Jem was in both the TV series “Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses 3” & “Spa of Weight Loss for Life”, that were first shown in 2008. He has also had several articles written about him in the media.

Someone to watch over me

Hiring a live-in health guru for a few days might sound extravagant, but one-to-one therapy in your sitting room could lead to lasting zen

 by Kate Spicer

A small but growing number of wellbeing professionals prefer to work with clients in their home for several days at a time – health gurus in residence.

As a journalist, you often get to do things that are normally reserved for the rich, and while they feel incredible at the time, they are quickly forgotten.…. Moving in a specialist is not as cranky as it sounds. But when it comes to taking on board big new life ideas, it makes for a more close-to-normal-life experience than decamping to a retreat in Brazil, Ibiza or even Devon.

(“Eating too much and too often places the body under a lot of stress. When you fast in the right way, you give the body and mind an opportunity to go through a spiritual experience.”) … eating properly could solve all my problems – and the world’s, for that matter. Over the weekend, I barely thought about eating and began to realise how much we fill ourselves up with food as a substitute for love and attention.

Jem Friar, a detox coach who frequently moves in with clients for £360-£500 a day, agrees. “Living with a client makes what you are doing more relevant to that person’s life. I’ve worked at detox spas and retreats, and people really struggle to reenter normal life,” he says. “Being in a tropical paradise doesn’t bring any reality. I can go shopping with clients, I can detox their homes as well as their bodies, and we can talk about very personal habits and issues.”

Friar works with celebrities (the singer Skin is the only one he will mention), the rich, the time-deprived and – surprisingly, yet logically – with farmers. “It’s hard to take time off when 1,500 sheep rely on you.” Home improvement is perhaps less enjoyable than a five-star retreat, but what you learn is permanently inked on your lifestyle, rather than what you bring back from a holiday, which fades like a henna tattoo.

The retreat market is booming – we can’t get enough of our self-improvement holidays – but the big downside of jetting off to find yourself is that you lose yourself once you come back home. “The group dynamic can be very distracting,” Friar says, “as can a rigid schedule. A one-on-one scenario provides great flexibility. Spouses can either join in, or just commit to not frying bacon for a week.”

(Abridged version from The Sunday Times, April 1, 2007)