Warning: If you are currently eating or have plans to in the near future, cancel them.
“Whenever you’re ready to begin your colonic irrigation, you can go ahead and insert the tube into your rectal opening. There is coconut oil in the dish over there for your comfort,” the technician said in a soothing tone that did not at all convey the gravity of the situation.
My eyes darted to the light blue ~instrument~ in her gloved hand.
“How… far?” I whispered. Was it a whisper? It sounded to me like a whisper. But she must’ve heard me, because I was then informed it would “only be an inch”.
I know why you’re here. You’re not here for fluff and pussyfooting around, or a watered down version of the truth. No, you’re here to find out exactly what it’s like to have the crap flushed out of you. What colonic irrigation is really like. And that’s what you’re going to get.
Because I weathered the shit storm without an umbrella so you can go forth into the scary, intimidating world of getting your colon cleansed prepared.
So take my hand – which I can assure you at no point throughout this process came in contact with poo – and let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Every good investigation starts with research. So, I Googled ‘colonic’. I read things and I looked at diagrams. I also watched extremely uncomfortable videos that may or may not have been shot in the 80s. After sifting through a mountain of information, I found myself on the website for Pinnacle Health, a world-leading naturopathic clinic.
Colonic Irrigation begins with a deeper and a far more comprehensive cleanse that boosts energy, improves mood, vitality and overall health, the colonic description read.
Yeah. My butt hole clenched in fear too.
Words like deeper and comprehensive solidified my concerns about the size and depth of this 'cleanse', and I had many questions for Pinnacle's founder, and internationally recognised naturopath and iridologist, Will Shannon.
"People get very scared [about colonics] but it's actually very relaxing," he assured me.
"Our new procedure ensures full privacy and discretion, with no operator intervention. It's not invasive at all, the tube is very small, it's painless and feels extremely cathartic."
He also noted, after inspecting my eyes and tongue, that I'm exactly the kind of person who would benefit from colonic irrigation. A busyish woman in my mid-twenties leading a fairly sedentary full-time working life, Shannon observed issues like poor circulation, a sluggish liver and a build up of toxicity could be addressed with a good flush out.
"Detoxification, cleansing, hydrating and eliminating any build up in the digestive system is a great way to encourage less bloating, more bowel movements and strengthen bowel tone," he said.
"There's a saying among traditionally trained herbalists - 'death begins in the bowel or gut'. I believe the elimination of toxicity is one of the foundations of good health."
I felt very zen hearing all of this. I was the Grasshoper, and Shannon, my Yoda. From there, a naturopath took me through a series of stretches and breathing exercises to 'loosen up', and applied some unpleasant herbs on my tongue.
Then, I was ready to begin.
So, back to the inserting the tube into my rectal opening bit I mentioned earlier.
A lovely female technician led me into the room where the colonic irrigation would take place. Calming music was playing. I detected the scent of nature things like herbs and flowers. It looked, smelt and sounded just like any other treatment room at any other spa. Except for the large, blue plastic potty connected to something that resembled a pool filter.
From there, the technician explained how this was all going to go down. Or, erm, come out. I was to scoot up onto the potty ("It's basically a giant toilet," she said), lay back on the padded upper section, and place my feet on the footholds. Just like you'd position yourself for a pap smear.
Then, the technician would leave the room so I could remove my underwear and insert an inch, about the length of the tip of your pinky finger, of the thin plastic 'tube' into my bum. Yes, me. Not the person fully qualified in naturopathy and colonic irrigation. No, I would be doing this alone and unassisted. My fingers were the only ones that would be going anywhere near my rectal opening.
It took me a few minutes to wrap my head around what was going where, and how, once I was alone. Eventually I figured out the 'tube' is actually more like the long, thin attachment that comes with your vacuum to pick up small bits from under your car seats. It wouldn't have been more than a centimetre wide. Not the giant dildo sized intrusion I'd pictured.
My first attempt at putting the thing in the place didn't go so well. Also like a vacuum cleaner attachment, the tube is connected to a larger, longer pipe hooked up to the pool filter machine. Turns out my butt wasn't quite far enough down the potty, because I accidentally pulled the tube out of the other tube. Gah.
