Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shoeless in Shanghai

Today's edition of NPR's "All Things Considered" profiles filmmaker Arthur Jones, who spent a year barefoot in China.

Jones says Shanghai is a surprisingly easy place to go barefoot, having less gravel than some Western cities, as well as an open-mindedness to barefooters, which perhaps has roots in traditional Chinese medicine.

"The idea in Chinese medical theory is connected to reflexology, which is that there are certain pressure points in the bottom of the foot, which if you press them or stimulate them, they'll help to restore balance in the rest of the body," he explains.

There are even some parks in the city that have barefoot walking tracks, designed with reflexology in mind.

Of course, this is also the country that -- until just a couple of generations ago -- practiced some of the most restrictive and damaging foot binding known to man.