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New health phenomenon: barefoot walking


Walking in a park through a hiking trail in Daemosan, certain types of hikers catch your eye: barefoot walkers hiking on yellow clay soil. 

Ever since the fad caught on, new practitioners have increased every day to hike along the low-hill trails in various regions of the country. Because of its booming popularity, regions like Seoul, along with Yongin, Hanam, and Ulsan, have worked to construct new barefoot walking trails in their local parks. 

Barefoot walking, also known as grounding or earthing, is known to have various health benefits. When connecting the body to the Earth by walking barefoot, the exchange of electrons is facilitated which neutralizes the free radicals—highly reactive molecules that extract electrons to gain stability—in our body. Studies have shown that this practice helps decrease fatigue, reduces inflammation, and increases blood flow. Walking around barefoot can also activate all five senses, helping to improve retention. 

Not only does grounding have a positive impact on physical health, but it also improves one’s mental health since various parts of our body and brain are stimulated. Research shows that grounding reduces stress, pain, and anxiety, therefore improving many mental health conditions. 

“I got back my confidence and health as I see my body get its flexibility back little by little through earthing,” Choi Jin Ok, a stroke survivor and a practitioner of barefoot walking, said. “People recommended me to do earthing and now I do the same to others.”

Many also reported that they sleep better after hiking around the trails barefoot and go hiking instead of going to the hospital. 

“I go on hikes sometimes during the weekend and I’ve seen a lot of older men and women walking barefoot around the trails,” Adelyn Yim (10) said. “When I saw that for the first time, I definitely thought it was unusual, but I do understand why they think it’s healthy and good for their wellness. It is pretty interesting to hear about stories of people’s health problems improving through this which makes barefoot walking more intriguing.”

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About the Contributor
Taerin Kim
Taerin Kim, Reporter
Taerin Kim is a sophomore reporter of Tiger Times Online. In her free time, she likes to play guitar and watch TV shows, especially in the genre of comedy. If you have any TV show recommendations, please don’t hesitate to approach her! 

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