My first time… What to expect during a colonic
What do acupuncture needles feel like? How long does botox actually last for? How embarrassing is colonic hydrotherapy? There are certain treatments that you’ve heard loads about, but you don’t really know what happens during the appointment, whether it hurts or if it’s really even for you? In this new franchise, we aim to try and clear things up for you See this as your one-stop resource for treatments on trial.
Whenever I told someone that I was booked in for a colonic, I either whispered it or mouthed it. Why? Maybe I was embarrassed? Or perhaps I wanted to save others from embarrassment. The response was generally shock, with a few people giggling uncomfortably. Something that I think is pretty reflective of the general outlook on colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy. People kind of know what happens during (everyone knows that it involves a tube up the arse), but people rarely know exactly what happens from the moment you walk into the room to the moment you walk out, or the wealth of health benefits, like how important it can be for your gut health.
I visited Kara-Mia Vernon, a qualified naturopath and nutritionist, who has been working on digestive health for over ten years. She believes that health and disease begins with the gut: ‘Today the focus is largely on healthy eating, which is great, but it doesn’t cover the digestion and elimination part of gut health, which is also extremely important. People don’t realise that we were never designed to eat three meals a day, essentially many of us eat far too much. This puts further stress on the digestive system and if you have a compromised evacuation system then you have an issue. This is where colonics can help address this.’
Hopefully, this piece will help clear things up a bit and give people a better idea of why a tube up the arse is so much more than a laughing matter.
What actually happens during a colonic?
You start by filling out a questionnaire about your past medical history that makes sure that it’s safe for you to get a colonic. Then if you’re clearer, you strip down and put on one of those sexy paper gowns that ties up at the back and leaves your tush on show. You lie down on a bed facing away from the therapist, with your legs tucked up towards your body – a bit like the foetal position. Then the lubricated tube is inserted into your rectum. From this point onwards the therapist guides the flow of the warm, clean, filtered water into your colon and then clamps down on the tube to allow the water to circulate and get to those hard to reach areas. At this point you can see and feel your stomach getting bigger and you’ll suddenly feel like you need to go for a poo. This is when the clamp is released and the water flushes out and with it draws out waste material, toxins and trapped gas. At some point your therapist might want to try massaging the stomach to help move the water around to shift trapped gas. Once the therapist is happy that everything that can be done that day has been completed, they will remove the tube and tell you to go to the loo that’s attached to the treatment room. Prepare yourself, because the water has got to come out. You have to sit there until you feel like you’ve emptied yourself out. The treatment lasts between 45 minutes and an hour.
Does a colonic hurt?
The colonic itself doesn’t hurt at all. In fact, dare I say it felt very satisfying?! There are moments of discomfort when your stomach fills up with so much water that you feel like you’re going to burst, but this is the exact point that your therapist releases the tube and there is a very pleasing feeling when you feel like everything is coming out.
Will I see everything during a colonic?
What you’re actually asking is: ‘Will I see poo?’ Only if you want to. You are actually encouraged to take a peek, as it’s all explained to you as it comes out. There’s even a handy mirror, so that you only see part of the tube. I found it really interesting to look as Vernon was able to show me that I had way too much trapped gas, which explained a lot. She was then able to give me tips on how to combat this, like chewing a lot more, slowing down when I eat and not drinking water during meals.
On a scale of 1-10, how embarrassing is a colonic?
This totally depends on how squeamish or easily embarrassed you are. I knew it wouldn’t bother me as I would happily speak about my bowel movements until the cows come home. Vernon also made me feel super comfortable. As she says, ‘I’ve seen thousands of buttholes and my job is all about poo.’
What happens after your colonic?
Afterwards you might get slight stomach cramping, because you’ve just put your gut through a workout and you might find that your stools for the next day or so are slightly looser than normal. But everything should be back to normal within 24 hours.
Is there any chance that you might shit yourself after a colonic?
You won’t have an accident on your way home. As I said, you’re told to pop to the loo straight after the treatment to make sure all of the water comes out. If you’re nervous, take your time and speak to your therapist. Don’t leave until you’re completely ready.
Should you arrive to a colonic with an empty stomach?
Not exactly. You should keep things simple the day of your colonic – don’t eat anything too rich, drink plenty of water and don’t go boozing the night before.
What are the benefits of a colonic?
‘Colonics help to cleanse, tone and exercise the colon,’ explains Vernon. ‘They help improve muscle contraction and re-educate the colon, helping it return to its more original form. It can also help to balance the micro-flora ecosystem by removing both good and bad bacteria and giving the body a helping hand to replace the good. Encourages the expulsion of parasites and other negative creatures living in the gut.’
Because the colonic removes debris and toxins from the colon wall, absorption of nutrients through the wall improves as there’s nothing blocking it. It can also improve your overall health. Not only is your body is no longer able to absorb the left over toxins, from things like bad diet and stress, and get into the bloodstream, so you are more likely to have clearer skin and your immune system will be able to function properly, but it actually helps boost your hydration levels.