Second go was a success. Thanks to the thoughtfully provided coconut oil, the tip of the tube slid in easily. Once in, I could hardly feel it. And there was no pain at all. The technician returned, and explained what would happen next.
Once the machine was turned on, water infused with some minerals and cleansing herbs would travel into my large intestine. I would then reach a stage where it'd feel like I needed to 'release'. That was when I should push, sending the water and matter down the potty and along a clear drainage pipe I would be able to watch down to my left. I'd be alone during the whole 40-minute treatment, with the technician assuring me she'd check on me at the halfway mark.
"Do you want me to pass you your phone? Most people go on their phones, it's boring otherwise," she laughed.
With that, the machine began to hum, and we were off.
What happened next was completely unexpected. Unexpected because those 40 minutes, lying there in the potty were some of the most relaxing of my short life.
Aside from the feeling of 'filling up', I never experienced any pain or discomfort during the treatment. The water would come in, and then at a certain point, I'd need to push it out. The flow of the water became predictable after a few minutes. Rhythmic, even. It was bizarrely meditative.
Most of the time it was just water - or what looked like water - running down the clear tube and into the place toxins go to die. But I could feel the difference when something more was coming out - there was a slight cramping sensation - and I'd rush to watch the water... change colour.
I'm so sorry, this is bloody disgusting. But honestly it was fascinating.
LISTEN: Speaking of things going up your bum, the ladies from Mamamia Out Loud discuss why Gwyneth Paltrow wants you to put coffee up there too (post continues after audio...)
Like waiting for the perfect wave to roll in, I quite enjoyed waiting for the fifth or sixth push when I knew I'd see something brown make it's way down the tube. I couldn't look away. And at no point did anyone's hands come into contact with my organic material. No smell, no mess, no fuss.
In the moments my eyes weren't glued to the crap flooding out of me, they were glued to my phone. I read articles, and scrolled Facebook and Instagram. I even sent text messages to people, and took immense joy in knowing they had no idea what I was really doing.
Rather than the vision I'd imagined of a person in a white lab coat massaging my bloated stomach and hosing me down, there was nothing weird or gross about the colonic irrigation.
Except for the wee. Yeah, you'll probably wee a little bit, because it's almost physically impossible to push something out of one hole and not the other.
But guys, it's OK. Remember, you're effectively sitting in an oversized toilet.
Be warned. Standing upright after the treatment will feel weird. You'll need to use the bathroom because there'll still be some left over bits and pieces in your colon that, thanks to gravity, will want to come out. I was also given the opportunity to shower off if I felt like it, which I didn't really need, but appreciated.
Immediately after the colonic, my tummy did feel 'flatter'. Well, flatter than it had been when I walked into the clinic. I also felt really smug. I'm not sure if my eyes looked clearer and less 'toxic' like some people say theirs do, but I felt like I could finally see the world clearly, if that helps?
Shannon had told me to expect some 'irregular bowel movements' in the days following the treatment, and he wasn't wrong.
I found myself needing to do number two's more often than usual, and they were... runny. I put that down to all the water, because there wasn't much waste left in my system after the thorough cleaning, surely. The good news is my two's went back to normal a few days later.
The final verdict.
Not only did I find the whole treatment relaxing - when else do you get 40 minutes all to yourself?! - but it was neither 'disgusting' nor 'embarrassing'.
I felt comfortable and reassured the entire time. I'd even go as far as to say I highly enjoyed watching my insides being flushed away into oblivion.
Even though Shannon exclaimed I looked like "a whole new woman" post-colonic, I'm not convinced it alone could solve all my health issues. But for me, mentally having a clean slate, so to speak, helped motivate me to make healthier choices in the days following. I didn't really want to clog my system back up with Twisties and BBQ Shapes. I eventually did, but it felt good knowing I'd taken a step in the direction of health and vitality etc. etc.
So, final verdict? I would 100 per cent try colonic irrigation again.
OK, you can go back to your food now.
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