Saturday, November 21, 2015

How Does Wearing Masai Barefoot Technology Shoes Help Improve Posture?


    Masai barefoot technology is the theory behind the MBT rocker bottom shoe made by MBT Shoes, a Swiss company. The creator of Masai barefoot technology shoes is a Swiss engineer, Karl Muller. Muller suffered from chronic back and knee pain and had resigned himself to living with it for the rest of his life. On a vacation in Southeast Asia in the early 1990s, Muller realized that his back and knee pain had virtually disappeared. In retrospect, he realized that the biggest difference in his life over the previous weeks had been the surface on which he walked every day--soft, springy moss in the paddy fields.
    On his return to Switzerland, Muller started researching shoe technology and body architecture. In the course of his research, he found references to the Masai tribe in Central Africa, who have a reputation for walking long distances without rest or fatigue. Once again, he noted that the Masai typically walk barefoot on a soft, springy surface. He developed a theory that the instability of walking on surfaces like sand, peat moss or soft earth contributes to better posture and improved muscle strength.

Masai Barefoot Technology and Shoe Construction

    Muller worked with other engineers to develop a shoe that simulates the motion of the body when walking barefoot on sand or another soft, springy surface. There are four main features of the MBT shoe construction that all contribute to the effects of the shoe on your body.
    The Rocker Sole mimics the instability of stepping down on soft ground. Unlike regular shoes which artificially stabilize the ankle, the rocker sole forces your body to stabilize itself by using the calf, thigh, buttocks and core muscles.
    The Negative Heel places your heel lower than the ball of the foot with each step so that your foot works the way it is intended to work, rolling forward to bring your body's weight over your foot once your balance is stabilized.
    The Wide Toe Box gives your toes room to spread and grip the inside of the shoe naturally the way that they are meant to do to help push off your weight for the next foot.
    The All Natural Inner Sole of the shoe cushions the foot and provides a "shock absorber" to help reduce the strain on all of your joints and your musculo-skeletal system.

Walking in MBT Shoes

    According to Muller's theory, which seem to have been borne out by several small studies, regular shoes artificially stabilize your ankle and foot. That allows your body to get lazy by keeping your balanced and stable without the appropriate muscles doing the work that they're supposed to do. When those muscles don't get worked out, they do a poor job of keeping your body properly aligned.
    The shape and construction of the MBT shoe forces your body to use the muscles of your legs, buttocks, abdomen and torso to align your body properly over your feet. Every step brings your body more into line and strengthens the muscles that help support your skeleton.

MBT Shoes Are not for Everyone

    While the benefits of MBT shoes has been shown by several small studies, there are also some warnings connected with wearing MBT shoes. Because they change your gait and the way that your muscles work, walking in MBT shoes may put extra strain on tendons and joints. The makers of MBT shoes recommend that people who buy MBT shoes consult their physicians before the purchase. In addition, most stores that sell MBT shoes offer a short class in how to wear and walk in the Masai Barefoot Technology shoes safely and effectively.

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