There is definitely a reason why everyone secretly wants to run around barefoot. Beaches are not the same in flip flops as they are when you are squishing the sand between your toes. Watching the clouds from a lounge chair isn't the same as lying on your back in the grass. We need that connection to the earth. Now I'm not talking about simply the idea of being "grounded" but that concept isn't wrong. Body language experts have always spoken about the power position, with both feet planted firmly on the ground, as being the way to not only project power, but evoke it. Why? Because you are maximizing your contact with the ground and so you literally are deriving more strength from this position.
We as humans are electrical beings. The surface of the earth provides a limitless supply of negatively charged electrons. More and more research is showing us that this mobile supply of electrons not only helps to manage our internal bio-electrical environment, but also may help to regulate all the body rhythms such as hormonal secretion, reproductive capacity, sleep cycle, etc.
But more and more we are separating ourselves from the earth and from this vital flow of electrical energy. How? By wearing rubber-soled shoes, riding around on rubber tires, walking on plastic soles, not to mention the fear of bacteria, bugs and ticks to name a few. We are disconnected from the replenishing energy of the earth and seeking to replace it with metabolic boosters, artificial hormones, caffeine. We can't sleep so we resort to sleeping aids, various pillows, sound machines.
The simple act of walking barefoot every day has been proven to provide pain relief, reduced inflammation, better sleep. Scientific theory has said for decades that negative ions are anti-oxidant, anti-inflammative and incredibly protective. Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman pointed out that when the human body is completely grounded, in other words has the same potential as the Earth, it becomes an extension of the Earth which tends to repel competing electrical fields that can damage the body or create imbalances in our delicate body systems.
One of the worst violations of this are the recent fad of rubber, plastic or vinyl floor mats for kindergartens, children's rooms, day cares and even gyms. Not only do these completely separate you from the Earth's energy, but they are made from PVC's and plastics that contain phthalates which have been proven in numerous studies to be endocrine disrupters. The most recent study in Sweden found that levels of phthalates were much higher in the urine of babies that had this type of flooring in their bedroom floor. In other studies PVC flooring has been linked to asthma and autism as well as early reproductive changes in infants and children.
Just 30-80 minutes per day of grounding the body can quickly reverse the damaging effects of this all too common separation. Wearing leather soles instead of rubber or plastic soles, running barefoot (much advocated by the Masai), spending time sitting on a wood chair outside, sleeping in a wood-frame bed with natural fabrics and support systems are all ways to bring the electrical charge of the Earth into your body. This may be the most natural way to heal your body every day.