A Double Dose of Detox

By Organic Spa Magazine / November 7, 2013

Florida’s Hippocrates Health Institute will slim you down and clean you out.

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No doubt you associate Florida with beaches and Disney World. Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach challenges that stereotype with a one- to three-week program rooted in alternative medicine. Here, people go through a serious detox as they subsist on a raw vegan diet. The upshot? Slimming down is a sure thing. In just three weeks, the average healthy individual loses 15 to 20 pounds, per Hippocrates’ data.

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The program is as challenging as it gets—and it’s not without controversy—but Hippocrates’ goals are simple: Give the body a thorough cleansing from the inside out (literally, as the program involves a weekly colonic and daily enemas, including some with wheatgrass juice), and steer people, including many with chronic illnesses like cancer, toward better health. Guests have included pro tennis player Venus Williams, who enlisted Hippocrates’ help to deal with health woes, actor Anthony Hopkins, and singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins.

Your work actually begins before you arrive, as you’re instructed to cut caffeine, alcohol, dairy, meat, and salty, sugary, and processed foods from your diet. Think of it as a pre-detox, in the name of helping you adjust to the actual detox and minimize side effects like brain fog, headaches, fever, irritability and skin rashes. During your stay you will be monitored by a team of nurses and integrative physicians who take weekly blood draws and encourage regular weigh-ins. They may even recommend additional treatments (which could cost extra, so always ask).

A typical day involves fasting from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m., but if you have permission, you can have hot or raw grains for breakfast. There are rules about what you can and can’t eat, but suffice to say that your daily diet will include several green juices and at least two servings of wheatgrass juice. Wheatgrass juice is a mainstay here, as Hippocrates believes it to be the ultimate healing superfood.

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Lunch and dinner are served buffet-style every day, including the optional juice fast and silence day on Wednesdays. The menu, which features many foods grown on the property’s small organic farm, includes more than a dozen sprouts, vegetables and interesting dishes like “better than tuna.” (As an aside, you can pay $20 to eat at Hippocrates even if you’re not doing the program.)

How you spend your days is up to you. You can listen to lectures and learn how to grow sprouts, or hear about why Hippocrates believes in liquid fasting. There is also a weekly healing support group; wellness classes like yoga, aqua aerobics and meditation; a fitness center, albeit surprisingly small; bikes; several pools; and occasional entertainment at night.

And while you don’t come to Hippocrates to be pampered, you’ll find a sweet reward on campus at the spa. (Your fee includes one massage per each week’s stay. The spa is also open to the public for treatments without being in the program.) Treatments emphasize therapy over relaxation and include unique experiences like the Didgeridoo Sound Therapy–where a therapist plays the didgeridoo, an ancient musical instrument, around you to help your chi flow better—and Chi Nei Tsang, which massages your internal organs.

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