Colonics: Are They a Waste Of Time?

colonics
If you're the type who's squeamish when it comes to bodily functions, you may want to stop reading now.

If not, please enjoy my (very) detailed account of my colonic experience-trust me, I've left nothing to the imagination.

What is a colonic?
Let's start with the basics. A colonic is a cleansing of the colon. A plastic tube is inserted into your rectum and warm water is pushed into the colon and then flushed out-taking with it the bowel's contents, which according to proponents, include built-up toxins and excretory material that adheres to the walls of the colon.

The theory is that removing this built-up 'plaque' allows for better absorption of nutrients into the blood and speedier digestion. While there is debate over the benefits of colonics, those who administer/receive them rave about the payoffs: easier digestion, weight loss, better skin, to name a few.

Why I wanted to try it
Without getting overly personal, let's just say I'm prone to digestive 'issues.' I should, by every gastroenterologist's account, be the perfect pooper-I eat more than enough fiber, workout regularly, and drink tons of water-but my digestion is never quite right.

Though I've never been diagnosed with any real condition, I've always been somewhat fascinated by the idea of a colonic. I could just be 'flushed' out?

Granted, some parts of the process seemed a bit off-putting. I wasn't thrilled by the idea of a tube up my bum. But having heard rave reviews from others, I decided it was time to see for myself if post-colonic euphoria was real, or, well, a load of crap.

The colonic experience
Enter Brigit Krome of the Paul Labrecque Spa, who is one of New York City's top colon hydrotherapists. With over 30 years of experience, Brigit is to colonics what Michael Jordan is to basketball. She immediately put me at ease with her uberenergetic and cheerful attitude.

As I explained my digestive dilemmas to her, Brigit assured me I wasn't alone. According to her, 95% of women have digestive problems, for a variety of physiologic and psychological reasons. Ideally, she says, you should be going to the bathroom after every meal. Every meal?! By that criteria, I was a pooping failure! (Other experts say there's no frequency 'rule,' and it's normal to have bowel movements anywhere from three times a day to three times a week.)

After explaining each step in the process, Brigit had me lay on my side while she inserted the tube. Those first few seconds were less than enjoyable. But she then made me take a few deep breaths and lay on my back, and I soon forgot that there was a foreign object in one of my orifices.

Next came the water. A machine channels a gentle flow of warm water through the tube and into your colon. This goes on for 20 to 30 seconds and does not, I repeat, does not hurt.

You can feel the water go in, and pressure starts to build-basically you feel like you may s*** in your pants-but this goes away once the water is released and everything flows out.

During this process Brigit alternated between applying castor oil packs, an old-school constipation remedy, and massaging my stomach. Yes, the feeling of the water going in and out takes some getting used to, but the tummy rubbing was downright pleasurable.


My prognosis
The entire time Brigit paid vigilant attention to what was passing through the tube, all the while accurately describing my diet. 'You are a vegetarian.' TRUE. 'You eat lots of watermelon.' ALSO TRUE. 'You don't eat enough fat.' DEFINITELY TRUE.

And what, you ask, is the reason for my less than regular bathroom visits? A sluggish colon. The antidote: Take more omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, use castor oil packs every night, and amp up my daily dose of probiotics.

And Brigit wasn't the only one watching the contents from the tube flow by; I too could see everything. I found this disgusting yet deeply satisfying. But I also love popping zits and pulling ingrown hairs. If that's not your deal, just ask your therapist to turn the machine around so that you can't see the contents.

The ultimate cleanse
This whole process (water in, water out, belly rub, repeat) went on for about an hour. Afterward, Brigit escorted me to a private bathroom-some people have to go after, some don't-where a trip to the scale showed that I was 2.4 pounds lighter!

But even better than the instant deficit on the scale was how I felt, both physically and mentally. I walked in feeling tired, sluggish, bloated. I walked out feeling totally rejuvenated, ready to run a marathon, and with a super-flat tummy to boot. I felt even better the next day and raved about my clean colon to anyone and everyone who would listen.

Research shows, and Brigit confirmed, that the long-term benefits come only after regular colonics. And while I definitely plan on going back, the instant gratification and overall feeling of health after just one was good enough for me.

Bottom line: I had an amazing experience, but decide for yourself whether you're ready for this master cleanse.
Melanie Rud
Last Updated: August 03, 2010
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