Fresh Start Health Retreat Centers—An Experience with Raw Foods, Juice, and Wellness While Detoxing the Body
When I first heard about the wellness program, Fresh Start, at the Ocean Resort on Oyster Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C., I was intrigued. After reading in depth about this five-night juice and body detox program, I wanted to learn more. As someone who travels worldwide tasting food, I thought this seemed like an attractive alternative healthy experience.
Fresh Start’s programs and spa services integrate an intensive detoxification and cellular nourishment program with organic raw vegan cuisine the first night and fresh juices the rest of the time. This is combined with lifestyle education, workshops, steam baths, yoga, and meditation.
In addition, optional infrared sauna treatments, spa treatments, colon hydrotherapy, and other spa services are available.
Three of us joined a group that had already been there 10 days. They were into the routine of detoxing and had a day’s reward with vegan solid raw food at the same time we arrived. Since this was an intense experience, it was wonderful to have seven participants who all enjoyed each other.
Fresh Start offers five-day, 10-day, and 14-day programs. After I signed up, I realized my timing was not ideal, as I was just getting back from a month of travel, and going into another three weeks of travel immediately afterwards.
These commitments prevented me from preparing properly for such an intensive program. In addition, I was not able to return slowly into a solid diet. I stress this, as it is important that participants allow a minimum of one week, and ideally two weeks, before and after to follow the low-key detoxifying program Fresh Start sends to guests. As a result, my reactions were more severe than the staff or I anticipated.
The staff was exceptional. Their commitment to and knowledge of the benefits of raw food were outstanding — and equaled by their dedication to Fresh Start.
We started each day at 7 a.m. with yoga or meditation—a highlight of the day. After that, we drank two liters of saline water before our first juice. This naturally caused everyone to react with bowel movements on a continual basis for an hour or so. For me, it was much more severe. My saline and juice combination was altered by the director to accommodate my system. I was given charcoal water to minimize the effect of the saline water.
During the rest of the day between juice times, we participated in educational classes, group sessions, walk time, and rest. There was also time to schedule spa services. Most of us ended each evening in the steam bath.
The day before we went home, we had a cooking class with fresh vegetables prepared in several different ways. These were all packed in much-appreciated bags for us to take along on our flights home. In addition, we received some very good recipes to get us started on this type of lifestyle.
The Ocean Resort, located in Oyster Bay, overlooked Desolation Sound and the Coastal Mountain range. Quite “green” by today’s building standards, the resort’s surroundings were breathtaking. WiFi and organic tea were available in the lobby all the time. The ladybirth was peaceful ,and an intriguing, thought-provoking place to walk. This setting was peaceful and tranquil.
As an added bonus, the meditation therapist created special lotions and shampoos, based on the medical information we all supplied. They were very soothing and quite reasonable if you wanted to order additional products.
Cost for the programs are all in Canadian Dollars:
5 days run from $2,000 CAD per person to $3,250 CAD per person.
10 days run from $4,000 CAD per person to $5,500 CAD per person.
14 days run from $5,000 CAD per person to $6,750 CAD per person.
Comox Airport Pick up and Drop is $50 CAD per person.
All charges are subject to 12% HST.
The 10- and 14-Day Advanced Whole Body Cleanse and Re-nourishment Programs include:
Pre-cleanse preparation guidelines; accommodations; green body care products (shampoo, lotion and soap); guest binder; colon parasite, Candida; liver/gall bladder and blood cleansing custom-made drinks; teas and formulas (10 day program does not include kidney cleanse); daily fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices; raw organic meals on eating days; daily wheatgrass juice; highest quality probiotic supplements; green smoothie(s); daily steam bath with aromatherapy; yoga classes; health lectures; daily group time, facilitated by a program director; healthy meals preparation workshops; daily health videos; daily group exercise; meditation sessions; basic lifestyle and health evaluation and individualized Tips for the Journey to take home. Help and guidance are given throughout the detoxification process.
