Complete abstention from food is the most efficient remedy for all illnesses, the strongest elimination of toxins and the greatest force for the regeneration of the organism.

Professor Edmond Bordeaux Szekely

Detox and Cleansing Retreat for the Healthier, Longer Life 
A 14-day reset for new health and vigor

Spring: March 16-30, 2019
Fall: September 14-28, 2019
Singles: $13,700 + tax
Doubles: $12,200 + tax, per person

For many years I have been looking for the right person to help us revive The Ranch tradition of fasting.  My father believed strongly in the capacity of the human body to heal itself.  He believed that illness was essentially one disease, toxemia, and that by clearing toxins from the body the natural healing capacity of the body would be enhanced and the disease would vanish.

Fasting and cleansing have now become trendy, and Ranch guests have been fasting in a variety of ways since the early 1940’s.  In the 60’s guests participated in the “Mediterranean Grape Cure,” which was essentially a grape cider with raw vinegar detox. It was ahead of its time in recognizing the nutritional benefits of disease-fighting antioxidants called flavonoids. In the 70’s and 80’s we offered two days of juice fasting called “The virtue making diet.”

Dr. Michael Finkelstein, author of the book “Slow Medicine” and longtime Ranch guest is the perfect match for the Ranch’s new fasting and detox program.  Dr. Finkelstein will provide holistic medical support, inspiration, and education as we spend two weeks together cleansing and transforming our bodies.  We will emerge renewed and lighter, not only in our physical body, but also in our heart and spirit.  I’ll be participating with you, and together we will form a supportive community.

As Rumi says, “When you fast,
 good habits gather like friends who want to help.”

In Friendship,
Sarah Livia Szekely Brightwood, President


Detox Interview With Dr. Michael Finkelstein

Watch Testimonials From Prior Guests

The Program

Feel lighter, full of energy, and healthier. Learn to live the anti-inflammatory life, which prevents disease by promoting wellness at every level.

“Nowhere better on earth to be so cared for while you care for yourself.” – Monique, Detox Retreat Participant

The Program Includes

  • 14-day detox retreat with a 7-day organic juice cleanse
  • Five spa therapies, e.g., colonic hydrotherapy and massage
  • Three private 90-minute consultations with Dr. Finkelstein
  • Yoga, meditation, nutritional education, entertainment, art classes, daily group activities, and all Ranch programs
  • A supportive and natural setting of 4,000 private acres of mountains, meadows and world-class gardens

Created by Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely, President of Rancho La Puerta, and Michael B. Finkelstein, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.B.I.H.M., the Detox and Cleansing Retreat is a great way to reset balance, and let the cells of the body return to a more optimal state. It is now becoming clear and scientifically substantiated that intermittent fasting restores health in the short term and has long-term benefits as well. Only a well-designed program—not a quick fix—can offer optimum results. Taking this time for yourself is a gift beyond measure as it allows for a complete recovery to the state of balance that is essential for your health. We will provide the most intelligent and supportive environment for you to receive these benefits and propel you forward in your own evolution on every level — mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. For more on Dr. Finkelstein’s work, and his partnership with Robin Queen Finkelstein (“The Slow Medicine Therapist”) please visit their websites and

Detox and Cleansing Retreat Benefits

  • Immediately reduce inflammation in the body
  • Feel younger: Dr. Finkelstein’s patients report that they feel 10-20 years younger during the cleanse
  • Lose 10 pounds during the fast, and learn how to maintain your new weight in a healthy way
  • Experience renewed physical balance, mental clarity, and a revitalized spirit

Program cost, all-inclusive, starting at $12,050+ tax, per person, double occupancy. Includes access to all Ranch programs, facilities, and amenities.

Sample Schedule

Ranch Detox Program Sample Schedule

Each day is yours to do as much or as little as you wish. Multiple activities may be listed each hour; choose the one that suits you best. The Ranch offers many other classes that you may attend as your energy allows. You may refer to this time as a “fast”, but it is better to embrace this time as a “slow”.

Sunrise Yoga
This early morning beginner yoga class will wake up your mind and body to the day’s possibilities.
Quail Walk
A lowland hike over undulating terrain; a perfect light hike.

