You can find a number of health-oriented spas in Virginia. (Photo: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images )
Called "the Gateway to the South, " the Commonwealth of Virginia offers visitors natural beauty, from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the green peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains; scads of American history as the site of the first English settlement in the New World; and some of the most sophisticated medical and fitness-based weight-loss spas in the United States.
If your idea of a weight-loss getaway includes a no-frills "fat farm" with calisthenics and carrot sticks as the regimen, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that, according to "Forbes" magazine, "Today's health spas focus on long-term lifestyle changes that you can take home with you - in beautiful, luxurious settings with a lot more than a few greens on your plate." In fact, most spas concentrate on setting habits, not weight loss during your stay; while you can expect to lose a few pounds while you are at a spa, most facilities, especially those in Virginia, have refocused on educating you about healthy, active living.
Virginia Beach Wellness Center
The Virginia Beach Wellness Center (VaBeachWellness.com), located in Virginia Beach, offers a number of programs and packages centered around fitness, including a short-term boot camp, yoga, Pilates and self-defense programs. They describe themselves as "not a traditional fitness club, but a wellness center that promotes fitness with some fitness classes." The center also specializes in detoxification programs and diets incorporating herbal teas and raw foods. Most programs are not residential, but accommodations are available throughout Virginia Beach.
The Medical Spa at Nova
The Medical Spa at Nova (novamedspa.com) in Ashburn, Virginia, takes a medical and holistic approach to weight loss, providing, according to their website, "a team approach gives rise to the fitness and nutrition, mind body medicine and weight loss programs, tailored to create results for you." Teams can include fitness trainers, naturopathic physicians, dieticians and cognitive behavioral therapists. Nova also offers complementary traditional spa treatments, including massage, body treatments and hair removal.
The Women's Club
Located in Northern Virginia, the female-owned The Women's Club (thewomens-club.com) provides comprehensive fitness and wellness programs for women, which, according to the club, provide "a full complement of fitness, health, beauty and weight-loss programs to assist you in being your physical and personal best." All visits include a one-on-one health assessment to determine your needs, and the club offers both fitness and spa services. The Women's Club doesn't offer accommodations; however, you can choose from a variety of hotels and motels in the surrounding area of Chantilly.