Balance Should Not Be A Challenge
Natural Cobblestone Path
Remember what it was like to move with carefree confidence?
You can relive the experience of safe, secure mobility with
the Eas-i-Chi Balance Program.
Using an innovative form of simple
tai chi technique and acupressure stimulation, this program
encourages neuro-muscular integration and creates a soothing effect
that actually relieves pain and discomfort in other extremities and
Introduction to Barefoot Walking and the Eas-i-Chi Concept
Going Barefoot and Mat Walking.
"You want me to what? Take off my shoes and walk barefoot over those stones!
Are you crazy?!? Just heat up the hot coals and be done with it!!"
...Admittedly, there’s something counterintuitive about the idea that less
padding on your foot equals less shock to the body. But that’s only if we
continue to think of our feet as lifeless blocks of flesh that hold us upright.
The sole of your foot has over 200,000
nerve endings in it, one of the highest
concentrations anywhere in the body. Our feet are designed to act as
, helping us balance and transmitting information to us about the ground
we’re walking on.
But (you might point out) if you walk or run with no
padding, it’s murder on your heels—which is precisely the point. Your heels
hurt when you walk that way because you’re not supposed to walk that way.
Wrapping your heels in padding so they don’t hurt is like stuffing a gag in
someone’s mouth so they’ll stop screaming—you’re basically telling your heels to
And your heels aren’t just screaming; they’re trying to tell you
something. In 2006, a group of rheumatologists at Chicago’s Rush Medical
studied the force of the “knee adduction moment”
—basically, the force of
torque on the medial chamber of the knee joint where arthritis occurs.
years, rheumatologists have advised patients with osteoarthritis of the knees to
wear padded walking shoes, to reduce stress on their joints. As for the
knee-adduction moment, they’ve attempted to address it with braces and orthotics
that immobilize the knee, but with inconsistent results. So the researchers at
Rush tried something different: they had people walk in their walking shoes,
, and each time measured the stress on their knees. They found, to
their surprise, that the impact on the knees was 12 percent less when people
than it was when people wore the padded shoes.
Okay, so much
for less impact.
But, wait just a minute, how do I walk on this path
doing myself a world of hurt?
You're so right! The average shoe wearer has
had so much support and padding that his/her intrinsic foot muscles and
ligaments are relatively weak and soft. If one doesn't gradually ramp up their
barefoot activity, one is asking for a world of pain. Plus, our proprioception
and joint mobility decrease with the "dis-use" of age.
What to do???
to Walk Barefoot, across a Mat...
It makes a huge difference -- not
only in learning how to adjust to being barefoot on a rough surface -- but what
you experience in nature and what you miss.
So here's how to "walk" the
It’s all about placing your foot on the ground BEFORE you put your weight
on it, so that your center of gravity is in your hips. This influences you to
take shorter strides. In slow-motion you would:
- Touch the outside edge of
your foot to the ground.
- Roll your foot inward until it is flat on the
- Before adding your weight, is there a sharp stone, a rounded branch
or any other object that would irritate your foot?
- If so, reposition your
- Transfer your weight to your foot.
- Repeat with your other foot.
ends up being much much easier to walk barefoot, so practicing on the Chi
at home or in your yard boosts this ability.
What are other benefits
of this barefoot walking technique?
You actually increase your chances of seeing and
hearing birds and other wildlife, while your sense of smell and touch become
enhanced through better focus.
Once out-of-doors and far afield (perhaps with
hiking boots on) you’ll be amazed at how much less noise you make while walking.
Like any other technique, it takes time to master. Using the steps prescribed
in the Eas-i-Chi Practical Application Booklet
(Based on the
Principles of the QEF Balance Program) and accompanying all mats, you practice moving and thinking: set
foot down, roll, and transfer weight with each step. Eventually the rhythm and
pattern becomes second nature.
An added benefit is that your mind slows down,
distracting thoughts melt away and you notice details and subtleties that often
fade into the background when you’re hiking at warp speed.
As some practitioners consider Eas-i-Chi a form of meditation.; in this tumultuous world,
that’s also a nice added benefit isn't it?
And, throughout our site we have included information on Falls, Fall prevention,
Why Balance Matters, the QEF Eas-i-Chi Program, and other QEF Programs.
There are links to sites that explain the science of balance, and a particular
focus on Mature balance. Enjoy!