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Brad Thompson joins the team at Golden Door Elysia

I never thought it would happen but after twenty two years I have left the Gold Coast! It had to be something special to entice me away from my beachfront unit at Main Beach.

After more than twenty years at Golden Door in Queensland, I am now really excited to be a part of the amazing team at Golden Door Elysia in the Hunter Valley. I initially started with Golden Door way back when the retreat opened introducing and teaching the Tai Chi Qigong form to the program team that became a favourite part of the daily routine. I had just graduated from the first Feldenkrais Professional training Program in Brisbane and it just seemed natural that I came on board teaching Feldenkrais classes and individual Functional Integration sessions. Shortly after I developed the breathing program that I went on to teach to thousands of guests over more than twenty years.

Over that time I came to love Golden Door as does anyone who works there for any period of time as is evident by the number of people who have been working there for many years.  It was a very sad time when the Willowvale Retreat closed down in July last year.

I have been coming to Golden Door Elysia for many years, I remember in fact former Managing Director Brook Ramage showing me the land on which the Retreat was to be built some time before it actually existed which is well over ten years ago now. I loved coming down to teach my specialty retreats over the years as it is a special place in a special location with a team of special people.  I never thought that one day I would actually move down here to work full time even after the Queensland Retreat had closed.

It’s funny how life sometimes throws you a curve ball that offers the opportunity for reflection and change. Shortly after Willowvale closed I decided I would take myself off for a routine medical examination as I’d never really had one before having been fit and well. As a direct result of this examination it was discovered that I had a severely leaking aortic valve and that I needed urgent surgery. So in February this year I had open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. It was during this time of resting and looking after myself that I decided that I would give Elysia a try and see how it felt.

The surgery went extremely well I was only in hospital for four days and I recovered very quickly. My cardiologist acknowledged that it was my particular style of fitness training that allowed me to get so far without showing any symptoms and to recover so well. Thirty five years of tai chi, qigong and internal kung fu training had prepared me very well for the whole process. I did my own rehabilitation training and I only missed one week of teaching class. In three weeks my chest was strong enough to start doing slow push ups again, after six weeks I was able to recommence pull ups on the chin bar and after eight weeks I was back in the water surfing. During this time I decided I would come down to Elysia and try it out.

I came down in May and spent the month living onsite and working. I had the best time so I made the decision to leave the Gold Coast and move to the Hunter region to work at Golden Door Elysia. I’m really excited to be here, I bring expereince in Chinese health and internal martial arts and 22 years’ as a Feldenkrais Practitioner. I look forward to starting a new life living in Newcastle and working at Elysia.

I’ll be offering Feldenkrais classes; this amazing system of movement education that teaches you to live more skilfully in your body as well as individual Feldenkrais Functional Integration lessons. Also my specialty breathing workshop and sessions that lead into a meditation practice that will have you going as deep as a zen monk and qigong practice that is the foundation of the whole system. Look out also for my specialty Retreats from time to time called “Cultivating Chi – Tools and Techniques for developing the Body’s Healing Energy”. For more information on these workshops click here

It’s so good to see once again so many familiar faces…past guests from Willowvale and Elysia that I’ve shared happy times and laughter with over many years and I look forward to many more here at Elysia and seeing you next time you come…..don’t leave it to long….health is your greatest asset!

Article by Brad Thompson
Brad has worked with the Golden Door for 23 years and is our Tai Chi Qi Gong specialist. He also delivers the world renowned Feldenkrais teachings and has changed many lives by helping to improve physical movement and reduce pain to increase overall wellbeing. Brad is also passionate about Meditation and Breath Awareness therapy.

Please note: This blog is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


  1. Nicole says:

    Welcome Brad and you have certainly enticed me to have another amazing stay the Golden Door! Nici

  2. Hakan Sandgren says:

    As happy as I am that you are happy, I am a bit sad. I am heading home from over a year in Vietnam soon and I was looking forward to your Feldenkrais classes at the Golden Door at Main Beach. I am still doing the qigong you taught, probably somewhat corrupted by now, and thank you for teaching it to me. Maybe some day we’ll meet and you can correct some of my moves. (I still cannot do the shoulder slaps, most of the time.)
    Good luck.

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