body, and the next time you want to treat yourself? Get a foot massage – because every little helps – no matter how luxurious it feels!