Juice at the Gazebo
Daily check-in with the group. Includes Words of Wisdom, i.e. the writings of Edmond Szekely.

Healing Therapy
Remove toxins with an enema (30 min.), lymphatic drainage, energy work, massage, or reflexology.
Pilates Mat: Progressive
A great progressive class is for those who have never experienced the benefits of this core strengthening, posture aligning methodology.
Quiet Time
Use this time to nourish your mind, body and spirit. It is the perfect time to swim, steam, use the sauna, nap, or snuggle up with a good book in a hammock.

Yoga: Fundamentals
Ideal for beginners or guests interested in a slower paced class that addresses fundamental skills and terminology. (Progressive)

Quiet Time
Use this time to nourish your mind, body and spirit. It is the perfect time to swim, steam, use the sauna, nap, or snuggle up with a good book in a hammock.

Juice at the Gazebo

Nutrition Talks, Inspirational Lectures, Art and Journaling Classes
Lecture topics may include The Art and Science of Fasting and Detoxification, Principles of Balanced Living, The History of Rancho La Puerta, and Nutrition for the Mind, Body and Spirit. Art and journaling classes will also be available throughout the week.

Healing Therapy
Remove toxins with colonic hydrotherapy, lymphatic drainage, energy work, massage, or reflexology.

Crystal Bowls/Sound Healing
Crystal Bowls emit pure sound waves that resonate throughout the body’s tissues and organs. These sounds and vibrations affect brain wave activity causing the release of powerful neurohormones that suppress pain, heighten the immune system, and produce deep relaxation.

Juice at the Gazebo

Restorative Yoga
Fundamental yoga poses practiced while supporting the body with blankets, bolsters, blocks and straps, allowing you a deeper sensation of “being in the moment.” A nice practice for relaxation and renewal.
Healing Therapy
Remove toxins with colonic hydrotherapy, lymphatic drainage, energy work, massage, or reflexology.

Quiet Time
Use this time to nourish your mind, body and spirit. It is the perfect time to swim, steam, use the sauna, nap, or snuggle up with a good book in a hammock.

Juice and Group Check-in

Inner Journey: Sunset Meditation
Calm the mind and sink into the present moment. Includes a resting guided visualization focused on breath and body.

Evening Activity
Spend time with the group, enjoy a live concert, attend one of The Ranch’s various presentations.


The Detox and Cleansing Retreat prepares you for your arrival at The Ranch and will teach you to modify your lifestyle for sustainability after your stay. Therefore, before, during and after your stay, you will receive the ultimate care and support.

How is the program structured?

Day 1 – 3
We will provide a comprehensive orientation when you arrive at The Ranch. Day 1 – 3 is your time to settle in, meet and greet the group, and take the full advantage of the traditional Ranch experience.
Day 3 – 10
The juice cleanse will begin on day three and last for seven days. Each day offers a variety of activities, such as learning sessions with Dr. Michael Finkelstein and the other program leaders, meditation, gentle yoga, and walks. Therapeutic modalities will be scheduled with the intention to make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Day 11 – 14
Celebrate the end of the cleanse with a break-fast. The final three days allow for the re-introduction of food and the ongoing planning for a successful re-entry back home. Guests will now enjoy the full spectrum of Ranch activities as well.

How do I prepare for this experience?

You will have a 90-minute phone consultation with the Program Director, Dr. Michael Finkelstein. He will answer questions and help design an individualized plan to adjust what you are consuming and make suggestions on how to prepare for the cleanse. This will make the entire program easier and more effective.

It is important to consider what you put into your body and your general “pace of life” even before the fast begins. Ideally, you would start to wind down a little, e.g. not to enter the fast at 60 mph.
Getting good rest, staying well hydrated and remaining active are important. We recommend that you begin to adjust your diet about two weeks before the beginning of the fast, if not sooner. Begin to consume more green leafy vegetables than usual, raw if possible, and diminish your intake of other cooked foods, especially animal products (including dairy, meat, fish, fowl, eggs, etc.).

