Alex Scrimgeour helps a wide range of people overcome pain and illness, restoring both physical and emotional wellbeing. Specializing in Dien Chan Facial Reflexology, Alex works from private clinics across London, while also practicing in many of the world’s leading spas and wellness centres. Alex’s passion for helping people led him to write a book Sensory Self Care: Emotional Wellbeing through Dien Chan Facial Reflexology x Qigong, which was published by Inner Traditions last month.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START PRACTICING DIEN CHAN FACIAL REFLEXOLOGY? HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?
After graduating from my acupuncture degree in the UK, I went to Vietnam to gain experience through working in the hospitals and clinics there. On this trip, I heard about Dien Chan and thought it sounded really unusual. This led me to receiving my first treatment, which had a very powerful effect, unlike any massage or therapy I’d received before. This inspired me to return and study with many of the Dien Chan masters in Saigon.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS
I’d describe myself as honest, curious, and open-hearted.
IN A NUTSHELL, DESCRIBE FACIAL REFLEXOLOGY
Facial Reflexology can be used for self-care or received as a specialized treatment. It works by harnessing all the interconnections between the face, body, and mind. Using various massage techniques and massage tools, facial reflexology can help alleviate a wide range of health problems and also support physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A TREATMENT SESSION WITH YOU?
My treatments begin with dialogue, where I briefly explain Dien Chan and tailor the treatment, either to individual needs or by working intuitively. I always use pulse diagnosis and my clinical training to adapt the treatment to best suit each person. I begin my treatments by aligning the body and using various massage techniques to release tension from the face, head, neck, shoulders, hands, and feet. This opens the energy channels and settles the nervous system. Then, the heart of the treatment involves opening and releasing a sequence of micro-pressure points on the face. This gives a profound sense of relaxation, most usually shifting the client into a state of “non-sleep deep rest”. The deep and hidden tension of the mind and nervous system is able to be released in this state. I often finish my treatments using foot reflexology and bodywork for grounding and integration.
WHO SHOULD COME FOR A SESSION?
Everyone can enjoy the benefits of this treatment. I’m particularly interested in working with people who have chronic stress, as I’ve found Dien Chan to be especially effective for working at the mental-emotional level.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT DIEN CHAN FACIAL REFLEXOLOGY?
I love the feedback I receive from giving treatments, it’s always so interesting to hear the effects that people experience. I also find it really helpful for self-care. It’s for this reason that I’ve written a book explaining Dien Chan and how to practice it for oneself.
WHERE DO YOU WORK FROM AT THE MOMENT?
Although I have a homebase in London, working both privately and at the KX Spa, this year I am travelling the world and giving treatments at many of the top luxury hotels and wellness centres. Recently, I have been at Soneva Jani in the Maldives, the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, and the Four Seasons Bangkok.
ARE YOU A VISITING PRACTITIONER AT ANY OF THE RESORTS AND WELLNESS RETREATS?
Yes, I work as a Visiting Practitioner and teacher all around the world. Although my treatments are much needed in hectic cities, I find peaceful natural settings to really support and enhance my work. I’ll be offering treatments at some truly sublime wellness retreats this year, including Kamalaya Koh Samui, Nihi Sumba, and Amanpulo.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
That’s a very tough question. Probably my most treasured advice has allowed me to trust myself and to trust my heart.
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU’RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?
I’m quite proud that I managed to finish writing my book Sensory Self Care: Emotional Wellbeing through Dien Chan Facial Reflexology x Qigong and getting it published. It feels like a big achievement for me and I’m super excited to share it with the world.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
Drinking too much tea! (I’m an avid tea enthusiast).
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG?
A musician and artist. Originally I trained in bookbinding and calligraphy, and also played drums in a semi-successful band for many years. This was incredibly fun, but making a livelihood through bookbinding or trying to be a rockstar is notoriously challenging!
WHO’S YOUR DREAM CLIENT?
I’ve never thought of having a dream client before. Likewise, I’ve never had a nightmare client. I try and welcome everyone I see with the same heart, no matter who they are.
FAVORITE ‘ME’ TIME ACTIVITIES?
I have a big passion for drinking fine tea and tea ceremonies. I also love the practices of Qigong and meditation, and I’d say this is the best way for me to de-stress.
WHAT HAS THE PANDEMIC TAUGHT YOU?
I’ve had so many lessons throughout the pandemic, it’s hard to sum them up. I think most of us are still in a process of recovery and making sense. Just as it’s been a collective trauma, I believe there is an ongoing collective dissociation from the accumulated stress of those few years. Overall, I feel it’s really highlighted how important friendship is and how our collective social dynamics can be such a double-edged sword.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired by musicians, poets, artists. Seeing people create amazing new creations gives me so much energy. I also take great inspiration from many spiritual teachers. Tow they conduct themselves and help other people is really inspiring.
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM?
Mostly just friends, but also some restaurants, wellness folk, and writers.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
The big next step for me is my book release and finishing the online companion course, which demonstrates all the self-care practices.
YOUR SECRET TO SUCCESS?
Keep practicing! I love the quote “success is moving from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR MOTTO?
“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” I love this quote from James Baldwin. A motto that I’ve been living with for the last few years comes from the amazing Chinese healer Wang Fengyi, who lived 100 years ago. It simply goes “Do not blame others.”