In this exercise method, people walk barefoot on a fixed mat that has a smooth, yet undulated cobblestone-like surface. Using the principles of reflexology, the uneven surfaces of the cobblestones stimulate "acupoints" located on the soles of the feet. Researchers are showing how cobblestone mats have produced benefits:
Reduced blood pressure in older adults
Promotes functional mobility and balance
Improved overall health and well being in older adults
An article published in a recent issue of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity summarizes results from a pilot study, which was conducted in Portland by Oregon Research Institute scientists. Elderly participants in the study experienced considerable improvements in their ability to perform "activities of daily living," increased psychosocial well-being, and significantly reduced daytime sleepiness and pain. Participants also reported greatly improved perceptions of control over falls and had reductions in resting diastolic blood pressure.
The cobblestone mat is also excellent for someone with foot problems or poor circulation. The mat can be placed next to a hall wall or table if your balance is not good. Use a towel or blanket on the mat in the beginning if you have tender feet or just wear socks.