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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

The Importance of Proprioception

As barefooters, I think we’re all pretty much aware of the importance of proprioception, the awareness of our body position which comes from our sense of touch and our perceived motions. It is sometimes called our “sixth sense”.

Unsurprisingly, shoes limit our proprioceptive sense and that can lead to falls and other difficulties.

And you might just bite off your foot.

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Poison (Ivy) Pill

Poison ivy is a real annoyance. For the barefooted its generally not more of a pain than it is for the shod, since the plant needs to be bruised to release its urushiol, which is the chemical that produces an enhanced allergic reaction in the body, and if you are barefoot you are less likely to bruise it. But it is still an annoyance.

Isn’t there anything that can be done about poison ivy?

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Shoddie versus Shoddy

I think that, within the barefooting community, we are all aware of the term “shoddie”. There are some who don’t like it, saying that it can be insulting to habitual shoe-wearers, but I do use it, and I think it aptly describes what’s going on.

I thought I’d start by tossing out a few definitions.

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I haven’t been doing much hiking lately—I’ve just had other things to do and I haven’t made it as much of a priority. But I made it to Hocking Hills last week to do about 8½ miles, and then yesterday I went to Great Seal State Park and did about 5 miles.

And at Great Seal I had something happen that hasn’t happened in along time: I sliced the sole of my foot.

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Maybe it’s time I did a listicle.

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Dr. Lieberman, I Presume?

Dr. Lieberman of Harvard University has yet another new study out, Strike type variation among Tarahumara Indians in minimal sandals versus conventional running shoes. As you can see from the study title, he visited the Tarahumara Indians, who were featured in Born to Run.

What he found is that conventional running shoes really do weird stuff to feet.

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Dr. Lieberman Strikes Again

The barefooters’ friend, Dr. Lieberman of Harvard, is part of a team with a new study out on minimalist shoe running.

The study shows that running in minimalist shoes (and by implication running barefoot) really does strengthen the foot muscles.

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There’s a new health breakthrough related to barefooting that I thought I should report on. It not only can make you feel much better and lead a healthier life, it manages to verify, and then magnify qi.

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BBC 4 (their more eclectic channel) had a very interesting show last week about the human foot. Aside from the fact that they dissected (well, somewhat ) a foot, they also had a few segments on the wonders of the foot in general.

Catch it if you can.

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Nothing New Under the Sun

Or should I say, “Nothing New on the Earth(ing)”. I’ve looked before at earthing, with my Eye on Ions, and even noted a product, Earthrunners, that runs copper studs through sandals, so you can be both shod and grounded simultaneously, practicing Cargo Cult Barefooting.

But there is nothing new under the sun.

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Give Me Some Latitude

In a couple of comments to my entry about the Hasidic dress codes, Victor was curious about how people dressed in New York (or even much of the eastern United States) in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

Weren’t they hot?

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These Feet Were Made for Walkin’

There’s an interesting new study that looks at how our hands and feet are wired in our brains. The results of the study suggest that hands for tool use evolved before feet for walking (the debate is over whether we evolved walking to free up our hands for tool use, or we evolved tool use after our hands were freed up because of upright walking).

But I was fascinated by another aspect of the study.

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Flipping Them Off

For some reason I’ve spent some of the last few entries discussing flip-flops and the myths associated with them. My suspicion is that, because they look pretty close to bare feet, they relie on many of the same barefoot myths and attract the same animus directed towards bare feet.

I thought I’d take a deeper look at the science.

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The F-Word

When it comes to barefooting, there’s an F-Word. And that word is “fetish”. Now, barefooters and foot-fetishists are mostly separate groups, but the overlap can sometimes cause a bit of, shall we say, conflict.

But where does the fetish come from?

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Tetanus and Going Barefoot

Tetanus is often associated with rusty nails and going barefoot.

However, there is a lot of mythology associated with both, and I thought I’d sort that out a bit.

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