Natural biofeedback is the gathering of information from body receptors in order to monitor and fine-tune body functions. The brain relies on sensory receptors to gather that information.
There are three types of receptors in the human body: exteroceptors, interoceptors and proprioceptors. Exteroceptors gather information from the outside world; interoceptors gather information from internal organs and proprioceptors keep track of body position. When the brain issues a command to move it receives biofeedback from receptors to ensure that the movement is going as planned (Yep, that hurts my brain to read!).
When walking, much of that biofeedback comes from exteroceptors in the soles of the feet.
With an estimated 100,000 - 200,000 exteroceptors in the sole of each foot, your feet are among the most nerve-rich parts of your body. This fact alone should demonstrate the importance of touch to walking and the benefit of going barefoot for walking properly. But why are there so many nerve endings in the feet? How do those sensitive soles aid walking?
Stand up and walk around (barefoot). When standing and walking, the sole of your foot is the sole part of your body in touch with the environment. Sensory information from the foot is used to protect the foot itself from injury, but it’s also used by the brain to make subtle adjustments in your gait to protect bones and joints all the way up your body and to maximize the efficiency of your movements. In others words, it makes walking more fluid and graceful and safe. It takes only milliseconds for sensory information from your foot to reach your brain and for your brain to respond by making adjustments to muscles in your legs, back and arms. By contrast, walking in shoes is far more clumsy and inefficient due to impaired biofeedback. Muscle contractions, impact forces and joint range-of-motion are measurably different when barefoot.
So often we have clients come into our clinic with sore backs and often the cause of these starts in their feet, through their calves, into their hamstrings and in the butt (or gluts as we call them!). We work on your feet as a starting point to release the rest of your body.