WARNING: Unpleasant colon talk ahead.
I met a girl at Santai Muay Thai gym who I really got along with. We were similar in many ways, both of us love to lift, we’re both introverts and even share the same birthday. But even more eerie was that we were both had symptoms due to unknown causes. Symptoms like fatigue, constipation, irritability, inability to lose weight despite being very active. Well my friend eventually left Santai and Chiang Mai to head south to Phuket where she enrolled herself into a 3 day intense detox program at Atmanjai Detox Yoga Wellness Center.
During the three days you don’t eat any solid food, you do however drink plenty of psyllium husk and bentonite clay shakes which are used as a gentle laxative and colon cleanser. Wheat grass shots which apparently is a superfood detoxifier, teas made of “cleansing” herbs and vegetable broth are also on the menu but that’s about it.
You also get a daily massage, and the option of a daily self administered colema which is basically like an enema but just using more liquid I believe.
There is more to the detox than what I mentioned and different packages so you should definitely check out their website here to get the full scope of what is offered.
My friend dropped 4kg in her 3 days and yes I know I kind of feel dropping so much weight is easy if you aren’t eating solids and doing a daily enema but she also felt much better and a lot of her symptoms had gone, after the 3 days though, it was up to her to continue get on track with a healthy diet to keep up lasting effects. She recommended that I try the same or a similar detox.
I’ve read that many of us have anywhere from 5 – 30lbs of hardened undigested food in our colons, now I don’t know whether this is true or not I’m just saying that’s what I’ve read. To explain it really simply (mainly because that’s the only way I know how) this undigested food is basically just rotting in our stomachs and when something rots it becomes toxic. These toxins are released into your gut and blood stream and manifest in many different ways including skin issues (itchiness, psoriasis, eczema), chronic fatigue (which I’ve been battling for years now), irritability, blurry vision, lack of mental clarity, constipation and the list goes on. Maybe my friend was on to something. Maybe I should try cleaning out my colon.
The whole notion of detoxing is split into two camps: believers and non believers. Some people swear by detoxing thanks to having had success with it. While others think that the notion that colon needs a periodic break and cleanse is as logical as saying your heart or lungs need a break. Those in the latter group believe that simply switching to a healthy diet is “detox” enough.
I’m not a complete stranger to detoxes, I did the Master Cleanse where you only drink lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper and a smidge of maple syrup for a minimum of 10 days. Of course not eating was brutal but I did get positive results; my skin cleared up, I slept better and no more constipation. I think this diet is silly for the purposes of weight loss because that’s only temporary. Anytime you stop eating food for a length of time you are obviously going to lose weight, it’s not a long term solution for weight loss.
But I wasn’t about to start the Master Cleanse while living in one room without a kitchen, I also didn’t want to give up my Muay Thai training and lemon water wasn’t going to cut it for the energy needed for intense Muay Thai session. A 3 day break from Muay Thai to do a detox wouldn’t have been so bad but my funds were running low so I wanted a cheaper way to detox my gut. Google led me to the idea of just doing some hydro colonic sessions instead.
Colonic hydrotherapy (a.k.a colonics) is a more complete than a colema or enema. It uses more water and more pressure, and cleanses the entire colon rather than just a part of it.
I went to the Chiang Mai Ayurvedic Center to get it done. 1000 baht or about $40 per session. That’s a pretty good deal considering in Canada it would cost double that or more.
I was not impressed when I first arrived at the location, the old fashioned interior was a turn off. When I go somewhere to get bodywork done I want it to be modern and pristine. But at least it was clean. I was greeted by a sassy older Thai lady who spoke pretty good English at the front desk. She pinched my arm and told me she liked my muscles. When I asked her if I would be alone in the room for the colon hydrotherapy she told me that it was a stupid question because clearly the pamphlet showed two attendants with the patient. She then told me to hurry up and make a time for an appointment because she had to go to the bathroom.
Not the best customer service to start with, which, had I been in Canada would have walked back out never to return, but I had read many good reviews about this place so I decided to make the appointment anyway. After all this is Thailand, sometimes you just have to make concessions.
