Duncan O’Brien Feet First | Living North

Duncan O’Brien: Feet First


Holistic health coach Duncan O’Brien on where you and your environment most commonly meet: The Feet
‘Our feet keep us connected to the ground and support our movement, but more than likely we won’t have spent a lot of time taking much notice of them’

At the time of writing I have no idea who you are. I can guess that you live in the North of England but even that is uncertain. Thankfully the editors of Living North have a much better relationship with you which has been developing over the last 20 years. What you are reading will therefore be subtly different from what I actually wrote and that is good thing. 

Living North have been doing exactly what I love doing and I want more of it. They are an integrated part of their community. They keep in touch, respond to feedback and provide a space each month for you to relax and explore your desires with new ideas and local adventure, introducing you to other people's lives for both business and pleasure.
Like most people who are passionate about their profession, I feel like I have loads of information, experience and advice which I'd love to share. I know it has been beneficial in helping my clients make changes to their lives which impact positively on their health. So, between you, me and the editors of Living North magazine let us see where you end up.


Our feet keep us connected to the ground and support our movement, but more than likely we won’t have spent a lot of time taking much notice of them – unless they really hurt. Mine have been bashed, frozen, squashed, bruised and blamed for knee and back pain, and that was all before I was 20 years old while playing a lot of sport. 

Keeping the Living North philosophy in mind, I’m going to introduce you to a few people and the opportunity to begin a new adventure. But first a little time for yourself, then a bit about me and what I have learned while touching my own and other people’s feet.

If appropriate, take off your shoes and socks and have a look at your feet. If you can’t, then mentally check them out in your shoes and do the best you can with the following. There is no perfect here so just have a go, and where I say manipulate your feet with your hands just try and move them inside your shoes or picture it happening as your mind doesn’t know the difference between real or imagined if you really get into it.

So, for those of you who are foot loose and fancy free. Stand up and check out how your weight is distributed. Is it in your toes, heels, inside or outside of your feet? More left foot than right, or different all over?

If you have done this you have just established a starting point for your journey. It’s slightly artificial, but enough to be moving on from. The following is all to be done while sitting on the floor, or a chair on one foot only at a time. I'm going to pick the left one (disclaimer/warning: don’t put yourself in danger or pain. Be kind to your feet!).

• Gently maniplate the knuckles of the toes on your left foot. See if there is any movement between each knuckle.
• Gently pull each toe (no need to crack them).
• Clench and release the toes.
• If you can, put your fingers (from right hand) inbetween the toes of your left foot and move the foot around from this position.
• Unleash the toes and stroke the bottom of your foot five times from toes to heel and then reverse going heel to toes. I like to use the thumb or knuckles on my right hand to do this.
• Finally give your achilleas tendon a gentle rub.

Your left foot has just had quite a different experience to your right.
• Stand up again and check out how your weight is distributed now. Is it in your toes, heels, inside or outside of your feet? More left foot than right, or different all over?
• Pay attention to how your body feels too – hips, knees, back and shoulders.

Repeat all the above with your right foot. Then take a little walk around the room. You will have had quite a different experience from every other reader and hopefully observed some degree of change. If it felt good, check in with your feet for the rest of today and tomorrow and see how long it lasts for.



Given the opportunity I really want to touch your feet... no really... I do! I’ve found I really like touching feet, it’s not at all a fetish ... I don’t think … yet, but I do get a buzz when I hear the feedback.

I’ve been working at a Personal Trainer for nearly seven years now and finally I’ve found a way to combine a few of my favourite things. With clients we have compared everything from standing still or walking to deadlifts, crawling and pull-ups before and after a good foot mangling. Hearing that a client feels both grounded and lighter on their feet and freer in their shoulders reminds me how integrally connected our whole body is – and just how important our feet are.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of being introduced Dr Mick Wilkinson. His passion at the time was running biomechanics – particularly barefoot. Since then he has been researching and refining his approach and runs a lot less with his shoes off but now shares his experience via his Functional Running Workshop.

Bodyguards Fitness Studio will be hosting a workshop on 12th May which I will excitedly attend. I’ll have more to share after that but in the mean time I wish you a warm fuzzy foot feeling and if you have any questions or feet feedback drop me an email subject ‘Fuzzyfeet’ at duncanobrien@hotmail.com or for more information on the running workshop with Dr Wilkinson email 
info@bodyguardsapt.com subject title: ‘Functional Runner’.

Taking a ground up approach each day...

Published in: May 2019

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