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Sue Regan Kenney
We’ve had lots of snow in Muskoka and that makes it easy to complain about the weather. What if you could learn to love the cold and snow naturally so you could embrace it as a biohack to a healthier life filled with joy? I have a solution. All you have to do is begin to put your bare feet on the cold ground or snow. This is not crazy. It’s smart.
We have over 200,000 sensory receptors on the soles of our feet and they have a function.
Their job is to tell the brain about the environment your body is in at that moment so that it can command the body to adapt. If your feet are covered up with shoes or boots, the receptors cannot accurately sense and therefore the brain and body are completely unaware of the environmental factors, ecological factors, or eco factors that can influence our body as a living organism. When this happens, we can no longer adapt to changes naturally and with ease. Instead we have to put ourselves into the future, by thinking about what could happen, and this adds a level of fear. Then we must rely on our conscious ability to determine accurately how to survive in the environment, without being uncomfortable.
We have become slaves to comfort. We overdress for the weather, to try and stay as warm as
possible. We heat our cars up before we get into them, we keep our homes extra warm in the
winter and then freezing cold in the summer. Our goal is to avoid discomfort at all costs.
By doing this, our brain and body never have the chance to use the adaption response we
have had since the beginning of our time on earth. Like any muscle, sensory receptor, or neural pathway, if it’s not being used it will atrophy.
When we wear shoes, we are completely disconnected from nature.
To be connected, all you have to do is go barefoot for some time every day. The longer you can stay unshod, the better. There’s no need to wear shoes or slippers in the house.
If there’s snow, go outside and take the opportunity to put your feet on the cold fluffy ground.
With this biohack, you will fire up the sensory receptors on the soles of your feet and your brain will kick into gear too. Stand in the snow for 10 or 20 seconds to start. Think of the cold (or what might feel like pain to you) as a ‘sensation’. This sensation is a bioelectric signal that is sent to the brain via neuro pathways. When the brain receives it, it responds by first making sure the core body and brain is warm and when it’s safe, it will begin to send warm blood to the feet.
After you experience the sensation of cold, go back indoors and let your feet warm up naturally. You will notice that each day you do this, it gets easier and is less “painful”. The next time you go outside, try to add a few more seconds. Of course you need to be aware of the temperature outside and adjust your time in the snow accordingly so you don’t get frostbite. Soon you will love the sensations and might even crave them like I do.
Keep being cool.
Sue Regan Kenney