I was a little disappointed at the lack of a consultation. When I read about places doing colonics back home online the websites talked of pre and post consultation. The websites of these places even tell you how you can prep for the procedure a few days in advance. Some places suggested eliminating certain foods from your diet and taking an herbal laxative to create the best conditions for your colon to expel as much as possible during the colon hydrotherapy. None of these suggestions were made at the Chiang Mai Ayurvedic Detox Center. I had to ask them if there was anything I should do or avoid doing.
I returned a few days later for my first visit. I was planning on doing a total of 5 visits. The room where the procedure was to take place was clean but in bad condition, dirty walls, torn old curtains, water stains on the ceiling. Again a big turn off but it was clean where it mattered, no dirt or dust on the floors or surfaces, clean sheets on the bed, and the adjoining bathroom was also clean.
One of the female specialisits came into the room handed me a rectangular sheet, told me to undress from the waist down, wrap myself with the sheet and then lie on the bed. I did as I was told.
Once the specialist who was to man the wall mounted machine came into the room it was time to get started. I had to lie on my side and turn my butt towards her so she could insert a tube into my rectum. Then I turned back onto my back, she pressed start on a timer that read 45 minutes and began the process.
I’d done some research online about colon hydrotherapy and as with any procedure, even ones done by medical doctors, there are always risks. I will let you research the risks on your own if you are really interested in doing this, but for the most part I read tons and tons of articles about people who swear by regular colonics.
Medical doctors say there is no medical proof that colon hydrotherapy is effective in detoxing the colon or offering relief from any symptoms that people believe to be related to a stressed and unclean colon. Whether there is no proof simply because the medical field has not put money towards actually researching whether it works or not I don’t know.
I chose to focus on the many great reviews because to be perfectly honest I don’t trust most doctors. Firstly, many of them know nothing about health, their specialty lies in treating sickness and symptoms and I figured most doctors wouldn’t promote a procedure that took money out of their pockets since you don’t have to be a doctor to administer colon hydrotherapy.
My nervousness or embarrassment dissipated pretty quickly, the women put me at ease and they were very professional. Plus all of the reviews I read said that the procedure was painless and some even said pleasant.
Then that first rush of water was pushed into my colon and the massive discomfort began. I guess pain would be too extreme of a word to describe it but it was serious discomfort. The discomfort I got was the same cramping and twisting feeling you get in your gut right before you are going to “blow” so to speak whenever one is stricken with diarrhea.
Then she drained the water and any waste (which you got to see through a clear tube in the wall mounted water pressure machine). While the draining part occurs one specialist is massaging your stomach to help the waste out. I felt fine during the draining process but felt that same discomfort every time she filled me with water. This experience was far from being pleasant and I was extremely happy when the 45 minutes was up.
I felt like not much waste came out from what I saw and I didn’t feel especially different. I was hoping to see 8 pounds of waste go through that glass tube and walk out of there with washboard abs and a feeling of clarity. I read about people feeling immensely better after even their first session but I was not so lucky. I felt regular, not bad but not better.
I was told it was told the discomfort was because I had too much gas and that once more of the gas was cleared out it would not only be less uncomfortable but more waste would get cleaned out. Fine.
I ended up only doing 3 sessions because although I felt very empty by the 3rd time which was a GREAT feeling for someone who usually feels bloated I still didn’t feel like I was seeing a whole lot come out.
By the way the discomfort did subside the second time and even more the 3rd time. Even the speacialists didn’t recommend anymore treatments after the 3rd time.
My final verdict: I did feel better because that feeling of having an empty stomach was awesome. I’d never felt so empty. It was liberating. I didn’t even want to eat out of fear of losing that feeling of lightness and just going back to being bloated and constipated. But I didn’t feel any of the mental clarity, or relief from insomnia and glowing skin like so many others I’d read about. So for that reason I don’t think I’d do colon hydrotherapy again. I do believe in detox but not this way. And even though I had success with the Master Cleanse I think if I was going to do a liquid detox I’d do a green juice or green smoothie detox next time around because I think it would be a little healthier than just drinking lemon water for 10 days.
But no more pushing tons of water up this girls bum in future. It just didn’t seem right.