Before I began running barefoot it was not uncommon for my feet to hurt, especially at the end of a long day. The arches ached the most, followed closely behind by the ball of my foot, just under my big toe. The pain was enough to make me question why my feet were hurting. I wear the right kinds of shoes to give enough support. Was it because I was on my feet all day? Or was it the stress of my job? I even went so far as to learn about reflexology and how every part of our body is connected to another part. I learned that the arches of my feet corresponded to my lower back. And sure enough, when my arches hurt, so did my lower back and vice verse. I learned that the area under my big toe corresponded to my thyroid. But I didn't know what to do with this information except rub my feet at night (or get my husband to do it :)
Since running barefoot, the skin on the bottoms of my feet have changed. They have taken on a smoother feel, and are thicker, but not callused. The only thing I can relate it to is leather. And I've noticed something else too. My arches don't hurt. Even after a long run they feel great. They are stronger now and bear the weight of my body with ease. And that big lump on the ball of my foot? It has flattened out and no longer hurts either.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but I don't think so.
I can't explain it, but running barefoot is more than just a natural way of moving, it is a healing experience. It is my way of connecting my body to mother earth. And it is a healing/spiritual reconnection event every time I run.