It sounds vile, but colonic cleansing therapy has (reported) benefits that aren't just about improving the digestive system. Aficionados claim it canimprove everything from your skin tone to your sexlife - in just one hour.
If you fancy a spot of this buttock-clenching treatment - and if the thought of having diarrhea and /or explosive farts in front of a complete stranger appeals - then this just might be the treatment for you.
The Enema Within
Colonic irrigation is when liquid is introduced into the colon, or , helping eventually to rid it of poisons, gas, and 'accumulated fecal matter' (that's poo, to me and you).
Unlike your run-of-the-mill enema, in theory there is no . Instead, a gentle, steady flow of mineral-enhanced water goes gently in and out of the colon, helped on its journey by a light abdominal massage.
In fact, some colonic converts are irrigated bi-monthly, claiming that a regular appointment helps them feel better by sloughing off years and years of encrusted poo and mucus, even getting rid of undigested food that has been lying around for decades (no, really).
Skeptics, however, say that the bowel is not a dirty place and that the bacteria there is there for a reason. They see no benefits of such a treatment, and argue that colonic irrigation interferes with nature's delicate balance, and is therefore a bit of a bum deal.
However, colonic practitioners claim that having such an anal cocktail - with a good practitioner and not too often - has the following health benefits:
Can help everything from constipation to IBS, or to allergies to flatulence and even - wait for it - halitosis
Digestive transit time is improved, which can be helpful for people with conditions such as diverticulitis, multiple bulging pouches in the lining of the colon, although the condition must be in remission when you have the treatment
Great for people following a plan who want to make sure they are clean inside and out
Can improve other parts of the body where proper colon functioning is key, such as skin, lungs, urinary tract and even yoursex life (although don't let your partner see you having the treatment, or they may never want to sleep with you again!)
An Inner Journey
If the thought of having this type of rectal recreation doesn't appeal - and frankly, why would it - then perhaps you need to know more about the therapy. First off, you will have a in-depth (no pun intended) chat with your colonic irrigation specialist at your local med spa, to explain what the procedure is all about and whether you are a suitable candidate.
Next, clients are led into a special room where they are given unattractive, hospital-type gowns and told to disrobe completely from the waist down, then lie on their backs with their knees up. If you women out there are reminded of a Pap smear, you're right!
From this vantage point you'll be able to see a machine that looks like an enormous Hoover mounted to the wall, with a large hose pointing menacingly toward at you. You'll be asked to turn slightly to one side then, as fast as you can say "No frickin' way!", the end of a speculum attached to a hose, actually quite a small one, will be inserted between your buttocks.
After the initial shock (and embarrassment) wears off, the machine will be switched on. Warm water mixed with special minerals begin traveling down the hose toward you, and after a few minutes you'll feel your bowels filling up.
The machine will then be switched off and your tummy will be massaged lightly. After about five minutes the machine will be switched back on. As clean water enters your colon, soiled water will exit it, through a tiny attachment to the hose.
The best bit is the view. You can literally watch, spellbound, as years of accumulated matter begins to unlatch itself from your colon wall and float away out the transparent tube, turning it a beautiful shade of brown.
After you are well and truly irrigated, your attendant, if he or she is a good one, will politely excuse him or herself and allow you to use the toilet. While you may think your fecal matter will no doubt have already emptied out, meaning the worst part is over, that is not usually the case.
"I barely had time to close the door before I exploded, emptying the contents of my bowels several times and repeatedly thanking God that nobody was around to hear the sound effects that accompanied my final evacuation," says client Daisy Monson, recalling her first time.
About 60 liters of water (filtered, that is) are used per treatment
Only about 15 liters of the above water are allowed to actually enter the bowels
Maintenance, or follow-up treatments, may be recommended, depending on how full of sh*t you are
Colonic irrigation is considered safe, and when done properly with sterile equipment and not too often you should experience no negative side effects, apart from short-term flatulence and loose bowels. Sometimes friendly bacteria is introduced along with other minerals to make sure your digestive system is working well in the long-term
Colonic irrigation is not habit-forming