The Five-Day Body Detox Juice Fasting Program includes: Pre-cleanse preparation guidelines; accommodations; green body care products (shampoo, lotion and soap); guest binder; daily fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices; daily wheatgrass juice; colon cleanse; blood cleansing tea; highest quality probiotic supplements; daily steam bath with aromatherapy; yoga classes; health lectures; daily group time, facilitated by a program director; daily health videos; Tips for the Journey to take home. Here, too, help and guidance are given throughout the juice fasting week.
Not included in this program are the Basic lifestyle and health evaluation and Individualized Tips for the Journey to take home.
Not included in any of the programs: Airfare fees and pick-up; health and travel insurance; and optional complementary health spa therapies.
In addition to the program package, most guests chose from the numerous optional spa services daily. It is stressed that these services help achieve maximum results, as most of the offered treatments are therapeutic.
The colonic cleanse is what I opted to experience, since it was recommended as the one to choose if only selecting one. Even though I went to this treatment with some hesitation, I came out happy I had experienced it. All three of us who were there for five days experienced only the colonic service. We each had a positive reaction. Those on the 14-day program opted to receive five to seven colonic cleanses.
All the price quoted below are also in Canadian Dollars.
The Standard Colon Hydrotherapy Session of 45 minute is $100. For $20 additional, you can have the Coffee Colonic. Fresh Start says, “This assists your liver to more effectively detoxify your body. The caffeine in the coffee stimulates peristaltic activity and dilates the bile ducts, allowing toxins to be flushed through the gastro-intestinal tract.” Some lose one to three pounds with this treatment.
Bowen Therapy is also offered for $140 for 1 hour and $70 for 30 minutes. This treatment is described as helping lymph circulation and neuromuscular balancing.
Other spa services averaged between $100 and $200. The sauna cost was $30. Feedback from those who experienced daily spa treatments was quite positive. All spa prices/services are listed on the Fresh Start website.
Other services include: Acupuncture for $100 per hour; Jin Shin Do® Acupressure® session of 90 minutes for $100; an hour customized massage for $100; and Reiki Energy Work of 40 minutes for $60 and 1 hour for $90. The following treatments were all $90 for an hour: Low laser therapy (phototherapy); Swedish massage; lymphatic drainage massage; herbal steam massage; hot stone massage, reflexology; Fresh Start Natural Facial. You can add exfoliation to the facial and it is 1-1/4 hours for $95.
Body wraps are also available and vary between $70 and $80 for 45 minutes to an hour treatments. There are many more treatments, listed on the Fresh Start website.
Objectives among the guests varied considerably. One received the package as a gift, another was a terminal cancer patient looking to change eating habits in the hope for better health. Others were vegans who wanted to move further into raw food, and another, a supportive spouse. No matter what one’s personal reasons for attending, it was a thorough introduction to raw food from a passionate well-trained staff.
The program directors follow a raw food lifestyle. The staff incorporates some aspects of this lifestyle into their daily living.
Again, I stress that this was an intense program. Even though I stayed with it, due to my severe reaction, my intake was adjusted, as I had to eliminate the saline water and add a charcoal mixture. I continued on the juicing of raw food, but my fruit was eliminated for a day. They had a mild laxative planned for everyone the night before leaving, which I requested not to use. The reason : I was flying a regional carrier back to Vancouver — without a bathroom.
One of the 14-day participants was eagerly looking forward to returning in several months; another was happy to leave, but feeling much better. So, Fresh Start is an exceptional experience for some and a challenge for others. It is a complete introduction to detoxing your body and learning about how to live eating raw food.
As for me, I knew I would not change my lifestyle of traveling the world, finding destinations to write about, and sampling foods of each culture. However, I did learn useful tips to take home with me and incorporate into my lifestyle. These should assist in keeping my hectic routine somewhat healthier. My bonus was that I lost five pounds in five days.
FRESH START HEALTH RETREAT CENTERS
4384 South Island Highway