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What is a Health Farm?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 21, 2024
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A health farm is a resort or spa that offers weight loss programs. Many people attend health farms to improve their overall health and lifestyle habits in addition to losing weight. The term fat farm is a rather negative synonym for these kinds of programs. One of the reasons that these programs are referred to as farms is that the spas and resorts where they are offered are often located in rural areas. It should be noted, however, that there are health farms located right in the middle of busy cities as well.

When weight loss retreats first became popular in the 1950s, the common practice was to have attendees adhere to strict low-calorie diets and practice intense exercise. This format has been largely revamped. The original techniques used in health farm programs have been abandoned because, while they might have helped people to lose weight in the short term, there was not enough focus on long-term weight loss goals.

It is common for today's health farm to add a number of forms of training and alternative therapies to a program of diet and exercise. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet while staying at a health farm, it is common for clients to often study nutrition and take cooking classes while they are in residence. This way, it is easier to maintain a healthy diet after returning home from the retreat. These classes are often led by trained chefs and nutritionists. Some spas also offer classes on how to make healthy choices when dining out.

In addition to performing traditional exercises, it is also common for clients to take classes in yoga, Pilates, and meditation. The exercise classes are intended to help clients lose weight while also getting them into an exercise routine that they can continue after returning home. While it is possible to lose weight during even a short stay at a health farm, significant weight loss is usually the result of changes to habits and maintaing healthy routines in the long term.

In addition to exercising, many health farm clients also enjoy more traditional spa treatments such as manicures, pedicures, facials, and waxing treatments. It is also common for these kinds of spas to offer massages and body wraps that are intended to assist with the weight-loss process. Depending on the package that the spa offers, some of these treatments may be included to clients who are participating in the weight-loss program.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

Discussion Comments

By Sporkasia — On Feb 23, 2014

Unless you are going to spend several months at a health farm, the visit is more about learning good health habits and then putting them into practice when you return to your normal routine at home. A spa weekend or a few weeks at a health farm is not enough time to reverse years of unhealthy habits.

By Animandel — On Feb 23, 2014
Drentel - I imagine health farms have changed over the years, but you should be aware that not all of today's health farm spas are alike. Some are more relaxed and stress relaxation and spa treatments are a primary way of getting healthy. However, there are just as many health farms that stress working out and other physical activity as a way of getting into shape.

Regardless of which type a health farm a person visits, he should be aware of the importance of developing and sticking with a healthy diet.

By Drentel — On Feb 22, 2014

I have not spent any time at a health farm or a fat farm or a spa, so I don't know first-hand what goes on in these places. However, I think the original health farms of the 50's are a far cry from the exclusive spas of today.

I don't know whether the rigid and strenuous routine of a fat farm works better, or whether the relaxed atmosphere of a health spa works better long term, but I they are definitely two different animals.

Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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