By Kaia Roman
Even though Hippocrates Wellness has been helping people with everything from obesity to cancer for more than 60 years, it’s still a well-kept secret in many ways. The Florida-based retreat center is a place that you hear about from a vegan friend, a cousin who experienced a miraculous restoration, or a naturopath who did a training program there.
Their advertising has been mostly word of mouth for decades, and the word on the street is: “When you want radical results for your health, and you want them fast, go to Hippocrates.”
And so it was that I found myself suffering from a terrible back injury and going through one of the most stressful times in my life. On the recommendation of a friend, I’d been following an alkaline diet at home (many believe that a highly-oxygenated, alkaline diet and lifestyle ward off cancer and other diseases). I was also doing chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, and anything else I could think of to heal my back. But it wasn’t enough.
Even though I’d massively cut back on my work schedule to focus on healing, standing to cook, bending to clean, and driving my kids to and from school was enough to keep my back in a constant state of pain. At night, between the back pain and the stress, I was barely sleeping. I really needed to get away and focus 100% on healing.
I decided to make my health my top priority and I got on a plane to Florida.
I arrived at the lush, tropical 50-acre retreat center in West Palm Beach on a balmy February day. Guests from all over the world arrive each Sunday to begin their healing journey, staying for one to three weeks for the institute’s Life Transformation Program. I would be staying for a week and I intended to make the most out of it.
On the schedule: health and nutritional counseling; youth-enhancing natural therapies; state-of-the-art spa services; inspiring talks; fitness classes; yoga and meditation; weekly colonics and massage; psychotherapy sessions and support group; green juices; an open wheatgrass juice bar; and the main attraction: a twice daily buffet of raw, vegan, delicious organic meals.
The Institute follows a simple concept first voiced by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, nearly 2,500 years ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The Hippocrates website states the center’s mission: “Our goal is to assist people in taking responsibility for their lives and to help them internalize and actualize an existence free from premature ageing, disease and needless pain.”
At Hippocrates, they take a whole-body approach to accomplish this goal – nourishing the mind, body, and spirit. When it comes to health, no proverbial stone is left unturned. Taking in my surroundings, I couldn’t help feeling like I had arrived at the Disney World of health resorts.
Dotted around the Garden of Eden-like campus are detoxifying infrared saunas, which guests are encouraged to use daily. There’s also a gym, two full-size swimming pools, wet sauna, saltwater pool, two jacuzzis, cold plunge pool, and an organic salon.
In between health treatments and lectures, guests can visit the therapy center for treatments like acupuncture, deep tissue massage, medically supervised hyperbaric oxygen chamber immersion, and vitamin infusions. I did my best to do it all while I was there.
Hippocrates Wellness is more than a retreat center; it’s a lifestyle. A big part of the program revolves around teaching guests how to keep it up at home. There are classes on how to grow sprouts, personalized supplement regimens, and lifelong written support for graduates.
The wall in the Hippocrates store is lined with star-studded autographed photos of the multitude of celebrities who have visited over the years. Many guests return for a once a year tune-up. Losing weight, having more energy, and experiencing a renewed verve for life are common outcomes.
The Institute also offers a cancer wellness program for those facing cancer, with an extremely high success rate. There’s a weight loss academy for people who want to shed pounds (10 pounds a week is pretty average) and more in-depth programs for those who want to educate and coach others in the Hippocrates lifestyle.