Sangnam “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.

Barefoot Park 4The park is small, but quiet and inviting. Surrounded by trees and the occasional exerciser, it’s the perfect place to think or read without having to pay to sit in a coffee shop (although there are a few coffee shops nearby!) There are also plenty of gazebos to sit under or have a picnic in and benches for sun bathing in those warmer months.Barefoot ParkBarefoot park 3

This park also provides a great way to emerge yourself in Korean culture with its barefoot shiatsu course. Thought to balance your chi, restore energy, and promote health these courses are public and free to use! Just pop off your shoes and get started (there are shelves to hold your shoes while you walk). The idea is that the organs in your body correspond to pressure points on your feet. By walking on the stones, you cause greater blood flow and circulation to those organs and areas. This is thought to lead to greater function of the organs and to the prevention or curing of diseases. The shiatsu courses are normally found in parks to supply a quiet, peaceful environment to further promote a healthy living lifestyle.

Barefoot Park 5Even if you don’t believe in the healing properties of foot reflexology, the barefoot parks are fun and are a great way to be involved in Korean culture.

Barefoot park 1Not to mention, they’re just pretty cool.Barefoot park 2

And although the diagram is tattered (and there is no English on it), you can get a vague idea of which area of your body you are helping.Barefoot Park Map

To find the park, look for this statue on the left side of the road.

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Pictures taken by Jen Fitzgerald.

 

Sources for information:

http://reflexologylive.blogspot.kr/2009/10/reflexology-paths-of-korea.html

http://acumats.com/howitworks/

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