If you consume caffeine, please begin a taper of that about 10-14 days before the fast so that you have two to three days without caffeine before the fast begins. This will avoid the unpleasant withdrawal headache and other symptoms. Keep in mind that alcohol and tobacco are also factors. If you drink or smoke, the less you do just before the fast, the better.

What do I need to bring?

We will supply you everything you need to support the cleansing process – skin and tongue brush, enema kit, enzymes, probiotics and mineral support, as well as water bottles and a journal. Therefore, comfortable clothes, chemical and fragrance-free sundry items for personal use are all that is required.

What kind of juice will be served during the cleanse?

The juices are primarily made of cucumber, kale, fennel, celery, parsley, cilantro and dandelion greens. Lemon juice and natural salt are added for balance. Other herbs, such as ginger, turmeric, and cayenne can be added to taste. Each guest will receive 64 oz. of freshly prepared organic juice daily. The majority of the ingredients are sourced from The Ranch’s six-acre organic farm, Tres Estrellas.

Am I strong enough to do this program?

Most people are strong enough to complete the program successfully. In fact, for many who have a chronic medical condition, this can be quite valuable. That said, if you have an acute medical condition (active infection, unstable blood pressure or blood sugar, medications in the process of being titrated, aggressive cancer or other serious debilitating syndromes), this may not be for you. Please read our Health Disclaimer, which is more descriptive and specific. If you have any questions, we will put you in touch with Dr. Michael Finkelstein. Still, everyone is advised to speak to their primary physician, and have a waiver signed to make sure that there is nothing underneath the surface that will complicate and interfere with your experience.

I take medications. What do I need to know?

There are many common medications that can be continued safely during a fast, such as thyroid medications. And, there are others that can be discontinued for the week or two around a fast program, such as mild pain medications. However, medications that work by maintaining stricter blood levels are not easy to regulate during a fast. Examples of such medications include: anti-coagulants, anti-seizure, blood pressure, blood sugar, and psychotropic medication. If you are on any of these a fast program without access to your regular doctor may not be advisable. Should you have any questions please converse with both your doctor and Dr. Michael Finkelstein.

What should I expect to experience during the fast?

Most people feel quite well during the majority of the program period. The initial “transition days” and the days following the week-long fast period itself are filled with excitement and great energy. There may be periods during fasting where people exhibit symptoms such as “slowness” and low energy, along with some achiness. These are usually transient. Most feel uplifted and have a surprising amount of energy during the fast. We will be guiding people individually to prevent as many symptoms of “detox” as possible, as well as to instruct individuals carefully about how much energy to expend, i.e. activities that require a certain amount of endurance, how to stay properly hydrated, etc.

Overall, the program is designed to support the body’s natural cleansing mechanisms. The juice ingredients, as an example, promote the clearance of toxins from the various organs. Enemas, colonics, skin brushing, far-infrared saunas, breathing exercises, body-mind and energy treatments, will be programmed into the process. The support of the group itself, and the leadership of a highly-qualified team will round out the process.

How much weight will I lose?

Most individuals lose approximately 10 pounds during the program. This weight is a combination of fat mobilization and the obligatory fluid loss to eliminate toxins. This weight-loss can be maintained, however, by following a smart nutrition and lifestyle program, much of which will be discussed in detail during the two weeks. Indeed, while weight loss is not the primary objective of the program, it is an inherent “side effect” of the process; and a great way to begin a holistic regimen for sustainable metabolic balance and vitality.

What are the benefits of colonic hydrotherapy?

While a tap water enema is useful (and strongly recommended daily), Colonic Hydrotherapy (also called High-Colonic) can increase the removal of toxins by tenfold.  This procedure is gentle and well tolerated, and is part of the program package. On these days, the otherwise recommended daily tap water enema is not necessary.

What will happen after the juice cleanse?

While you will be eager to eat after the fast, be aware that your body will take some time to become efficient at this. For the two or three days immediately following the fast, you should graduate to more complex food groups and quantities.  The first meal we will share might be an “apple”. This is the perfect way to increase your awareness about food and its value. Eat mindfully and pledge to be mindful about what you consume. Eat slowly, enjoy your food and choose peace during your meals.The second and third meals should be a simple salad (raw vegetables only), in small quantity, e.g. one bowl.

