One hour north of Richmond is Remuda Ranch East, 500 acres of wooded land complete with a lake, grazing horses, and facilities for recreation and art classes.
But this is not a camp. This is a residential treatment facility serving women, girls and children with anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders, which nearly 10 million women nationwide struggle with.
Remuda Ranch East, part of Remuda Ranch, established near Phoenix, Ariz., in 1990, has treated about 100 girls since its opening in September 2007. The Virginia facility offers a 45- to 60-day treatment program for adults and a 60-day program for children and adolescent women. The program provides 24-hour care and an intense schedule that's broken into daily education classes, body-image therapy and one-on-one sessions with dietitians, therapists and psychiatrists.
Patients also recover from their disorders through chapel, equine and art therapy. Family Week, during which parents come on-site for interaction with patients, providing them with 40-hours of family therapy, is also a vital part of treatment.
Val Gustin, a former patient at Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating Disorders outside Phoenix, says she was near death when she arrived at Remuda in 1994, challenged with an eating disorder and substance abuse issues. "I had a lot of trauma history, so just to be able to work through them in a safe environment was key for me," says Gustin, who's now the financial coordinator for Remuda Ranch East.
Amy Gerberry, director of administrative services for Remuda East, says that Remuda Ranch has a 95 percent success rate and draws patients nationwide and from Canada and Europe.