B.Sc.(hons); GSSR; MAR; Dip.Chi-Reflexology
Hello, My name is Elspeth and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about my background and my journey into the world of complementary therapies. Working on a freelance basis and as a sole trader I have run my practice Footpath Therapies since 2001.
My original training and background is in Life Sciences. I worked for over 10 years in technical and medical research posts. During this time my interest in health care and the world of medicine grew, ultimately bringing about a change in career direction and my training as a registered general nurse. Combining my skills and experience in science and nursing I then went on to become a clinical research nurse.
In 2001, seeking a better work life balance and a more autonomous and holistic way of working, I left behind my career in science and nursing. Having completed my reflexology training with the Scottish School of Reflexology, I took a leap of faith and opened my practice – Footpath Therapies, the rest as they say, is history. Over the intervening years I continued to expand and develop my reflexology knowledge, specialising in this particular therapy as well as adding to my skills set by training in a variety of touch-based therapies; Swedish massage, Indian Head massage, hot stones therapy, acupressure and Reiki. However, since 2008 my focus turned towards studying and understanding more about energy medicine, and the theories and philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
This interest in TCM lead to a growing personal and professional interest in the many health benefits of the ancient Chinese health practices of Taiji (Tai Chi) and Qigong.
Inspired by the benefits of Qigong for my own health and wellbeing, it seemed a natural progression for me as a therapist, specialising in touch-based therapies, to explore the possibilities of transferring the theoretical basis of Qigong practice, the meditative qualities, gentle fluid movements and mental focus into an accessible touch therapy technique. Having a special interest in reflexology and its benefits, when researching the theories of TCM and Qigong I began to see the potential of using the feet as a gateway in to the extensive energy network of the human body, and most importantly providing access to the deepest channels of the network, the Eight Extraordinary Vessels. Over several years, and with a lot of research and work, the technique has evolved into a simple, gentle and effective therapy that can be used as a complete stand-alone treatment or blended with any reflexology or bodywork technique. This technique I call; Zu Qigong. Interestingly, the development of Zu Qigong has also shed some light on the theoretical basis of reflexology.
Zu Qigong has now been the focus of my working life for almost a decade.
Following publication of my book “Zu Qigong – Foot Energy Work” in 2014, I began sharing the Zu Qigong technique with other therapists through weekend workshops.I thoroughly enjoy these workshops and have had the opportunity to travel as far afield as New Zealand, meeting some truly inspirational therapists who have, in turn, shared their own ideas, skills and knowledge with me, ensuring that I continue to grow and develop as a therapist. It has never been my intention to provide an alternative to allopathic medicine, but instead to provide a service that fills the gap that I perceive as being present in modern Western medicine. Coming from a clinical background I believe that in the West we are very fortunate to have access to some remarkable medical and surgical knowledge and skills, however it is increasingly apparent that for many people our current health care system is failing. Western medicine, partly due to its focus on the disease process and symptoms, and additionally through lack of time and resources, frequently fails to address the “human” aspect of illness, the wellbeing of the individual, problems that simply cannot be resolved by swallowing medication. With increasing numbers of people suffering from stress related ailments – both physical and psychological, complementary / holistic therapies, such as Zu Qigong, are ideally placed to offer interventions that have the capacity to support and help the individual manage and cope with the stresses and strains of life, thereby improving health and wellbeing, reducing the need for medical intervention.
Towards the end of 2019 I made the difficult decision to step back from private practice, allowing me more time to focus on different projects, including the further development of Zu Qigong. I had planned to gradually ease myself into this change in my working life over the summer of 2020, however the arrival of Covid-19 and "lockdown" in March 2020 with the resulting temporary closure of the hospice ward where I had been working, brought about a much swifter change than anticipated, and as so often happens in life, this unexpected turn of events has heralded a new beginning at Footpath Therapies.
With lockdown came the opportunity to finish writing the long overdue 2nd edition of "Zu Qigong - Foot Energy Work" which was published in October 2020, and additionally I also found myself with the space and time to research and explore the concept of distance Qigong healing, working within the parameters of Zu Qigong. I have been completely amazed at the power and effectiveness of this approach to Zu Qigong, which it would appear, is ideally suited to support the health and wellbeing of people in isolation /shielding due to conditions that make them highly vulnerable to complications from Covid-19, those members of society who are unable or unwilling to attend a therapy clinic environment. This represents a new direction for Footpath Therapies and an unexpected departure from my original plans but one that offers an interesting expansion of Zu Qigong...... my journey of discovery continues!