Barefoot Shiatsu Courses of Korea


Barefoot Shiatsu Courses (The Reflexology Paths) of Korea


“Well walking” on “Barefoot shiatsu courses” in the landscaped, forested or mountainous areas of city parks and national parks is a popular trend to “promote” one’s health in Korea.

For some paths, a scenic overlook, sculptures or a lake is featured or a Buddhist temple is the destination. A “barefoot park” designation for a city park indicates that paths appropriate for barefoot walking are available.

At least 22 parks within the city of Seoul are barefoot parks. For example, at Boramae Park, a large Seoul city park is described with: “Major facilities include a lawn, a pond, greenbelt and other facilities and bare(foot) landscape parks, swimming pools, tennis courts, gymnasium and sports facilities, a zoo, Boramae Youth Center.”

Elements underfoot vary from course to course but common ones include:

  • cobblestone,
  • black and white pebbles,
  • sand,
  • gravel,
  • crushed yellow soil,
  • rounded rock halves in a bed of gravel,
  • rounded concrete halves and brick-sized blocks in gravel.


Some barefoot shiatsu courses include the inclusion of up to 28 different kinds of rocks. A design seen frequently—and unique to South Korea—is an embedded stone walkway with the sole of a foot in a color of stone different from that of the path as a whole.

Some paths include beginner, intermediate and expert sections or courses specifically for children. At times a reflexology chart will be posted to show “How is this connected to the foot and body parts.”


Barefoot shiatsu courses part of Korea’s foot- related therapies

An overview of the country’s use of foot-related therapies reveals a deep entrenchment in uses for the country’s health care, so deep that precise language is utilized.

  • Reflexology is viewed as the targeting of specific areas of the feet and hands.
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  • Korean nursing schools and journals are at the forefront of research into reflexology.
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  • By one calculation, some 59 research studies have been published in nursing journals or as graduate school thesis and dissertations in the past twenty years. Nineteen studies available in English.
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  • Topics for research cross all age groups and show possible uses within the medical system including: college-aged, middle-aged and elderly women as well as stroke and hemodialysis patients. Hand, foot and self-help reflexology are each tested.


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.”
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  • “helping to ensure health;”
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  • “to keep health and to foster eco-experience;”
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  • “facilitate the natural way to treat everyday illnesses;”and
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  • “solve the day’s fatigue.”Focus of visit to a parkThe 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./li>


Goals for walking the barefoot shiatsu course

Particular goals for walking the barefoot shiatsu course include (as roughly translated by Google translate):

  • “Plantar stimulate blood circulation, the immune system function and enhances the natural healing recovered;”
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  • “Feet to stimulate the muscles to release the knot, as well as the body’s immune function that increases the natural healing;”
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  • “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
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  • “The human body organs and nerves, all connected to the human body, called thumbnails of your foot.”Guides to barefoot shiatsu coursesNewspapers, 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. More information


Barefoot shiatsu courses in 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.

“Barefoot” park

“Do you live in Sangnam? Do you want a break from the constant hustle and bustle of living in the neon capital of Changwon? Then there is a perfect place for you hidden right in your very own neighborhood. A few blocks up from Cookie Plaza and next to Ungnam Middle School (웅남 중학교) lies a little gem of a park (Map here!). The park is full of walking paths and stationary exercise machines. It also has a jokgu court, bathrooms, gazebos, benches and stones for walking on. That’s right; this park is one of Korea’s foot reflexology parks, or “barefoot” parks.”Jen Fitzgerald

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 shiatsu 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.

“If you want to become healthly, 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.

“My feet are smiling”

A personal statement about using a barefoot park is included with photos of the path.

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.

How-to use a barefoot shiatsu course

How-to information for using barefoot shiatsu courses. Interesting reading from miscellaneous press releases. More Information


Barefoot walking in Forests of Korea

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.

Gyejoksan Mountain Red Clay Trail (Barefoot Walking Themed)

“The Gyejoksan Mountain Red Clay Trail is an eco- healing walking trail which can be found on the nation’s first mountain with a barefoot walking theme, Mount Gyejok. In 2008, it was considered as one of the ‘33 travel destinations to go back to’ by travel journalists. About 500 children from 100 different countries who took part in the United Nations Children’s Conference on the Environment, and Republic of Seychelles President James Michel have also gone barefoot walking on Mount Gyejok.

“Visitors can walk on red clay and breathe in the fresh aroma of pine trees while enjoying a view of downtown Daejeon from Gyejoksanseong Fortress, which was built during the time of the Three Kingdoms. The trail helps restore the health of the body and soul and gives visitors a therapeutic and unique experience.

“This 14-kilometer long trail is situated at an altitude between 200 meters and 300 meters above sea level. In autumn, the mountain is bustling with bikers who come to enjoy the splendid landscape of Mount Gyejok. Every year the Eco-Healing Sunyang Masai Marathon, which requires participants to forgo shoes and traverse soft red clay trail, is held at Mount Gyejoksan in Daejeon, drawing a total of 5,000 participants including 600 foreigners from 40 countries. The marathon has established itself as a major festival of Daejeon and is held every year in May.”


Mt. Gyejoksan Barefoot Festival

“Mt. Gyejoksan Barefoot Festival is one of the most famous barefoot festivals in Korea where visitors walk barefoot on a 14.5-kilometer long red clay trail in the forest. The red clay trail is also a popular tourist attraction in Daejeon that allows visitors to enjoy nature, arts and culture while barefoot walking or running on the trail in the forest rich in oxygen. Anyone of any age can enjoy the festival, participating in a variety of cultural, arts, performance, and exhibition programs.”


Two More Barefoot Parks Open in Seoul

“In the barefoot parks, tired city residents can enjoy a foot massage as they walk on the pebble road paved with ‘haemi’ and ‘hobak’ stones, wood and granite. Local residents and office workers are frequent visitors to the parks, where benches and foot washing facilities are available.

“Taking a walk barefoot on a pebble field is no longer a far away dream for urbanites. Following Yeouido Park, Borame Park, Yongsan Family Park and Baekbeom Square of Namsan Park, two more “Barefoot Parks” will open in Yangjae-dong Citizens Forest and Jangchung Section of Namsan Park on October 1.

“Borame and Yongsan parks offer two courses for first timers and the experienced. In addition, a guide board includes a diagram of the foot to inform users of the effect of massaging each part. Walks in the newly opening Citizens Forest and Jangchung are paved with various material to maximize the massaging effect.”


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.

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.

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.”

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”

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.”

Sports Park

Bird’s-eye view of a barefoot shiatsu course in a sports park.
More Information