I’ve become fascinated with the benefits of stone trays and cobblestone mats.
I believe we spend the majority of our waking hours in a seated position and most often, it’s the same exact one: sitting in an office-type chair, our favourite comfy chair, or we’re seated in our vehicles.
There are 7200 nerve endings on the soles of each of our feet and we have reflexes in our feet which correspond to every part, gland, and organ of our body. What we do to our feet affects us in many ways.
We all know the perfect flat surfaces we walk on throughout the day aren’t found in the natural world.
Before we bi-peds wore any kind of shoes, our feet passed along sensory information to the brain to help us make decisions about how and where we walked. Our footsteps required a variety of different muscles in the feet, legs and torso to work for each step we took. Once we encased our feet in shoes, the communication link between our feet and the natural world was cut off. And, our fascia was affected. Particularly the fascia in our feet.
More is being learned about fascia and the important role it plays in movement. Fascia is more than the “cling film” around muscles, Fascia is a fibrous and gelatinous bodywide web. It is the interconnected soft-tissue scaffolding that gives your body form and shape. Recent studies believe that ligaments and tendons are also part of the fascial web. It provides structure and transmits messages to our body.
When we walk barefoot or wear minimal shoes either outdoors or on cobblestones or stand on a stone tray, we are providing stimulation to the foot musculature that in turn adapts by becoming stronger.
If it hurts at first, and most likely it will, especially in specific areas, this means your feet need the stimulation they’re getting by being barefoot. Over time, these sensitivities will go away, and the areas the tenderness corresponds to will be rejuvenated. This in turn helps decrease the symptoms of whatever it is that ails you.
Walking this way improves your balance, coordination, helps reduce blood pressure and improves circulation. Sounds like a good thing to me. (As Martha Stewart was fond of saying.)
A cobblestone mat or a stone tray provides foot reflexology and a wonderful foot massage all in one.
The study I link to below shows that a daily barefoot walk on a this type of mat improves overall physical and mental well-being.
Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 2003,11, 488-502
© 2003 Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
I encourage you to let your feet express themselves. Walk around barefoot whenever you can. Invest in minimal shoes rather than runners and flip-flops. Vary the types of surfaces you walk on throughout the day. And, finally, consider buying or making a cobblestone mat for your office or your home to stimulate the soles of your feet.
Here are a few pictures of the simple stone tray I made. I have it near my desk. I love the variety of sensations I experience when I stand on it.
I wish you a many-pebbled path,