On a beautiful terrace near King’s Park, Stirling, there’s a place where people come, from far and wide, to rest, relax and heal. One Allan Park Wellbeing Clinic opened its doors four years ago, and has been thriving ever since. We spoke to Fiona Gavine to find out more.
One Allan Park Wellbeing Clinic, Stirling
Reception areas are always calm and welcoming
One Allan Park currently has 18 therapists, offering a broad range of complementary therapies ranging from Massage to Reflexology, Hypnotherapy, Nutritional Medicine, and all of the Talking Therapies. Fiona is the owner and Practice Manager. In her words, her job is “making sure it all works and we are giving a great service to our clients”. Linda Buick is the chief complementary therapist and an experienced nurse, specialising in dermatology. She manages the clinic in Fiona’s absence, as well as seeing clients for reflexology, dermatology consultations, as well as Swedish, hot stones and pregnancy massage.
Perhaps unusually, Fiona is not a therapist herself, but this is for good reason: “I was a Biochemist and then a finance/ business person with a keen interest in health, so my skill-set is completely different from therapists. I think it’s difficult to effectively combine the role of therapist and business owner. I’ve seen other establishments try; however, I believe it compromises the experience for the paying client.”
Fiona’s approach is different. “Myself and Linda look after the premises to ensure that the clients have a pleasant experience as soon as they come in. Aroma diffusers pump out faint geranium essential oil, candles are lit in the therapy rooms and there are fresh flowers in reception. Everything is spick and span so the therapists have only to worry about giving their undivided attention to their clients. They need never worry about the premises, the booking system, marketing, or any other distraction.”
The clinic was officially opened by Judy Murray in November 2013. “She understands the need to get the body, mind and heart all working effectively together to make the best of what we have,” explains Fiona. And opening Allan Park was the culmination of many lifestyle decisions for Fiona too. “My mum died of cancer 20 years ago at the age of only 63. This hit me pretty hard, as she was of that generation who gave everything to their family but did not often spend time looking after their own health. Now we know better and understand that to have a long and active life we need to take care of our bodies through eating nutritious meals, exercising, managing stress and our mental health, too. I started doing yoga about 17 years ago and met lots of interesting people with much to say about complementary health and healthy living. I found this fascinating, especially the science aspects of it.”
These experiences made Fiona examine her lifestyle. “After 20 years working in large companies, I was pretty burnt out with all the travelling. So, I set up on my own as a consultant helping young health and life science companies get off the ground. Eventually you do think … let’s just start up your own company instead of telling others how to do it!” And the rest, as they say, is history.
Fiona is proud of many of the clinic’s therapies: “We are, I believe, the only clinic in Scotland offering doctor-led Functional Medicine. This looks at the body as a whole, rather than treating each symptom. It’s delivered by a medical doctor who has experience in gynaecology and obstetrics, making us ideally suited to help women with long tern chronic conditions. Secondly, three years ago a young woman called Claire Spence came to the clinic and introduced me to a therapy called Kinetic Chain Release, or KCR. This physio-based therapy helps align the bodies of clients to resolve issues such as bad backs and sciatic pain. I’m not sure if it is Claire’s magic way with the clients, the therapy, or a combination of both, but from where I sit in reception, I hear so many stories of people’s pain reducing. It is lovely to be part of it.”
Stirling is Fiona’s ideal setting. “For a wellbeing clinic, it’s just so nice to be in a location that has all the facilities to be well. Stirling is small enough to be able to walk to nearly all amenities, but big enough to have every amenity, too. And, it’s a stunning place visually. When I’m walking my dog Ben around the Kings Park golf course, there is a point where you get the most amazing view of the castle, the old town jail and observatory. And It must be one of the best views in Scotland. So good for the stress levels and mental wellbeing. In terms of setting up a business, Stirling is accessible from all over Scotland. We have clients who regularly come by train from Glasgow and Edinburgh – we’re a mere 8 minutes’ walk from the train station.”
When we ask Fiona to describe the atmosphere at One Allan Park, her response is compelling: ‘The moment I walked into One Allan Park, almost five years ago, I felt a positive healing energy and knew it would be an ideal location for a wellbeing centre. Our clients feel the energy and the calmness too; it is remarked upon constantly. Our therapists are a great team, very professional, and so keen to help every client in every way they can. It is a friendly, supportive and uplifting place.”
And where does Fiona get her drive every day? “Simple. I love seeing people enjoy life and being happy and healthy. Sometimes people need help to achieve that. We are here for them! I set up the clinic to be a one-stop shop to help people access everything they need to achieve a long and healthy life. So that they can be all they want to be. So that they may thrive in life, rather than exist.”
One of the relaxing therapy rooms at the clinic
Judy Murray and Fiona Gavine at the opening of One Allan Park Wellbeing Clinic