The product is shoes - - - The
passion is health
by: Mel Cheskin MBS.,C.Ped.
July 23, 2003
The ESD Journal presents the following
paper by Mel Cheskin for our readers interest. We have not verified
any of the presented concepts. Enjoy!
According to shoe industry expert Dr. William A Rossi, the shoe
industry has been stuck in a rut for the past 15-20 years. Bill
should know, as the most prolific commentator on footwear in the
world with a dozen books and over 2,000 published articles to his
credit, his opinion should be valued. "We have stopped being
creative. Yes, there were plenty of innovative ideas, but most of
them with about 15 minutes of fame. They didn't have enough staying
power to establish a trend and stimulate consumer demand."
It's true most of the major trends in footwear such as anatomical
footbeds, midsole cushioning, air bags and weight reduction were
introduced in the biomechanical era of the '70's.
Bill Rossi isn't just one of those
critics who can point to a problem but offer no solution. To observe
a slump in the athletic and casual shoe business doesn't take an
expert. Just ask anyone in sales at the retail or wholesale level
for verification. Is it time to consider a new feature in footwear?
Is there such a concept on the horizon? Is there another beneficial
feature that could be incorporated into footwear that's not another
version of an already established comfort or performance feature?
Are we limited to weight reduction, comfort, transpiration and biomechanical
In an article written by Dr. Rossi
and published in 1997 (FN) he goes into great detail to tell us
the answer. Here are some extracts from Rossi's article "Walking
on touch-deadened feet". So get ready for a fresh perspective
on shoes. "The sole (or plantar surface) of the foot is richly
covered with some 1,300-nerve endings per square inch. That's more
than found on any other part of the body of comparable size. Why
are so may nerve endings concentrated there? To keep us 'in touch'
with the earth. The real physical world around us. It's called 'sensory
response'. The foot is the vital link between the person and the
earth. The paws of all animals are equally rich in nerve endings.
The earth is covered with an electromagnetic layer. It's this that
creates the sensory response in our feet and the paws of animals.
Try walking barefoot on the ground for a couple of minutes. Sensor
response feeds the foot with jump-start energy furnished by the
earth's geomagnetic field."
The phenomenon of terrestrial magnetism
results from the fact that the entire earth behaves as an enormous
magnet. The intensity of the magnetic field of the earth varies
in different places on its surface (0.5 - 0.7 Gauss). The three
electrical systems generated in the earth and atmosphere are known
natural geophysical processes. One of them is in the atmosphere,
and one is within the earth, flowing parallel to the surface of
the earth. The third, which transfers an electric charge continuously
between the atmosphere and the earth, flows vertically. The surface
of the earth has a negative charge of electricity. Although the
conductivity of air near the earth is small, air is not a perfect
insulator, and the negative charge would drain off quickly if it
were not being ontinuously replenished in some way.
"Modern shoe soles give us adequate
wear (and protection) but they also impair the feeling of ground
which is so important to the foot's sensory response. The bottoms
of our footwear are virtually 'deadened'. A cross section of a shoe
- reveals several layers: outsole, midsole, insole filler material,
footbed, cushioning, sockliner. An almost total blockout of sensory
response. The geomagnetic field covering our planet feeds energy
into our bodies - every living thing, including human beings, draws
energy from this field through its feet, paws or roots.
Is this beginning to read like - far
out or Far East esoteric stuff? Far from it. This isn't science
fiction nor is it the other side of the ginseng line. We in the
shoe business know quite a lot about biomechanics but what do we
know about bioelectromagnetism?
cultures have taught us for thousands of years about the importance
of 'Energy Flow' and 'Life Force'. Ever heard of Qi, Chi Gong or
Chakra? Even in Greek mythology there is a story of Hercules and
his struggle to defeat the God who drew his strength from the earth.
Western science has an edict never to accept any anecdotal or theoretical
doctrine without statistically significant evidence. There is a
vast amount of scientific evidence concerning body electricity;
we call it Bioelectromagnetism or Biomagnetism. It's the emergent
science that studies the relationship between electromagnetic fields
and living organisms. Hey that's us! And it's all around us in different
forms: EMF's, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Electro-therapy (TENS),
Electrolytes, Polarity, Magnet therapy and ESD.
Now here's something strange! ESD (Electrostatic
Discharge) already exists in some form of footwear now. However,
it is only used in industry as a specialized form of safety footwear.
Few people in the regular shoe industry actually know anything about
it or what it does. If you ask an ESD expert why one should be grounded
they will tell you that static electricity is recognized as a nemesis
in certain industries such as: Plastics, Telecommunications, Micro-Electronics,
Computers and Explosives where damage can be caused to equipment
by personnel who, in normal daily activities, can easily generate
charges on their bodies in excess of 10,000 volts in an insulated
state. Wearing normal footwear charges of 3,000 volts or more can
cause sparking to occur. These events can degrade or destroy devices,
erase logic or data banks in computers and cause sparking, which
can be extremely dangerous near explosive or volatile chemicals
or Gasses (e.g. NASA)
Having established both the scientific
and commercial use of ESD in footwear with its effects measurable
outside the body. What physiological affects are produced in and
on the body when the body is conductive to ground as opposed to
insulated from it? Well, this may come as somewhat of a surprise
but there is an overwhelming amount of medical, holistic, cultural,
spiritual and scientific evidence supporting the fact that when
the body is electrically balanced with the earth (or grounded) it
is in a different physiological state than when it is insulated
from the ground.
