Born in Paris in 1949, Elisabeth studied philosophy, literature and classics at the Paris University where she completed her Masters degree in Classics and in Philosophy and in Chinese.
When she was 20, she met Claude Larre s.j. while he was working on his PhD thesis on the Huainanzi and translating the Laozi. As a result of his influence, she began to study Chinese, working with him on Chinese classical texts.She also studied modern Chinese with a native speaker and spent a year in Taiwan (1974) to further her studies.
In the early 1970’s, Father Larre met Dr. Jean Schatz, a western physician with an interest in oriental medicine He was an acupuncturist with a special interest for the classical medical texts. At this time Elisabeth embarked on a study of Chinese medicine, and together with Dr. Schatz and Father Larre, began the first study group of the classical medical texts in Paris. This lead to the founding of the European School of Acupuncture in Paris in 1976.
From this common work, Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, Father Larre and Dr. Schatz co-authored ‘A Survey of Chinese Medicine’, published in 1979 (English translation published in 1986).
Under the auspices of the Ricci Institute in Paris, Elisabeth and Father Larre offered lectures, seminars and conferences on Chinese classical thought; this teaching was given not only in Paris and other French cities, but also in several European countries and shortly in America. They also published numerous booklets on the seminal texts of Chinese medicine and philosophy.
In the mid 1980’s, she began to accompany Father Larre on his teaching engagements in both the UK and the US. Father Larre’s subtle understanding of the background culture and philosophy and her knowledge of the medical texts combined to produce a unique teaching team.
Elisabeth continues to teach worldwide, working with both medical and philosophical Classics. She was lucky enough to find good friends and partners to work with, such as Sandra Hill for the editing and publication of books in English through Monkey Press, Peter Firebrace for teaching in London with Orientation; Ken and Jessica Rose in the US with whom she co-founded the Three Spring Institute, and many others in different countries and languages.
Elisabeth does think that a real knowledge of the Chinese vision of life is useful not only to understand Chinese medicine from a scholarly point of view, but also to deepen one’s practical approach and clinical skill. It is the reason why she always reads, translates and explains texts which present a precise pathology and its diagnosis treatment or a reflexion on the nature and meaning of human life or anything in the between.
She loves what she does and wishes to continue as long as she can.