At Seven Heavens you’ll find an upstairs clinic for acupuncture, deep tissue massage and other therapies, while downstairs there’s a studio where classes are taught by community amateur sports club the Wu Shi Taiji and Qi Gong Association. Seven Heavens’ co-founder Faisal describes bringing Chinese medicine and magic to Finsbury Park.
“What we do in the clinic and in the studio is help people manage their lives and their stress. People can learn to stand, walk and move better through meditative practise.
My brother and I began to practise tai chi and qi gong when we were young – it came from the romanticism of kung fu, and the idea that a deep study of human nature, anatomy and philosophy can be a counter to the banality of modern life. To find that you can improve yourself, but not in a competitive way, was a revelation to us.
I’ve had the same teacher for twenty years, and we’re like a family. All the senior instructors here are also involved in some kind of therapy or healing – it’s about finding balance. We do special classes at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, which have expanded to include carers and doctors as well as patients. My brother is a senior lecturer at South Bank University, and we’re involved in research for the NHS on the benefits of qi gong for cystic fibrosis sufferers.
I was born and raised in Finsbury Park, and my mother used this space before me – she was awarded an MBE for the welfare association she set up for Pakistani women here. We’re very much involved in the Finsbury Park community – we teach kids traditional tai chi using an LED sabre – which they love! And our plan is to reach out to Age Concern and other groups of older residents.
We would love to run classes for more low-income children and adults who could really benefit from what we offer. But we have three amazing green spaces in the area – Finsbury Park, Gillespie Park and Clissold Park – and this and the vibrancy of the schools brings energy to our area.”