How will I feel after the fast?

It is not unusual to feel a little tired and “slow” for one to two weeks. We recommend that you continue to drink a lot of water. It is reasonable, as well, to continue to make juice regularly, e.g. daily in the morning or in place of dinner. We encourage patience and mindfulness — enjoying how mellow you are and how your body feels. You can gradually increase your activity toward normal as you are able.


Final Thought

While people use the word fast to refer to the process of cleansing and detoxification, the actual experience is slow. Taking this time for yourself is a gift beyond measure as it allows for a complete recovery to the state of balance that is essential for your health. It is our intention to provide the most intelligent and supportive environment for you to receive these benefits and propel you forward in your own evolution on every level — mental, emotional and spiritual, as well as the physical.

Healing Spa Process

The Ranch’s Natural Healing Spa Process
The Ranch philosophy of health and well-being supports our natural healing process, one that assists the body in healing itself–a process that is eminently built in and natural. All forms of holistic health care follow innate principles for self-healing and restoring balance to the whole being.  Much as the cycles of nature govern how the earth renews itself, the human body also needs to cleanse and relax before renewing and reactivating once again. Our treatment programs align with these natural cycles.

To make the most out of your visit, we encourage you to schedule cleansing treatments at the beginning of the week, continue mid-week with treatments that relax and restore, and opt for ones that energize during the last day or two before you depart.


Book Your Treatments

Detoxify, Purify, Eliminate
Detox Massage

Rosemary Loofah Salt Glow Treatment
Water Element Treatment
Xocolatl Skin Replenishment Treatment
RLP Herbal Wrap
Ranch Remedy Wrap
Seaweed Wrap
Gemstone Reflexology
Happy, Hands & Feet
Back Facial
Custom Facial
Harmonizing Firming Facial
Japanese Restorative Facial
Men’s Refresher Facial
Soothe, Repose, Unstress
Four-Hand Massage
Head-to-Toe Relaxation Massage
Mountain Sage Hot Stone Massage
Personal Retreat Massage
Ranch Classic Massage
Sacred Moments Massage
Wellness Journey Massage
Earth Element Treatment
Fire Element Treatment
Metal Element Treatment
Water Element Treatment
Wood Element Treatment
RLP Herbal Wrap
Ranch Remedy Wrap
Seaweed Wrap
Gemstone Reflexology
Happy Hands & Feet
Deep–Moisture Facial
Hydrating Warm Stone Facial
Activate, Revitalize, Strengthen
Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage
Personal Retreat Massage
Sacred Moments Massage
Sports Recovery Massage
Wellness Journey Massage
Energy Balance Treatment
Fire Element Treatment
Healing Therapy Treatment
Metal Element Treatment
Rosemary Loofah Salt Glow
Ranch Remedy Wrap
Gemstone Reflexology
Happy Hands & Feet
Nourish, Renew, Re-establish
Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage
Detox Massage
Personal Retreat Massage
Sacred Moments Massage
Sports Recovery Massage
Wellness Journey Massage
Earth Element Treatment
Healing Therapy Treatment
Xocolatl Skin Replenishment Treatment
Wood Element Treatment
Rosemary Loofah Salt Glow Treatment
Ranch Remedy Wrap
Seaweed Wrap
Happy Hands & Feet
Gemstone Reflexology
Scalp Treatment
Harmonizing Firming Facial
Japanese Restorative Facial
Men’s Refresher Facial

Our Team

Michael B. Finkelstein, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.B.I.H.M.

Michael Finkelstein, MD, FACP, ABIHM, aka The Slow Medicine Doctor®, is a holistic doctor in New York. He is the founder and executive director of The Slow Medicine Foundation and is the founder and medical director of SunRaven: The Home of Slow Medicine, a holistic wellness center located on a farm, in Bedford, NY.