Every cell in the body is a submicroscopic
electromagnetic device. Every chemical reaction involves an electromagnetic
transaction. Our whole body's nervous system is an electro-chemical
interaction that works optimally when the body's electromagnetic
level is homeostatically in balance with the earth's electromagnetic
frequencies of 7.9 cycles per second (Schuman resonance beat of
the core of the earth). In a relaxed state the alpha brain wave
pattern is approximately 8.0 Hz cycles per second.
has been clearly established that positive and negative magnetic
polarities have different effects upon the biological systems of
animals and humans. Electromagnetic energy and the human body have
a valid and important inter-relationship. Characteristically, negative
magnetic energy normalizes and calms while positive magnetic energy
disorders and over-stimulates the biological system. Oceans, forests
and commercial ion appliances emit negative ions into the atmosphere.
It's a complex subject but there again - so is computers and we're
forced to understand them so let's cut to the chase and try to simplify
the effects electrical contact by grounding has on the human body.
1) PREVENTION OF STATIC SHOCK -
We know that static build-up on the body causes annoying static
shock. Grounding prevents that.
2) COOLER INSIDE SHOE TEMPERATURE
- The body generates electrical energy during normal daily activities.
In the instances of sport considerable watts of power can be measured
from neuro-muscular transmitters. Only 30% of this electrical energy
is used for the activity. The rest needs to be discharged. 90% of
heat regulation takes place via the skin, only 10% is regulated
through breathing. The feet, with more nerve endings per square
inch than any other part of the body, are the body's natural earth
contact point. Evidence from thermal photography shows that feet
discharge more heat when electrically conductive to ground than
when insulated from ground. Perspiration can aid this process as
a fine conductor of electricity. Depending on the absorption properties
of the material, most socks will become somewhat conductive if enough
perspiration is produced by the body and absorbed by the fabric.
When the body is placed within a magnetic field the interaction
with the body's natural electromagnetic field causes ions contained
in water molecules to lineup - just like a compass. As the current
flows from the body to ground, the electrons making up the current
collide with the atoms of the conductor and give up energy, which
appears in the form of heat.
3) INCREASED STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE
- In addition to a well-know cultural belief that one is stronger
when in contact with the ground, several third-party scientifically
controlled tests have shown the body to exhibit reduced strength
and endurance in an insulated state, as opposed to improvements
in performance when the body is conductive to ground. This physiological
process can be theorized as the body's electrically sensitive receptors
in the feet allowing the earth's natural geomagnetic field to enter
the body through conductivity, thus completing the atmospheric -
conductor - earth field. This energy would replenish the body's
neurological system being used to reinforce neuro-muscular activity
during strenuous activities i.e. sport.
4) REFLEX REACTION SPEED UP
- Our neurological system works electro-chemically. Our body's natural
frequency can be affected by additional internal build-up of electricity
(such as occurs when the body is insulated from ground) as well
as externally by generated electricity all around us (EMF's). The
subtle additional energy fields mix with our body's own optimal
electrical system - the one nature designed to operate our electrical
nervous system. This interference with the body's signal system
causes distortion (Harmonics) of frequencies. Too much positive
build up of electricity in the body is not natural to the organism.
The homeopathic tendencies of our bodies will try to protect our
system as best it can but if outside EMF's are too powerful or too
much electricity is built-up in our bodies, our own nervous system
or DNA message will not be strong or clear enough. Thus causing
a slow down in the electrical message time (similar to static interference
on a radio signal). In certain electrically sensitive individuals,
up to 15% improvement in reflex reaction response has been achieved.
Overall improvement in a controlled group of adolescent and adult
test subjects would indicate a significant but much lower percentile
performance improvement (around 3%).
THE EMF's HEALTH HAZARD - The scientific community's 'Jury'
is still out on the definite health hazards of generated Electromagnetic
Fields and EMI's (Electromagnetic Interference) to the human body.
It is known however, that by making the body conductive to ground,
nerve endings (most prolific in the feet) allow electricity to pass
out of the body into the earth's electromagnetic field. The earth,
a large conductor, which may be assumed to be substantially uniform
electrically, is commonly used as the zero reference level for potential
energy. EMF's entering the body in an insulated state remains in
the body until another conductive path is found. As we know from
ESD therefore, grounding the human body on a regular basis helps
alleviate any potential build-up or absorption of EMF's and EMI's
on the body.
6) ANTISTRESS IN THE BODY -
According to many researchers, negative magnetic fields seem to
affect all the metabolic processes of the body beneficially. A lowering
of electrical potential in the body is caused by grounding. Clinical
observations indicate a calmer, less stressful state can more easily
be achieved when the body is at zero potential (grounded).
7) ALLERGIES - Allergies are
caused by hypersensitivity, which may be stress related. By lowering
the body's electrical potential excessive electrical build-up by
the body's nervous system can be reduced thus having a calming effect
on the body. Famous golfer Gary Player, who suffered badly from
allergies, claimed that grounding his body helped him overcome his
hypersensitivity to pollens and grasses.
A vast amount of evidence is in and
it will continue to accumulate into the next Millenium. Bioelectromagnetics
in its ancient form has fascinated mankind for centuries. Yet, it
is still one of the new scientific horizons entering the 21st. Century.
The scientific community has presented its case. Is the shoemaking
jury prepared to accept its verdict?