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Barefoot baby: how shoes are dis-connecting our children from great health

19 Jun

IMG_1104Once your child begins to walk, the next event many parents get excited about is the first trip to buy the first pair of shoes; some parents get so excited about shoes that they put them on their baby’s feet before they can walk and sometimes even before they can crawl!

Shoes that are commonly worn today ,with rubber insulating souls, are a very new invention in the history of man’s evolution. For eons of years men, women and children roamed the earth with their bare feet and slept and sat directly in contact with the earth’s surface. In extreme cold weathers they may have also wrapped conductive animal skin around their feet and under their bodies whilst they slept for extra warmth but the body was in contact directly with the earth’s energy for at least 80% of the time. Nowadays due to insulating shoes, raised beds, synthetic carpets in our homes and artificial carrying devices for children our human race is now directly connecting with the earth less than 1% of the time, 0.025% to be exact or just 10 minutes a month.

So why should this matter? Does your child like to run their hands along a brick wall whilst being pushed along in a buggy? Have you ever wondered why so many children ask to take their shoes off whilst outdoors? Have you ever noticed small babies chewing on the metal chain of a swing and wondered why they find it so appetising?

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The answer lies in the earth’s natural medicine that can bring health and happiness back to us all. The earth acts like a giant, constant, self regenerating battery, re-charged by lightning storms with a never-ending supply of free electrons also known as negative ions. For those of you who are scientifically minded check out this interesting study (http://electromagnetic-pollution.com/attachments/EFX_science_Ober_chronicInflammation1.pdf).If you’re confused then stay with me and I’ll break it down…

Our bodies are full of cells which all have an electrical charge to keep them functioning effectively. The movement of nutrients and water into and out of the cells is regulated by these electric fields. The atoms that make up our cells each have a pair of electrons whizzing round them in constant orbit. When our bodies are attacked by stressors such as electromagnetic pollution from mobile phone masts and domestic appliances, a process known as free radical damage takes place. Free radicals are solo electrons which want to pair up with a second electron; in the process they rob an electron from the next stable pair that they come across. To understand this better consider a single person running off with someone else’s partner and breaking up their relationship. This then results in a domino effect for surrounding coupled electrons. The single electron becomes unstable, without a partner, and in search of a new mate then steals off the next pair it comes across….quite the home wrecker!

This process is how inflammation and disease is created. “A build-up of free radicals over time will wreak havoc with your immunity by causing a cascade of cellular destruction; all because these little molecules are electrically unstable and require a ‘donation’ of an electron to stop the damage from continuing.” (http://www.bdlive.co.za/blogs/health/2013/05/29/earth-yourself-the-benefits-of-barefoot-healing)

Fortunately for us planet earth has created a way to help guard against the body’s damaging attack on itself. Much like plugs and electrical devices have a grounding wires to stop any interference in the signal occurring, we humans too have the ability to directly re-connect to the earth which provides us with a constant flow of free electrons. These free electrons act like speed daters; they will happily pair up and prevent those free radicals from interfering and breaking up the healthy relationships by donating them a flow of new partners to satisfy their pairing needs.

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The higher up from the earth we travel, the more positive charge we experience. This is often noticed as static charge in our hair or an electric shock when touching a door handle; something we experience more in the winter time when we are least connected to the earth and the air is artificially heated, creating friction and more positive charge. The earth has an abundant supply of negatively charged ions which neutralise the effect of electromagnetic pollution in the atmosphere around us.

Grounding or earthing is a process which not only aids in decreasing inflammation (which is the root to most disease) it also improves immune function and helps to regulate body temperature and circadian rhythms (sleep wake cycles). As a result, the more grounded you can become the better you sleep, the less cold you feel, the less you will ‘catch bugs’  and the less pain, inflammation and depression you experience.

The key to connecting back to this vital healing source is to allow yourself and your children to go barefoot on the earth and touch it  directly with the skin as much as possible. It’s important to realise that only natural materials conduct the earth’s free electrons, not man-made insulating materials.

