Stone Stepping to Better Health

Walking on stones is a form of reflexology

Stone Stepping to Better Health

Tap into the benefits of reflexology at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Walking barefoot on stones can be an important step to better health, including less tension and lower blood pressure. The practice, a kind of reflexology, is common in China, where it is called “tap shek” and the government encourages construction of cobblestone footpaths to improve fitness and overall health.

Hot Springs Pool along Colorado RiverA study published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found improved physical function – balance, walking, and chair stands – and reduced blood pressure in a group of people older than 60 who walked on cobblestone mats regularly for eight weeks, compared to a control group that walked without the mats. “Additional benefits of this walking program included improved health-related quality of life,” the study concluded. “This new physical activity may provide a therapeutic and health-enhancing exercise alternative for older adults.”

While more research is needed, Chinese doctors and people who practice stone stepping report improvements for people of any age in chronic pain, flexibility, response capability, back pain, cardiovascular function, and mood elevation. Korea installs reflexology paths in public parks, and German schoolchildren arrange their own paths with sticks and stones, according to the Reflexology Research Project. The immediate benefit is relief for tired and sore feet.

At Iron Mountain Hot Springs, two of our pools – Lapis and Topaz – are lined with stones so you can enjoy the benefits of “tap shek” along with advantages of a mineral water soak. Your feet will tell you that you’re taking a step in the right direction.

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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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