Friday, October 2, 2009

The Reflexology Paths of Korea- Part 2

© ngothyeaun. Image from

The tourists who pass by them in the city parks of South Korea call them reflexology paths. But, to the people of South Korea wthese are barefoot parks with a barefoot shiatsu course. Some would say it’s a matter of semantics, that these look pretty much like “reflexology paths.” What’s really going on, however, is far more interesting than use of words. The paths, by any name, are a means of “well walking,” working toward health, as defined by the country’s traditions and trends.

Barefoot walking—especially in scenic surroundings—is seen to help one: enjoy nature, ease fatigue, relax stress and ease feet accustomed to walking on asphalt. General purposes of barefoot walking are noted as: “Can feel a sense of unity with nature. Accumulated stress and positive thinking to relieve the psychological, spiritual healing can be obtained.” “helping to ensure health;” “to keep health and to foster eco-experience;” “facilitate the natural way to treat everyday illnesses;” and “solve the day’s fatigue.”

The barefoot shiatsu courses provide a means to walk for health or as one focus of a park visit for a family outing, individuals or a couple. In addition to walking the course, one can enjoy nature, have a picnic, watch the children play, and use other park facilities such as in-line skating, badminton or other activities. Particular goals for walking the course include (as roughly translated by Google translate): “Plantar stimulate blood circulation, the immune system function and enhances the natural healing recovered;” “Feet to stimulate the muscles to release the knot, as well as the body's immune function that increases the natural healing;” “Peripheral nerve stimulation to the feet, the long-gathering capabilities, as well as smooth muscle came together to fulfill, such as fatigue is the body's natural healing that enhances immune function improves;” and “The human body organs and nerves, all connected to the human body, called thumbnails of your foot.”

Newspapers, television and government Web sites provide information about the paths. A Web site for the National Health Insurance Corporation includes a list of the 22 paths in Seoul city parks with details about the merits of the course: descriptions of the paths, contact phone numbers and directions on how to get to them. Descriptions include elements for considering use of each path: landscaping and/or plants in the surrounding area (city park, forested or mountainous); the surface underfoot; the availability of facilities to wash the feet after the walk or a path for children and whether it’s a hiking trail.
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City Parks
Seoul City Parks
Photos are posted of “popular” barefoot shiatsu courses in several city parks including a children’s path. A list of barefoot parks in the city is included.
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Multiple photos show people walking the barefoot shiatsu course. This was most commonly mentioned park during a Google translate search. Senior citizens are pictured using paths.

A description of a family outing in Seoul includes children on a barefoot shaitsu course as well as a mother working on a child’s feet. Included in the description of the visit to the “barefoot in the park” activity is the phrase “sole chiropractor.” The word chiropractor appears at times among descriptions of walking barefoot.
A family outing at an unknown park in Seoul

“If you want to become health, walk barefoot”
Multiple pictures of barefoot shiatsu paths. One photo shows the design unique to Korean paths: the sole of a foot in a color of stone different from that of the path as a whole. A photo of a foot reflexology chart is shown as well as couples walking a path.
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“My feet are smiling”
A personal statement about using a barefoot park is included with photos of the path.
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Barefoot shiatsu course for children (?) is pictured in this park with pine trees normally found in the mountains. Captioning notes “walking down a chiropractor Press.” References to the paths as a “chiropractic activity” are not uncommon.
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Press Releases
Interesting reading from miscellaneous press releases.

Civic Forest
The densely forested park includes an outdoor wedding hall, outdoor stage, playground and hydroponic facilities, monuments and sports facilities—and a barefoot path with an artistic and interesting design.
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Jang Jang Forest: “forest bathing”
“Chapter forest bathing and walking slowly magnolia, forsythia, cherry blossoms, azaleas and flowers are in bloom.” Mallards and fish are a feature of this forest walk. (Eds. Note: We love the phrase “forest bathing” found here as well as other Web pages. No water is mentioned. Perhaps it means immersing oneself in the forest as one would immerse in water.)
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Chonbuk Sunchang
A personal statement about a forest walk with photos. “Clear water flowing in the valley do not know the name of prehistoric grass bloom is simplicity. Barefoot walking on the path to the well-being when you get down to gangcheonsa gileneun good to walk along the forest trails. Fresh air flowing through the valley and the birds chirping and the sound is the harmony of nature can enjoy the orchestra. Thanks to the refreshing feeling becomes.” 

Walking barefoot
Walking barefoot to a buddhist temple is shown with photos showing a walking meditation technique.
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Themed / Tourism
Jeju Halla hyuaeri Natural Living Park (Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes)
Walking barefoot on a volcanic maze is one of the features of “Korea's largest tourist attraction, Jeju Halla hyuaeri Natural Living Park.” Visitors “Can experience the unique culture of Jeju yeongwa the natural life of the park: Chasing a baby pig, hare, amusement parks, sodalguji riding, volcano clusters labyrinth walking barefoot, doltap pile, mulheo.”
Photo of path at Odongo resort

The purpose of the “Yeosu Odongdo resort (is) to experience nature-oriented attractions in the themed attractions in the environment is changing experience.” including: “Odongdo barefoot shiatsu course, natural botanical garden, wildflowers through page to install the other hand, such as Turtle Ship and Panokseon exhibits, themed environments, and development experience to Destinations”
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Gangwon Hwacheon hwacheoneup 1-5 Ha Lee p. 45
A “waterfront promenade” is one feature at this island resort along with a campground and “Toe-ball, tennis courts, a multipurpose stadium, volleyball courts, and a permanent stage, hall, toilet, water and natural recreation leisure.”
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Longevity Village
Maintaining the health of the increasing elderly populations of small villages is discussed with the inclusion of a barefoot course. “Elderly people in the middle of town where you can relax in the brook is a small pavilion. Goteneun to promote the health of its residents and the various exercise equipment is made baljiap course. Finish to complete the lessons and dance sports, villagers descended. Elderly people walk barefoot baljiap course unpacked fatigue while sitting around ….”
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Sports Park
Bird’s-eye view of a barefoot shiatsu course in a sports park.

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