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Natural Materials:

grass, mud, metal (unpainted), cotton, linen, bamboo, trees and plants, human and animal skin/hair (e.g. leather), glass and sand, marble, concrete, stones, tiles and brick, natural bodies of water such as lakes, sea, rivers and even running water coming directly on to the skin from taps and the shower through metal pipes.

Man-made synthetic materials which insulate and therefore do not conduct:

plastic, synthetic rubber (incl. souls of shoes and pushchair wheels), polyester and acrylic (clothing and fabrics), carpets, dead and treated wood (decking and flooring), tarmac, chemical coatings in paint, bath tub, lined paddling and swimming pools.

In addition to the numerous benefits of grounding, going barefoot also enables healthy development of the muscles in the feet and creates correct spinal alignment. If your child has collapsed arches or balance and postural problems one of the first things a chiropractor will encourage is to take off their shoes and give your child more barefoot time.

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Perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving this may be the fear of your little one treading on something sharp or undesirable. My little one walks barefoot on seemingly sharp and rugged surfaces all the time including pebble beaches and wood chips; due to the lack of tension in his legs and body he does not feel pain like we adults might do. If you do still want them to have some layer of protection there are now leather moccasin slipper style shoes for ALL ages to give protection to the feet when the weather is dry/cold. Don’t forget that even these wont keep your kids grounded if they aren’t wearing natural cotton fibre socks underneath. (http://www.star-child.co.uk/)

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It can also be difficult to ground if you live in a particularly cold or wet climate; it’s much more appealing to take your shoes off and jump in a lake or the sea to have a grounding swim when it’s warm outside. The cheapest way to combat this is to encourage your kids to go climbing and touching the living trees more often, rolling in the grass and playing in the sand pits getting their hands dirty. For young babies you can wear them in a sling and through touching your skin and connecting to your electron flow they will also be grounding. At least 30 minutes a day of making direct contact with the earth can make a huge difference to your child’s health, try it and see for yourself!

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If you have a little more cash to splash there are some great products which allow you to sleep grounded in bed using a cotton and silver threaded sheet connected to the earthing prong in a plug socket. This increases your connection to the earth to nearly half of the time. There are also handy conductive grounding mats, also plugged in to a socket and are especially useful for putting under little feet whilst playing the computer or watching a film. (http://www.earthing.com/)

Next time your kids ask to take their shoes off instead of worrying about the dirt and the cold think of it as a nutritional supplement boost of free electrons which will help to calm, regulate, restore and re-balance them…..and after they’ve finished there’s always wet wipes for a quick and easy clean.

For more information on going barefoot and its benefits, read the book ‘Earthing’ by Clinton Ober.

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Mama’s natural cures: environmental allergens and mouldy nightmares

5 Apr

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Spring time, a beautiful time of year when nature wakes up and displays it’s beauty. The sun begins to shine more and the buds burst with new life. On a less joyful note the pretty flowers and fresh green shoots also bring with them an onslaught of environmental, airborne allergens such as pollen and mould spores.

if you have a child who is either highly sensitive, has a leaky gut or challenged immune system there is a possibility they may also suffer from allergic reactions to airborne particles that can be a harmless threat to others.

i have personal experience of coping with a child from newborn to toddler with a severe allergy to mould spores and the most challenging aspect is accepting that you can run but cannot hide from these invaders.

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Here’s a list of common symptoms of an airborne environmental allergy such as mould in young babies:

  • Frequently swollen tongue accompanied with excessive dribbling.
  • Frequent red, runny  eyes.
  • Difficulty breastfeeding, often making a loud gulping sound to suggest restricted passage down the throat.
  • Extreme red skin rashes similar in appearance to burnt skin.
  • Intense cradle cap followed by hair loss.
  • Asthma attacks/ breathing difficulties such as frequently gasping for breath.
  • Excessive sweating during nap times, often with an odour of mildew. Frequent night terrors, even  during day time naps.
  • Unexplained prolonged crying episodes, especially during the lung time of 4-6pm/am, liver time from 1-3am/pm nd also from 9-11pm when the energy accumulates in the body.
  • Ongoing colic accompanied often by chronic constipation.

