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Lent launch of ‘Fasting Friends’ wellbeing retreats

Emilie Vrain and Franziska Ochs

A passion for the environment and the experience of overcoming long-term digestive issues led University of East Anglia (UEA) post-doctorate researcher Emilie Vrain to set up a new type of business venture that’s focused on promoting wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle.

“Fasting Friends” retreats, new to the UK but based on a holistic fasting and exercise formula developed in Germany, the Buchinger Wilhelmi programme, offers an innovative way for stressed adults to relax and detox.

“Lent seemed the perfect time to launch the venture,” said co-founder Emilie. “My interest in the link between digestive and mental health began after I developed severe stomach problems while trekking in India 10 years ago. I suffered regular debilitating flare-ups so changed my diet as a way to control it.

“My friend and business partner, Franziska Ochs, had attended a Buchinger Wilhelmi retreat in Germany and was very impressed with the results, so we decided to introduce the concept to the UK by establishing ‘Fasting Friends’.”

The idea is simple – week-long retreats for groups of up to 12 people offering a nutritious and purifying liquid diet designed to stimulate the body’s self-healing processes, combined with daily yoga and gentle hikes in the countryside near Bath to promote mental and physical wellbeing. While individual elements of the retreats are already popular, the mix of fasting, walking and treatments in small, supportive groups, is new.

“We developed our idea into a viable business plan with the support of the university’s Student Enterprise team, who provided us with invaluable guidance and practical advice, and are now ready to welcome our first guests in May,” said Emilie.

“Franziska, a licensed fasting instructor, is in charge of nutrition, while I’m a trained mountain leader and first aider and will lead the outdoor activities. We hope that it will enable many more people to experience the benefits for themselves, whether it’s for a week or the start of a new, healthier lifestyle.”

For more information, go to www.fasting-friends.com.