It also acts as a workout for your large intestine and colon, because the body’s own peristalisis (the action of the muscles of the colon) is used and stimulated during the treatment.
Who benefits most from a colonic?
Everyone can benefit from colonic hydrotherapy, as the gut is where we hold waste and sometimes we don’t pass this waste naturally. A little help shifting this detritus can do wonders to improve the skin’s appearance and overall health. There are certain people who particularly benefit from regular sessions, like those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or those who don’t go to the loo as regularly as they should. Vernon also says that people going through chemotherapy are the perfect candidate as the colonic will help rid their body of the toxic waste left in the body post-Chemo. If you’re doing a strict diet or cleanse, colonics are recommended to supplement both.
Who should steer clear of colonics?
Anyone who suffers from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), like Crohn’s Disease or colitis, and those with colon cancer. It’s also not advised if you are pregnant.
How often should you get a colonic?
I completely depends on each person. As Vernon says: ‘Obviously, a 25-year-old who opens their bowels twice a day would need them less than a 45-year-old who goes to the bathroom 3 times a week. I work with each client on a case by case basis.’
Do colonics help you lose weight?
No not really. However, Vernon says that once people have had a colonic they have a feeling of starting fresh and then not wanting to put any ‘bad’ food back in. ‘It’s more like the feeling of starting with a clean slate and wishing to maintain that, rather than actual weight loss.’
Does a colonic wash all of the good bacteria out?
Read more at https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/life/colonic-650330#sLjFptrz6LpdFIbc.99
How the benefits of colonic irrigation
could transform your health
It’s time to break the poo taboo. Going to the loo is a daily reality to everyone and if like me it is something you hate and avoid talking about at all costs, it’s time to embrace the movement as it could be impacting your health.
The importance of gut health is ever growing and the subject of many conversations in the world of health and beauty. Cleansing your gut and body is considered to be one of the most important health steps you can take and if your system is sluggish, there is no better way than to opt for a colonic. Colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy has long been regarded as dangerous, uncomfortable, scary and something for only those who have ‘serious’ digestive problems. Well that’s not quite the case.
I recently went to meet with Kara-Mia Vernon who is a qualified naturopath and nutritionist and has an elite residence at Grace Belgravia Wellbeing, Health and Medical club where she has carried out thousands of colonic irrigation treatments. I have struggled with a slow digestive system for about ten years and just got used to the fact that I was let’s say, less regular than others. Did you know in an ideal world everyone should go twice a day?
As the importance of gut health and its link to good skin is on the rise, I decided I wanted to address the issue and try something new. Whilst it’s not for everyone, after five treatments I can honestly say it has changed my life for the better. I have so much more energy, I feel less bloated, have fewer headaches and my stomach is much flatter ( one of the great perks! ). I only wish I had realised sooner, that this was the ultimate detoxifying treatment for me. Here is everything you need to know about colonic hydrotherapy and why it could work for you.
What is colonic irrigation?
Colonic hydrotherapy is a complementary cleansing process where warm water passes into the colon and carries out loose faecal debris and waste to effectively flush the colon.
Before having colonic irrigation, the therapist will ask you about your medical history to check if you have any health problems that might make the treatment inadvisable. During the procedure, you lie on your side while warm water is passed into your bowel through a tube inserted into your rectum. The water circulates through your colon, and waste products are passed out of your body through the tube. It usually takes around 30-45 minutes.
How does it work?
“As a Naturopath, I have long been aware that health and also disease start in your gut,” says Vernon. “However there is still so much education to be done to inform everyone of how essential a healthy gut and a working-system is to your overall health. If you have a compromised evacuation system then you have an issue. This is where colonics can help address this,” advises Vernon. “We were never designed to eat three meals a day, with snacks and the amount of sugar and processed foods that are now ubiquitous in our diets. Our digestive systems are overloaded and many modern illnesses are lifestyle related. Prevention is key and people should spend more time and money on health habits and enhancers,” she tells me.
‘Inside out beauty’ is a term coined by the beauty industry with skincare brands avidly innovating skincare that works from the inside out but there is no better, physical approach than a colonic. “Your entire body is linked to the gut. Every system has a link back to your intestine and what happens on the inside is reflected on the outside,” says Vernon.
Our understanding of the gut microbiome (gut flora) and its link to other body functions such as immunity, human metabolism and nutrition has increased over the last 10 years allowing us to further understand how important it is to cleanse the gut. “Since our digestive system is closely linked with the rest of the body’s functions, colon therapy can also support symptoms such as headaches, allergies, acne and improve mental and physical sluggishness,” says Vernon.
Does it wash out all the good bacteria?
