For the last 6 years, Jo has built a successful laughter business (Laughter For Health) and Bowen clinic. Living with ME and Fibromylagia for over 20 years, Jo very much believes that positivity, laughter and holistic health go hand in hand.
However, after an infection of pneumonia last September almost floored her, then a sudden, tragic bereavement in December followed closely by the prospect of turning 50 – Jo decided that 2016 very much needed to be a year of “Self-love” – looking after herself, putting her needs first and regaining control of her health and happiness which she had been struggling to balance for a wee while.
Jo intended treating herself for her 50th birthday to a 2 week juice and detox retreat in the sun. After doing her research, she had decided on a retreat and was about to book up and pay. However, when she looked deeper into what you actually got in terms of (pretty basic) accommodation and potentially just being a number in a very large group of strangers, she wanted something more.
So she called on her dear friend Claire - a Health Coach passionate about raw food who has worked on and managed retreats all over the world, including Amchara and The Hill That Breathes. Claire also set up her own wonderful UK retreats with Retreat Petite which Jo attended last year and the focus was very much on small groups of like-minded people.
Claire also ran the amazing ORB (Organic – Raw – Bountiful) Café in Edinburgh which received rave reviews and a built a loyal customer base with its truly inspiring raw food. Claire also ran Raw Food Meetup Groups and a successful coaching business but had to leave Edinburgh in September 2014, moving back down South for family reasons
2016 the retreat dream begins!
At the start of January 2016, Jo told Claire all about her plans for her 50th birthday retreat in February and threw down the challenge – “I think you and I could do this better, make it more fun and achieve much better value for money!”
As two good friends, both in need of a positive boost, Jo wanted a retreat to be on their terms and meeting their needs and desires; this was the motivation for Laughter Cleanse and running their very own retreat.
In February 2016, Jo and Claire spent 2 weeks in a beautiful finca just outside Mijas Pueblo in Andalusia. Claire was in charge of all the juicing and sourcing the local organic supplies plus provided coaching sessions for Jo.
Jo ran daily Laughter Yoga, lymphatic exercises and Yoga sessions and also taught Claire all about the wonders of health-boosting, detoxing fermented foods.
Complementing their juice programme with high quality supplements, drinking 5 beautiful, organic juices a day for 10 days followed by 3 days raw, they never felt hungry, lost over 2 stone between them and, more importantly, felt – and looked – amazing!
While in Mijas they built a network of local suppliers and contacts, went to view luxury villas and the concept of Laughter Cleanse was born which they now want to share with others!
I am relatively new the whole world of juicing and raw food for healing; I am still a beginner – very much at the start of my journey since I used to go to ORB Café in Edinburgh during 2014 and then attended a detox retreat with Claire in January 2015. However, what I do know is what a difference a “reboot” (reference Joe Cross – Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead) with a juice cleanse can make to chronic health conditions like ME and Fibrolmyalgia – since I have lived with them for over 20 years and I have felt and experienced the difference in my pain levels, my physical energy, my cognitive function, my headaches and my overall wellbeing.
Laughter was a life-saver for me – it literally rescued me from a rather large, dark hole of chronic health - reigniting my joy and enabling me to re-connect with fun and play during some really difficult years of illness. Laughter was a way to awaken and discover a new, improved sense of self and purpose and, to this day, laughter it is a constant source of joy which I just want to share with everyone in order to boost health and happiness!
The benefits of laughter are extensive and holistic:
Physical - improving heart and cardiovascular health; reducing stress; strengthening immunity; improving respiration and breathing; increasing oxygen supply.
Mental - lifting our mood; building resilience; conditioning positivity and optimism though the mind-body connection.
Emotional - strengthening social connection; boosting confidence and self esteem.
Spiritual - bringing a deep, profound connection with yourself and with your joy; promoting self-love, fulfilment and loving kindness.
Using laughter on a cleanse-detox retreat makes absolute sense to me since laughter boosts the blood and lymph flow (aiding toxin removal), lifts your mood (when you can feel pretty low during detox), strengthens resilience, motivation and positivity AND helps a small group of people to bond and connect in a unique way that nurtures a strong support network essential for success.
I am passionate about holistic health and fascinated by the body’s own self-healing mechanisms and this is why I practise the Bowen Technique (or Bowen Therapy). I have been astounded with the results my clients have experienced from Bowen in resolving back pain, migraine, frozen shoulder, sports injuries, emotional issues and even in addressing fertility/conception issues resulting in 7 bouncing Bowen babies being brought into the world!
What I have learned over the last few years about how good nutrition and pure, concentrated nutrients can aid healing is deeply inspiring. And as a relative novice – my experiences and the challenges and hurdles I have faced I hope can inspire others – along with my laughter ha ha ha ha ha!
"Jo's laughter club has really changed the way I deal with life and I have to say although it is hard to laugh at certain incidents in life, it really changes how a situation unfolds when you laugh at a problem. I never thought one session could have such a positive impact on my life".
Laughter is the best medicine!
"A huge thank you for your amazing hospitality. We had a lot of fun and a fantastic opportunity to revitalise, get healthier, laugh our heads off and feed our bodies and minds with nourishing juices and raw foods. We will always remember how good it felt to stay here, make new friends and enjoy every moment. We can only recommend it to others! "
Marie and Veronika