© Amy Fewell

My son is a barefoot child—wild and free. He most likely inherited it from me, his mother. When that springtime weather hits, I’m in the garden barefoot. Of course, I’mt not walking all over gravel and through the woods like he is, but I absolutely love gardening barefoot. There’s just something extraordinarily human about it—feeling connected to the earth, the soil, the anticipation of new life springing out of it.

The reality, however, is that gardening barefoot—just as with gardening with your hands in the dirt—is not only therapeutic, but extremely beneficial to your health.

It’s A Natural Thing

According to Patrick McKeon, a professor in Ithaca College’s School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, barefoot activities can greatly improve balance and posture and prevent common injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, bursitis, and tendonitis in the Achilles tendon.

When we walk barefoot, the smaller muscles in our feet talk to the large muscles in our legs, therefore creating a deeper, more strengthened core. But when that feedback is disrupted by shoes or boots, we lose the advantage of building our body core. The simplest way to reintroduce the feedback provided by the small muscles of the foot is to shed footwear when possible. And what better way to begin than by gardening!

Barefoot Gardening - Benefits of Walking Barefoot
Source: Fix.com Blog

Reduces Stress, Muscle Pain, and Tension

Our feet are one of the greatest gateways into our bodies. There are thousands of pores on the bottom of our feet, which is why many things like essential oils and herbal remedies are often applied to the feet for quicker absorption.

Dirt has beneficial  nutrients and antioxidants within it. And as proven time and time again, antioxidants can ride the body of inflammation and help reduce toxins, therefore reducing stress, muscle pain, and tension that’s within your body.

Some of the very same minerals that are found in the earth are also found in your body. Our bodies and our soil are made up of the same exact minerals. Pulling ourselves closer to the soil, and therefore allowing those rich minerals to penetrate into our pores, helps replenish mineral deficiencies and promote overall good health.

Barefoot Gardening - The Chinese Art of Reflexology
Source: Fix.com Blog
Ultimately, the moral of this story is, go garden in the dirt! Your health will benefit greatly, and you might even enjoy it!

Amy Fewell is the Founder of Homesteaders of America, and the author of The Fewell Homestead blog. She is a writer, photographer, and aspiring herbalist.