One of the greatest negative connotations associated with colon hydrotherapy is the hearsay idea that it strips all the natural and good bacteria from your gut. “It’s false. If it did strip all the healthy good stuff, then I wouldn’t do this job,” says Vernon. “It’s simply not possible to wash out two kilos of bacteria that are largely located in the mucus membrane of the colon. It is, however, more damaging to keep old fecal waste inside,” she says.
How often should you have a colonic?
“Ideally, three over the course of a few weeks is best as it enables a more thorough cleanse. After that, every client is unique,” advises Vernon. Obviously, the 25-year-old who’s bowels open twice a day is very different to the 45-year-old who goes three times a week.
Things to be aware of before your treatment
1. It’s not glamorous. It’s a tube in an awkward place removing your own waste
2. There is a loud loo flushing sound that sounds like the chain is stuck. It’s perfectly normal. This is where your waste goes out and allows water to come in
3. You have to relax, the more you relax the greater the results
4. Laxative effect coffee may be used, in conjunction with water, to encourage stool movement
5. Your therapist will massage your stomach to help motivate a better flush. This can be uncomfortable but very effective
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Why you should eat Kim Chi (with recipe)
As a Nutritionist who specialises in Colon Hydrotherapy, I can tell you that I’ve seen the inside of more guts than most people. I have seen first-hand, thousands of times, how a colonic can make people appreciate their complex system of organs in a new way and how to make lasting changes to their lives.
The gut is connected to everything that happens in your body and taking care of your gut should be as much of a priority as brushing your teeth, bathing or even exercising.
One very simple step you can take to nurture the bacteria living in the gut is to opt for fermented food – preferably homemade. The earliest record of fermentation dates back as far as 6000 B.C. In the absence of refrigerators the question was, “How do I keep this glut/bounty of the harvest for a super long time?”
Break it down…
Fermentation is actually a sort of pre-digestion that takes place when naturally present bacteria, usually of the lactobaccillus or bifidus strains, (or sometimes yeasts) begin breaking down the sugars and starches in the food. Traditional lacto-fermentation utilises the microflora present on vegetables. Once upon a time, all pickles were naturally fermented through lacto-fermentation, which is why some people use the terms “pickled” and “fermented” synonymously.
As these bacteria divide, the process forms lactic acid and sometimes acetic acid or alcohol which halts the growth of the ‘bad’ or putrefying bacteria. This acid is also responsible for the sour taste that comes along with fermented foods.
However, not all fermented foods are equal. Yes, wine and beer are fermented but they undergo a final pasteurisation process that removes any live bacteria. Other fermented foods sold off-the-shelf are baked, like sourdough bread, canned or jarred – all of which have had the live bacteria removed through pasteurisation.
Five Reasons to Start Fermenting…
· The nutrients in the food are more bioavailable(as pre-digested), so our bodies can reap the benefits
· It promotes the friendly intestinal bacteria and restores proper balance in the gut
· Various strains of probiotics are formed in the fermentation process making it the most effective, sustainable and cheapest probiotic there is.
· Amazing blood sugar balancer. Balanced blood sugar is very important for our health and weight management – you will find you will not put on weight so easily.
· Produces and increases acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter essential for memory, has a calming effect and can lower blood pressure.
Feed your Good Bacteria…
In the interests of encouraging all to show their gut a little love, below is a simple, delicious recipe for kimchi. It adds a flavoursome punch to all sorts of dishes and is an excellent addition to the diet. Make a big batch – it can be safely stored for up to six months.
Simple Kimchi Recipe
· 1 head Chinese cabbage, chopped
· Daikon radish, chopped, or carrots, celery, green beans,
· 4 cloves garlic
· 1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
· 1 Organic apple
· 2 tbsp of Korean Red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
· 1-2 tsp of fish sauce/ Nam Pla, optional
1. Trim ends of cabbage and chop any way you want – thin or thick strips is fine. Chop the daikon radish/ other veg up too.
2. In a big bowl add the salt to the vegetables and water and mix thoroughly. Leave overnight covered.
3. In a food processor, blend the garlic, ginger and chili flakes, fish sauce and apple into a paste. Thoroughly mix the cabbage, veg and paste using gloves as the chilli can really sting!
4. Pack mixture into glass mason jars with a blunt ended kitchen tool.
5. Press mixture firmly into jars until the water level starts rising. This is the key! This anaerobic salty brine solution in which the magic of fermentation happens. Bad bacteria can NOT form in this brine solution.
6. Continue pressing until everything is submerged. Leave at least an inch between the water and the top of the jar. Put the lids on and leave at room temperature for 2-7 days. Open every day to release the gasses that form as a byproduct. If the water level rises, drain some off. If the vegetables rise above the level of the water, pack them back under with your hands or the veggie stomper.
