How “tuned in” is your nervous system? Advances in barefoot science
by Dr. Emily Splichal DPM, MS
Cell phones, billboards, TV ads, fit bits. Now, more than ever, our nervous system is continuously being over-stimulated with information. You may be thinking this would cause us to be hyper alert, when in fact, the result is a shutdown or “tuning out” of external noise we experience everyday.
This concept of “tuning out” can also be applied to someone who lives in an urban setting and eventually doesn’t notice the constant honking and construction of the busy city streets. Or a mother who is able to function quite normally with screaming children in the background.
The Essential Noise of Human Movement
If we take this one step further, we can also apply this concept to human movement and the demands of our nervous system to maintain dynamic balance and postural control during a simple exercise like walking.
In the case of human movement, the “noise” that enters the nervous system would be proprioceptive information such as vibration, joint capsule stretch, texture, tension, etc. This proprioceptive noise is essential for proper activation of muscle sequences and time to stabilization for efficient loading and unloading of impact forces.
The Foot is the Gateway to Essential Noise
With the foot as the only contact point between the body and the ground – much of this “noise” enters our nervous system through the feet. If this foot “noise” is tuned out or unable to be sensed by the nervous system inaccurate movement patterns and delayed time to stabilization (i.e. injury) is the result.
One of the biggest causes or reasons for the inability to sense the essential noise of human movement is footwear. Thick, cushioned, supportive footwear with smooth insoles completely “tunes out” the foot during dynamic movement.
The cushion in shoes absorbs the vibration noise during foot contact. Smooth insoles and socks block the skin stretch and texture perception during locomotion. And thick soles shift proprioceptive feedback away from the foot and into muscle tendon reflexes – which are large nerve, reactive, slower responses.
Textured Insoles Tune the Foot to Noise
This April 2017 Naboso Technology launched the first-ever small nerve proprioceptive insoles which are designed to continuously provide the essential noise of the foot during dynamic movement. This better allows the nervous system to auto-adjust with each shift in the center of gravity or with each foot contact with the ground.
A 2015 study by Lipsitz et al. found that using low-grade vibratory insoles providing sub sensory “noise” improved postural control and reduced gait variability in seniors. Another study by David et al. further explored the role of textural “noise” of insoles and the role it played on ankle proprioception in male soccer players. Interestingly, those subjects with textured insoles reported faster ankle joint position sense and higher force production.
“Tune In” with Barefoot Training Every Day
Another great way to keep the foot “tuned in” to stimulation is to integrate barefoot stimulation on a daily basis. This means no socks. No shoes. No soft squishy mats.
Barefoot stimulation enhances the proprioceptors on the feet – keeping them sharp, responsive and functioning as an integrated part of your natural movement.
To learn more about the Naboso Barefoot Insoles please visit www.nabosotechnology.com
Check Out Dr. Emily at Boston MANIA®
To register for her sessions at Boston MANIA® click the button below. She will be presenting this concept on Friday Dec 13 at 1pm and Sunday Dec 15 at 9am!
About the Author, Dr. Emily Splichal DPM, MS
Dr. Emily Splichal, Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist, is the Founder of the Evidence Based Fitness Academy, Creator of the Barefoot Training Specialist®, BarefootRx® and BARE® Workout Certifications and Inventor of Naboso Barefoot Technology. With over 16 years in the fitness industry, Dr Splichal has dedicated her medical career towards studying postural alignment and human movement as it relates to barefoot science, foot to core integration and from the ground up training.