Health Rocks: Prescription for Pebbles

Try the soaking pools with pebbles for health benefits

Health Rocks: Prescription for Pebbles

The road to greater wellness is paved with pebbles. Soothe what ails you in pebble bottomed pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Looking for a solid steppingstone to better health? Try stepping stones. A study at Oregon Research Institute, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, confirmed that walking on a cobblestone mat reduced blood pressure and improved balance and physical performance on older adults. The pebble walking had better results than ordinary walking.

Hydrotherapy at Iron Mountain Hot SpringsThe manufactured mats imitate walking paths that are common in China, where they reflect traditional medicine and reflexology. Because the stones make the path uneven, they stimulate individual “acupoints” on the foot. People who practice pebble walking report pain relief, better sleep, and improved physical and mental well-being, but the study was among the first scientific control-group evaluations.

“We visited China and noticed that adults of all ages spent about 30 minutes each day walking, standing, and sometimes dancing on these beautifully laid paths of river stones in the parks and gardens of large cities,” said John Fisher, a leading scientist in the study funded by the National Institute on Aging. “This new physical activity could provide a different choice of physical activity that is therapeutic and health-enhancing and that can be done quickly and easily in the comfort of one’s home.”

The exercise can also be done in a pebble-bottomed hot spring, with the added full-body benefit of the mineral soak. Two Iron Mountain Hot Springs pools—Lapis and Topaz—are lined with pebbles.

Although reflexology is not prescribed as a treatment for particular medical conditions, it is considered to have complementary benefits similar to massage. You can research what parts of the sole of the foot are believed to be connected with different organs of the body.

For maximum benefit, Lallous Lab recommends:

  • Walk barefoot or with barefoot shoes
  • Take your time
  • Stop if it hurts. Don’t force yourself
  • Take breaks to massage your feet
  • Take some steps on the front soles alone, some on the heels alone as well as the whole foot
  • Spread your toes so the rocks massage between them
  • Be sure to stay hydrated

Learn more about wellness and the benefits of geothermal soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

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Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe was a reporter for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer for 13 years and head of the writing program at Trinity School at Greenlawn, a four-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in South Bend, Ind., for 10 years before he became a full-time freelance writer in 2008. His first book, Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie’s Will, was published in 2006. He lives in Monroe, N.C.

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