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Best Foot Forward

Experiencing nature, enjoying remedial care and just having fun are at the heart of the Barfuss (or Barefoot) Trail in the gardens at Trentham Estate.

Suitable for all ages, it is very much about offering the sensation of walking on all kinds of surfaces - timber, bark, mulch, pebbles, wood and mud – over a 1,000 meter circuit.

And as you walk, you will be improving your health and vitality - using the historic principles of Sebastian Kneipp!

The Trentham Barfuss Trail is the first of its kind in Britain, and has proved to be as successful here as the original parks in Germany.

So why is walking barefoot good for you?

Firstly, it's fun!

But walking barefoot has also been proven to have many positive medial benefits.

Regular use of the park or barefoot walking in general, particularly on a variety of terrains, can stimulate the cardiovascular system, regulate blood pressure and therefore improve circulation. In Germany they also believe that it can strengthen the body's immune system.

And the joy of the barefoot process, and the fact you are in a beautiful natural and woodland setting, have a beneficial effect on the mind - helping relaxation and a sense of well being.

The concept of barefoot walking was developed and used by Pastor Sebastian Kneipp, a priest who lived in the 1900's and who devoted his life to the well being of his parishioners in the Bavarian village of Stephansreid.

Having reputedly cured himself of a serious disease the welfare practices that he developed became famous throughout Germany. One of the things he and the majority of his parishioners practiced was wading through water and walking on wet grass and other surfaces. They believed it stimulated internal organs and helped the body heal itself.

As a result of this, the popularity of Kneipps fame spread – and resulted in the eventual development of formal Barfuss Parks and larger Kneipp Spas all over the German-speaking World. The German Health Service recommends Kneipps remedies and treatments and even pays for those that are both preventative and curative.

Many people have remarked on the similarity of Kneipps treatments, particularly the benefits of barefoot walking, with reflexology. Barefoot walking is often regarded as 'do it yourself' reflexology. The benefits are regarded as similar to those gained with participating in barefoot walking; reflexology being much older as a concept but as we all know much more expensive than barefoot walking.

And now, in a corner of Stoke-on-Trent, a similar revolution is about the start sweeping the nation!

Take off your shoes and socks, put them in one of the lockers provided, and join in the fun at Trentham Garden's Barfuss Park!


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