As baby turns into toddler some of the more severe symptoms may lessen such as asthma and skin rashes. With our little one the breathing attacks calmed down and only returned during intense emotional stress. Although dry painful stools cleared up, the irregular passing of bowel movements has continued due to mental rejection and fear of past painful passage. Furthermore, strong emotions of irritability, anger and dis-combobulation often re-appear during those healing times of day mentioned above, especially if the weather has been particularly damp with a lack of sun. Also, mood alterations increase during the mouldy seasons of late autumn into winter and early spring.

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During an unexpected 2 month trip to the mediterranean island of Gozo during our little one’s first year we discovered a welcome reprieve from all symptoms and sleep difficulties. In an ideal world we now know the ideal climate in which to raise a child with such sensitivities. As the Mediterranean climate is so hot and dry most of the year, this makes for a perfect environment where mould cannot proliferate. If like us however, you find yourselves residing in drearier climates like the UK here are some natural remedies and practical tips you can use to help manage the problem.

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  • Stock up on CLOVE OIL, dilute some in a spray bottle with water and clean your surfaces with it daily. Use an oil diffuser, especially during the night with a few drops of clove oil
  • Feed your child raw MUSHROOMS, even though they are a fungus they  work on a ‘like treats like’ basis. Lion heart herbs company does an amazing chocolate tasting super smoothie mix which tastes great and is packed full of medicinal mushroom extracts and anti-fungal, immune boosting herbs.
  • When the immune system is shot and there is mucus overload, add super loaded vitamin c CAMU CAMU berry powder to fresh apple juice for your child.
  • FOODS good for healing the lungs, the intestines and clearing up damp, fungus and mucus in the body include fresh, organic and raw: apples, beetroot, turmeric root, ginger root, cinnamon, olive oil, coconut oil, lemons, oranges, berries, dark leafy greens, garlic, pink or grey/brown sea and rock salt, seaweed, flax seed, plums/prunes and celery.
  • AVOID peanuts as they can contain a mould toxin. Limit dairy, especially cheeses as this can aggravate a mould sensitivity. Also bananas and wheat can be mucus producing.
  • Use pure PAW PAW ointment and fresh ALOE VERA to sooth even the most red raw of skin rashes.
  • Exposure of skin to SUNLIGHT without sun screen barriers is deeply healing for clearing mould out of the system. Make sure to limit direct exposure during the hottest hours 11-3pm.
  • Ease breathing attacks with HOT STEAM SHOWER BLASTS to create a steam room atmosphere which will help open up the lungs. A few drops of eucalyptus oil will help further
  • Invest in a DE-HUMIDIFIER for each room your child spends most of their time in.
  • Adapt to a more OXYGEN RICH living environment in your home. Make sure air can be re-circulated in all rooms especially the bathroom. Incorporate plenty of green plants (Peace Lilly is good for combating mould spores) round your home and ensure fresh air is replenished daily, ideally in the mornings by opening all the windows for a while.
  • Avoid living in MOULD HAVENS such as damp basement flats, rotting buildings and residences without enough windows or any outside space to dry damp washing.
  • Take REGULAR DAILY WALKS in nature with your child to oxygenate their bodies. A walk by the sea is especially helpful to heal lungs, also a salt lamp in the home can be beneficial.

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Finally, remember that allergens challenge the liver. Considering the fact that all drugs also tax the liver you may want to consider whether it is worth administering these to your child as a first resort.

All these natural remedies have come as a result of being challenged with learning how to bring back balance to my little one’s health in a way that respects the body’s natural delicate ecosystem. Even though this experience has been emotional and at many times overwhelming, I thank it for the lessons it has bought me to pay attention to what’s going on around us, inside and out.

 

(Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner and do not give medical advice.)