Strolling along a pebble walking trail may be relaxing for some, but many health experts warn that it actually provides few health benefits, and they caution against the idea of 'no pain, no gain'. The trails have pebbles of different sizes and shapes embedded in them, which are thought to improve health by massaging pressure points on bare or sock-covered feet. In Hong Kong, government departments have built more than 60 such trails over the past two years. But in Taipei, parks have removed some trails and stopped building new ones over the past three years because of safety concerns. 'The more painful the more beneficial - that concept is wrong,' said Patrick Cheung Wai-shing, honorary chairman of the Hong Kong Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners Association. Some of his patients had bruised themselves on pebble walks, he said. 'These trails are not designed by doctors,' he said. 'Some pebbles can be more than an inch higher than others,' which can be dangerous for elderly users. There are more than 60 acupressure points on the human foot. But walking a pebble trail stimulates many of the points at the same time, which cancels out any healing effects, he said. Stepping on batteries wrapped in a towel could be more beneficial, since the location of the pressure can be controlled, Mr Cheung said. 'That way they can focus on a particular acupuncture point.' The paths should be avoided by people with poor balance, such as the elderly, physiotherapist Raymond Fan Wing-lok said. They are more likely to fall or pick up skin diseases. People with less sensitive feet, including diabetes patients, should ask doctors if using the trails is suitable for them, he said. Anyone with foot injuries should stay away from them. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department alone has built 56 trails in parks and playgrounds over the past two years. It manages 172 trails. There are a further 180 pebble paths at about 100 public housing estates, the Housing Department said. 'Pebble walking trails are provided as a recreational facility in response to demand from the public,' a Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokesman said. 'There is no plan to remove the paths.' The department consulted the Department of Health, and was told it had received no reports of foot injuries or infections caused by walking on pebble paths. Even so, user guides have been posted at the trails to explain the correct way of using them, and reminding users that they should be in a suitable physical condition, according to both departments.