Thursday, September 6, 2012

Things that make me go ouch - reflexology paths in Singapore

Reflexology path in Singapore Botanic Gardens.

I love how the parks and gardens of Singapore are not only meant to be looked at, but to be used. One typical garden feature here is the reflexology path found in many public parks and on the grounds of large housing estates. These paths take many forms; winding pathways are the most common, but I've seen circles, irregular patches formed as stepping stones and even installations looking like teardrops or commas. They are constructed of small pebbles ranging from flat to pointed and round to oblong, all of them embedded in concrete in carefully laid out decorative patterns.

Place for my daily reflexology fix - Katong Park in the east coast of Singapore.

The purpose of these paths is to stimulate pressure points in the feet; reflexology teaches that the feet, hands and ears contain several reflex points that correspond to other parts of the body. By stimulating these points by massage or by walking on paths like these, we are supposed to gain beneficial effects on our overall health in the corresponding body parts. Of course, reflexology has not been proved scientifically valid or effective (but then, not many practices hailing from other than Western countries and traditions have been...), but it is completely mainstream in Asia and has a large following even some Scandinavian countries. And in Seattle where I lived previously, a couple of reflexology paths were installed quite recently.

Lately, I've become addicted to the one in Katong park above. When I go there, I feel an immediate need to kick off my sandals and walk on the little stones to earn the invigorating feeling they generate in my legs, feet and the rest of the body, despite that fact that it actually is quite painful to do so. I'm not sure if I've gained any other major health effects yet, but I'll let you know if I notice any improvements. And I'm actually already contemplating of including a reflexology path in my garden in Sweden - I just need to figure out how to keep the concrete from cracking in winter frosts, obviously a problem that Singaporean gardeners never need to encounter.

Pebble patterns from Meyer Road park, Katong park and Singapore Botanic Gardens. The stonework reminds me of Italian and French gardens, even if the purpose of it is completely different.

Reflexology path leading to the bamboo grove in Singapore Botanic Gardens.


James Golden said...

Fascinating. I've never heard of this before. Pretty. Looks labor intensive and expensive. I look forward to hearing if there are beneficial health effects.

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Hi James, good to hear from you. These do look really good and I've been surprised about how addictive they are; walking on them really "feels" in my entire body, it releases even headaches. The western medicine might not always be correct. And yes, they must be expensive to make, so I might need to figure out how to lay out one myself in order to get one to my garden in Sweden. I just think it would look wonderful lingering through and towards the sea. Dreams, dreams...

Hällan Visningsträdgård/Ulrika said...

Fantastiskt! Tänk om man hade tid eller pengar. En liten platta kanske man skulle kunna göra iaf bara för att det är så fint med stenarna i mönster. Tack för tipset!
Ha det bra!

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Hej Ulrika, visst är de fina, dessa stigar - måste ha kameran med mig oftare... Tänk om man skulle kunna bygga en sådan i Sverige för att ringla runt i trädgården? Ha en härlig söndag,

Jan Johnsen said...

Great photos! I write about this in my blog 'Serenity in the Garden' on blogspot. I talk about the hitory of Foot Chi....every park should have a path like this!