Dr. Finkelstein is a medical blogger for Doctor Oz, Sharecare, and The Huffington Post; he is the author of Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness, endorsed by Andrew Weil, MD and Mehmet Oz, MD; he has been featured in top media outlets including The New York Times, CNN, and Real Simple; he has presented at leading venues including GE Corporation, Summit at Sea, and Omega Institute; he is an adjunct professor at Binghamton University School of Management.

Dr. Finkelstein was trained at premier institutes for both conventional and integrative medicine – including The University of Pennsylvania, where he received both his Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Medical Degree (MD), and The University of Arizona College of Medicine, where Dr. Finkelstein completed an Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, studying directly with integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD.

Over the past three decades, Dr. Finkelstein has distinguished himself not only as a doctor in private practice but also as the Medical Director of several major hospitals and health institutes, including two Integrative Medicine hospital departments/programs that he founded. Drawing from this diverse medical expertise, Dr. Finkelstein offers both a micro and macro point of view on today’s healthcare needs and challenges, and he provides a tried-and-true solution for healing individual patients and the medical system as a whole: Slow Medicine. Read more…

Robin Queen Finkelstein, Psycho-Spiritual Counselor

Robin Queen Finkelstein, The Slow Medicine Therapist, is a certified psycho-spiritual counselor, ordained minister, and green living specialist, as well as the founder of Transformational Touch healing modality. The co-founder of SunRaven: The Home of Slow Medicine, Robin facilitates individual, couple, family, and group therapy sessions and workshops, which have been featured in local media including Westchester, North County News, and The Wag. Robin teaches that our wounds can, paradoxically, serve as fertile soil for awakening, transforming, and blossoming, and with this perspective, she guides individuals through their own unique journeys into wholeness – honoring the wisdom of their bodies and souls, helping them cultivate their emotional intelligence, and providing the security and nurturance they need to step into their fullest beings. Read more at

Health Disclaimer

Health Disclaimer

The Detox Retreat at Rancho La Puerta is not meant to replace medical care. If you have an existing medical condition or take any prescription medications, please consult with your doctor before committing to this program. Once you get the go-ahead, you will be directed to consult with Dr. Michael Finkelstein, our Program Director, who will be with you during your stay and support you as well before and after, to provide additional support and guidance.

For most with stable medical conditions, the Rancho La Puerta Fasting and Detoxification program will not only be possible, but may be extremely useful in reducing symptoms and increasing vitality and overall health. However, we do not claim to “cure” disease.

We have organized the following three groups to provide you with a sense of how this might work for you.

Group 1

Individuals with the following conditions and taking medications for these are usually excellent candidates for the program.

  • Acid Reflux/GERD
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Most Stable Auto-Immune Syndromes (Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis. Mild System Lupus Erythematosus, Sjogren’s Syndrome, etc…)
  • Candidiasis
  • Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • Hyper/Hypothyroidism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lyme Disease
  • Menopause
  • Mild-Moderate Hormonal Imbalance
  • Migraines
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Skin issues: Acne, Eczema, or Psoriasis

Group 2

These conditions are intermediary in their level of complexity. And though this program may be of great benefit, caution is usually recommended. Medications often prescribed for these conditions require more strict blood levels for efficacy and safety.

  • Diverticulitis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Severe Hormonal Imbalance
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Bleeding Ulcers (peptic or duodenal)
  • Active Ulcerative or Crohn’s Colitis

Group 3

Generally, if you have one of these conditions, it is not recommended that you pursue a Fasting and Detoxification Program. However, if you have had a lot of experience, including recently, with such a program, there are exceptions.

  • Active Cancer
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Bleeding/Clotting Disorders
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias
  • Colon or partial colon removed
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Eating Disorder: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binging, etc.
  • Hepatitis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Liver Infection
  • Pregnant, nursing, or actively trying to conceive
  • Severe Depression
  • Seizure Disorder
  • Type 1 Diabetes/Insulin Dependent Type 2 Diabetes
  • Under 18


  • Anti-Arrhythmic
  • Anticonvulsants/Anti-Epileptics
  • Anticoagulants/Blood Thinners
  • Chemotherapy Agents/Radiation Therapy
  • Insulin

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