But when I’ve been raving and blogging about places been and the things seen, one thing just doesn’t get enough care or credit. And that, dear reader, is my poor old feet. And I would wager I am not the only one who gives minimal thought to foot health far too much of the time. And, no, painting toenails in an attempt to keep feet vaguely photogenic doesn’t count , really.
On return from our travels, I had to admit I hadn’t given my feet a fighting chance. My footwear on this trip had been almost always my trusty Havainas flip-flops (even on that day long hike through the vineyards) and occasionally a pair of smarter sandals or trainers. Nothing really made to support the feet when on them all day, every day. So no surprise that my poor old feet felt like they needed to do something beneficial to them. Cue a visit to our local Bare Foot Trail.
The Barefoot trail or Barfußpark is something I had never heard about before moving to Germany, but something I embrace the benefits of now. A 1km walk made up of different surfaces designed to exercise and massage the feet. It is believed the different textures and surfaces exercise, massage and stretch the twenty-six bones, thirty or so joints and many muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up our feet. Additionally, walking barefoot is said to help us recover our natural gait, something that can be thrown off by badly fitting or trend led footwear and help stimulate the reflexology points of the feet. All of that aside, it just feels really, really good!
The trail is designed to expose the feet to many textures and challenges. From warm bark to a cold stream, grass to stone and even a pit of clay. I was not so keen on the texture or smell of the clay pit but, as the husband pointed out, I smear similar stuff on my face, it just comes beautifully scented and packaged. He has a point.
The walk ends at a seating area with an old-fashioned pump and trough to be used to clean any lingering bits of clay or dirt from your feet.
Walking barefoot. Children seem to do it without a second thought. As adults we are trained not to. It’s not polite, and , depending on where you live, possibly just not a good idea. But the benefits are many and varied, and walking the bare foot path with its different surfaces allows you to embrace all of them, in an environment designed just for that. Walking the trail made me realise that although we use our feet daily, we have lost touch with using them in the way they are naturally created to feel and flex.
Getting outdoors and barefoot is a great way to relax and reconnect with the natural world. It is a great way to soothe an overworked mind as well as over worked feet… a bit like pressing a reset button. Modern life is great and I love a fashionable shoe as much as anybody, but dont underestimate the benefits of going back to barefoot basics.
Until next time,