Chris Cozens established mind, body and spirit business, Life Arts, 25 years ago and is the organiser of festivals and back to nature weekends across East Anglia. In this anniversary year, the former RAF Ground Crew Manager explains how complementary therapies have helped him
My business, Life Arts, organises and facilitates weekend holistic breaks in Suffolk. I also run some of the country’s most popular mind, body, spirit festivals and exhibitions here in East Anglia. Over the last 25 years, I have taught over 2,500 students across the UK and Spain, in accredited courses such as Anatomy and Physiology, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, Reiki, Hopi Ear Candling and holistic facial massage. In 2008 I went to Thailand to focus on intensive additional training to teacher level, in Thai Yoga Massage. I also learned Hot Herbal Compress Massage, Tok-Sen, Aroma Spa Oil Massage, and Thai Foot Massage.
Before Life Arts I had a long career spanning 22 years as a Ground Crew Manager in the Royal Air Force (RAF), where I did tours in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Belize, Falklands and with NATO in Germany.
After leaving the RAF and experiencing mental health issues myself, I found that complementary therapies supported and helped me considerably. I learned some of those skills myself and applied all the transferable skills, knowledge and experience I had gained in the RAF, establishing Life Arts in 1998. Life Arts was designed to create safe healing spaces where positive change and growth can occur. Reflexology has helped me the most, because of its amazing ability to balance the whole body, and Indian head massage because it gives immediate stress relief and has helped so many people around the world.
Although each festival has a core audience, I always schedule 40% of the activities and exhibitors as fresh content. I owe that to our loyal visitors, to keep them happy and to retain all the excitement of new experiences. The first festival was a brilliant start with many happy memories and the public commenting on the energy, atmosphere and professionalism of the exhibitors. Thanks to my military training, everything was planned right down to the last fine details to ensure success. Prior to that first festival I was very nervous and apprehensive; after all, it was my ‘new baby’!
As it is Life Arts’ 25th anniversary, we will put on a very special celebratory event on September 16-17 at our Suffolk Mind Body Spirit Festival at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Visitors can expect additional new exhibitors, talks and activities for supporting mental health, women’s health (menopause) and men’s health, with a chill-out area designed to support our neuro-divergent guests. There will also be camping available in the festival grounds. A new outdoors area will have a live music stage (featuring folk, blues, and international performers) and free special entertainment celebrations on the Saturday evening. Alongside that will be outdoors field crafts, an eco-art space and walking areas; plus, preloved fashion for sale, with free fashion styling tips, and a “Red Carpet Selfie” experience for the bold and the brave! Other special guest appearances on stage will be announced nearer the time.
Everyone is here to help newcomers, as well as those with a lifetime of experience. There is no pressure to partake in anything and you can feel free to wander around and just look at what is going on. Many exhibitors offer “try before you buy” experiences and all offer free expert advice. You owe it to yourself to look because it might just change your life. All our exhibitors are chosen for their natural holistic, non-materialistic attitude, their integrity and honest inspiring nature. The atmosphere is always upbeat and warmly inclusive. We want everyone to know they are welcome.
I would like to develop the Suffolk Mind Body Spirit Festival so that it becomes viewed as a key calendar date for people’s diaries. I’d also love to be helping more people across East Anglia with holistic support in all matters of mind, body and spirit, by expanding the range and content of Life Arts events.
At no other time has there ever been a more important time to stop and take stock of our lives than during the pandemic. Many of us paused normal busy routines for the first time and when we slowed down, were able to consider what we wanted for our future, and to invest more time in our own personal health and wellbeing. That practice needs to continue for a happier, healthier life. There is a natural way to support ourselves in every way holistically. Life Arts can help you discover the options available in a safe space.
Life Arts 2023 events:
Mind Body Spirit Festival at Chelmsford City Racecourse on May 20-21 (supporting Helen Rollason Cancer Charity)
Back to Nature – holistic recharge break near Woodbridge, Suffolk on June 16-18
Featured image credit: Life Arts Mind, Body, Spirit Festivals