One of my long-time customers in the specialty chemical business (indeed, the coach’s OTHER career!) is a Portugese senior citizens’ apartment in Toronto, Canada. As such, I have become good friends with the management team who in turn have long-standing relationships with many of the residents.
During a recent visit (remember – this is February, the height of our winter season), I entered the office wearing my Vibram Five Fingers with the 3/4 length Barefoot-Science insert system (see photo below).This led to questions like “aren’t your feet cold”, “don’t your feet hurt” and so on. I explained that running and exercising barefoot in all kinds of weather conditions over the past 15 years had toughened my feet to the point where I didn’t feel the cold down to -20 Celsius or so. I also mentioned that injuries to my legs, hips and back were a thing of the past. My customers commented on how much pain they were in from heel spurs, bunions, low back pain and various other ailments. I proceeded to assess their bare feet and functional strength (they had flat feet and virtually no upper body strength). Maria (see photo below) could not take a step without severe pain in her right leg. Her right foot
was an anatomical mess. You can see how her head is falling forward, arms are hanging in front of her legs, shoulders are slumped forward, right hip is dropping down and right foot is collapsing in. These are all signs of being locked in flexor mode and asymmetrical from the hips down. Maria has been in pain for over 1 year and could barely walk into the office. Her doctor said this was a “minor problem” and to “take tylenol and rest”. As amazing as that sounds, she was even prescribed orthotics that made her pain worse.Pre-Barefoot Science inserts being put in, Maria had to stop after walking 15 steps to massage her right leg – the pain was that severe. The shot of Maria walking away from me shows even more graphically her forward lean and feet and knees buckling in – putting incredible strain on her feet, ankles and back.
Immediately upon putting in the 3/4 length Barefoot-Science inserts (Level 1 of 7) to Maria’s shoes, she broke into a big smile, commenting on how she felt the activation in her arches and a slight mitigation of her pain. I proceeded to have her take 300 steps in the apartment lobby.Notice how her shoulders are back, her head is lined up over her hips, her hands are swinging forward and back smoothly and her knees and feet are squared up – no collapsing nor turning in. This shift became more pronounced as Maria continued to walk.
I re-tested her upper body strength and could not force her arms down to her body whilst without the inserts, I could easily push her arms down to her sides. This indicated a complete activation of her body from the arches of her feet – what I call the power source. The inserts were simply turning on Maria’s proprioceptive activation centre. In turn, the rest of her body was activated which properly aligned her and took direct pressure off the feet. She was so overcome with excitement that she ran down the hallway repeatedly – the 1st time she’d been pain-free in over 1 year.
From there, my customers who run the building both wanted the inserts for problems similar to Maria’s. They also noticed instant changes that mirrored Maria’s. Even the old coach was somewhat amazed by the positive transition in all 3 ladies. To actually fix them when all they’d known was pain for so long overwhelmed me.
For those of you living in needless soft tissue and joint pain, be proactive. Get barefoot as often as possible and wear barefoot-science inserts when you wear any form of ‘coffin’ (shoe) to strengthen your feet, square up the body and activate your complete neuromuscular system.
Check out my website (www.naturalrunning.ca) and click on Affiliates to find out more about Barefoot-Science inserts.