Are You Grounded in Summer?
As a young girl growing up on a farm, summertime meant barefoot time––liberating my feet from the snugly fitting shoes I’d worn all winter. Early in the season, I learned to avoid the “sticker-patch.” I vividly remember the deep purple stains on my feet from playing under the mulberry tree. Now that I’m grown with a home of my own, I feel compassion for my mother and the much scolding I received for running through the house leaving purple footprints. Sorry, Mom!
During my professional career as a massage therapist, I began to observe feet in new ways. I learned that the average human foot is made up of 26 bones, 75,000 nerve endings, 33 joints, 125,000 sweat glands, 20 muscles, 114 ligaments, and 12 tendons. Our feet are our physical foundation, giving us stability and security. If we lose our footing, we lose our sense of balance. Feet are our physical mode of transportation.
During these summer months your feet may support your tromping through gardens, running on beaches, or climbing mountain trails. The feet serve as the body’s sensors for disturbance. When you step on uneven ground, your feet send a message to your brain so you can adjust your balance. If the ground is hot, your foot sensors register that in your brain so you can move to cooler ground. And, if you step on something sharp, your foot’s sensory receptors send an urgent message to your brain to react! Now, that’s amazing, anatomical “arch-itecture.”
It’s easy to neglect our feet and even consider them the lowliest part of our body. Simple daily attention may help prevent most foot disorders and even restore and strengthen our feet. Here are some quick and easy summer-sole-savers:
• A cooling, soothing pedicure to promote inner health as well as outward beauty. Hint:
Add a few drops of lavender, peppermint, or tea tree essential oil to the water for a refreshing foot bath. A few drops of lavender oil added to your lotion or foot cream softens and heals cracked heels.
• Before beginning a summer hike, rub a few drops of peppermint essential oil on your feet to keep them cool. Massage the oil into your feet for improved circulation.
• Choose appropriate foot-wear for the occasion to prevent foot injury. Summer is sandal season, but sandals don’t fit every occasion; protect your foundation.
• Wear neuro-technology to restore balance and strength; see the science at:
Summer is a bold and busy season with numerous activities that keep women on the run. I urge you to save a few minutes each day to find a shady place and sit for awhile; kick off your shoes and commune with Nature, calm your spirit, ease your mind, and restore your body.
J.M. Barrie, a Scottish journalist in the late 19th century, said: “Make your feet your friends.” This wise counsel is relevant in all seasons, but particularly in the barefoot season of summer. May your steps be light as you stroll (or sprint!) through summer. Be well, my friends and put your best foot forward! Excerpted from Shine Summer Edition 2009. See all my SHINE articles on the Press & Publications tab of this Blog Post.