Author Phillip Beach of Muscles and Meridians once said "our basic neuroarchitecture is built around patterns that have not changed for 500,000 years." As much as this is true, the current research is revealing more about these neuroachitecture and it's patterns. After watching a very interesting video of Michael Boyle talking about Beach's theory to address back pain, everything started to make sense.
"The skin of the sole of the foot is supplied by the medial and lateral plantar nerve, from the tibial nerve. The tibial nerve comes from L4, L5, S1, S2, S3. The multifidus receives information direction from the DRG/ Posterior rami nerve from the same nerve roots. Also From S3 nerve root is the pudendal nerve which innervates the pelvic floor muscles"
This explains why a foot massage can actually relax the the body and it can also can support the theory of reflexology.
In Beach's Book he states:
"All day I listen to people describing their low back pain. From a biomechanical perspective our species has real vulnerability in the low back region. Contributing factors include our erect posture that places much more weight on lumbar spine and the intervening intervertebral disks (IVDs). In addition we have made a pact with the biomechanical devil by utilizing the H-CF for our gait and throwing patterns as, paradoxically, our lumbar IVDs are particularly vulnerable to twisting insults."
Each spinal segment has an army of muscles that start at that level and course downward. Each spinal segment issues a pair of nerves that control the muscles starting from that segment, and supply a segmentally related patch of skin. The most vulnerable spinal segments are found at the function of the lumbar spine and the sacrum (L4/L5 and S1), which send their sensory spinal nerves down to the sole of the foot, i.e. the most vulnerable segments are driven by the most information. This is important. The small muscles of the low back are thus segmentally related to the soles of the feet. Information drives all systems so her we have a sensory platform devoted to the most vulnerable region of the low back. Shoes, from this perspective, are a sensory deprivation chambers that cut down the raw information we need to stand and walk in precarious upright manner. To counter this I suggest to my patients to take their shoes off and walk barefoot on rough ground."
Beach nails it with explaining how the lower back and the soles of the feet are related and he could not use a better way of explaining how bad shoes are from a sensory blockage standpoint. Shoes from Breach's perspective do end up acting as a sensory deprivation chamber. As Beach suggests, it is very important to walk on barefoot on a rough ground. Of course you probably should ease in to this and not constantly walk bare feet in streets since it is not safe.
Kelly Starret earlier in in 2015 stated that he makes sure at least one day of the week he is completely bare feet. In his podcast Kelly also spoke about the benefits of walking bare feet and how important it was. Marv Marinovich for years trained his athletes to do feet work and I don't think anyone really understood exactly why it was so important. Most coaches just went with this but not much really understood the why were were doing this.
Michael Boyle suggested training with bare fee but this is something that should progress slowly. Michael recommends doing agility ladder drills to get started. I completely agree with this approach. I got in to bare feet training way too fast and ended up with bad feet pain. Not to mention, I also dropped a 35 lb plate on my big toe and my x-ray revealed that I broke it. It is very important to be smart and safe with this type of training. Michael also stated in one of his summits that he made a 10' by 1' board with 1-3 inch diameter stones glued to it and walked on it 20 minutes a day as Beach recommend and this helped his lower back pain tremendously. Mike also said this was something that worked for most of his athletes.
Hopefully we will see more studies in the future on walking on stones in correlation to back pain but it does not hurt to start walking on similar board stone platform daily. As the old Turkish proverb says "No doctor knows your body as good as yourself."