7. Taste the kimchi after 5 days. It should taste pleasantly sour. If not, continue to let it ferment and taste it every day until you find the taste acceptable. Transfer to the fridge where it will continue to ferment (and the taste will change!) albeit at a much slower pace.
When and where your stress is…
I feel very privileged to have cultivated a unique perspective on the gut and gut health. As a Nutritionist, Naturopath and Colon Hydrotherapist, I have seen thousands of both women and men up close and personal, and how their guts respond to various external and internal stimuli. How and what we eat, how and where we hold our stress, how we feel about the world around us. Ultimately, emotions, conscious or sub-conscious, are held in the body – affecting our health.
No doubt you have heard that the gut is the “Second Brain” and terms like “Microbiome” and “Gut-Brain Axis” are becoming part of common parlance. Ask yourself where you hold your stress. Generally, I find that women hold it in their gut/stomach area and men more in their back/neck and shoulders. (You may even find that you hold it in both places).
If you do hold it in your gut, then you may not even be aware of it. Try this simple exercise: lie down on your back, press your hands into your abdomen. Is your mid-riff area hard to the touch? Regardless of how good your abs are, this area should be soft and malleable. I meet many women who’s abdomen area is resistant to massage. They are under the impression that this is as a result of all their hard work down the gym, but when a six-pack is relaxed, it should be easy to manipulate.
If you push down into the area under your rib-cage, is it tender or painful? Does it resist your touch? Ideally it should be as easy to push into as relaxed butt cheeks. If this is not the case, then it is likely that you are holding stress in this area.
How then does this tension affect the muscles underneath? If the abdominal muscles closer to the surface are in a constant state of contraction this affects the smooth muscles underneath. The latter are responsible for peristalsis (the moving of food and waste through your alimentary canal).
You have no conscious control of peristaltic smooth muscle action – making them more susceptible to sub-conscious stress. Becoming aware of where you hold your stress is important: it makes sense that a gut that is less tense is one that works more effectively.
Your gut is the largest storage area for Serotonin in your body. Research indicates that up to 95% of the body’s stores are kept here (1). Most of us are familiar with this neurotransmitter’s role in mood regulation but it is does much more than this. This molecule is not only responsible for normal intestinal function – it is also crucial for sleep regulation (2), appetite (3) and pain sensitivity (4). However, Serotonin is only one player in a vastly complex system. We are just beginning to understand the importance and function of the Microbiome/Microbiota. It is astonishing to consider that there are 100,000 times more microbes in your body than there are humans on this planet! (5)
Resolving any person’s storage of negative emotions in their gut is a complex process that requires an individualized plan: it includes looking at how they respond to stress, their emotional resilience, diet and overall health. However, I have found that asking a simple question often opens up the door to establishing a link between the gut and the emotions. The question is quite straight-forward on the surface and it is best to go with the first answer that comes to mind, with either a Yes, or a No.
The question is: ‘Do you feel safe in the world?’
Most of the time, I find that those who state that they feel unsafe, are those who exhibit some sort of emotionally-related gut issue. If sub-consciously we are preparing to battle an un-known foe or danger, no matter how small, we can be on higher alert than necessary and less relaxed in our own bodies.
- Mayer, Emeran. The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health (Kindle Location 4809). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
- Dugovic, C., 2001, Role of serotonin in sleep mechanisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11924032
- Halford, JC, Blundell JE, 2000, Separate systems for serotonin and leptin in appetite control https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10821329
- Viguier, F. et al., 2013, Multiple roles of serotonin in pain control mechanisms–implications of 5- HT₇ and other 5-HT receptor types
Is Detox just “hype”?
In my opinion the answer is both yes and no. These days no sooner has the tree come down, then the Detox PR machine is up and running. Consumers are barraged by products that purport to conveniently erase all Christmas wrong-doings in the shape of a pill or ‘green juice’ with the added bonus of restored youth etc.
“To good to be true?”…pretty much. The word “detox” has been borrowed from the medical industry and now is over-used and misunderstood. The nay-sayers scoff and tell us that we are perfectly able to deal with all that life throws at us without the need to resort to colonic irrigation or kale smoothies.
As a Naturopath and Nutritionist (as well as other modalities), I’m not so sure. How well you detox is down to numerous things –
- The genes you were born with, how your lifestyle has affected those very genes (are you one of the estimated 50% of the population with the gene that inhibits your body’s ability to process toxins?)
- Your current level of vital nutrients that are required by the body for the detoxification process.
- What products you use on your body and hair, where you live (and country folk are exposed more to airborne pesticides)
- Your stress levels, and how you manage it (meditation vs. G&T)
- What you drink, eat, and who makes it (let me be the first to mention PAMPs, you’ll hear more of this in several years time, no doubt a cookbook is due)
- The chemicals embedded in your dry-cleaning, the fabric softener, the air fresheners (please stop)
- Which water do you drink? Tap vs. Bottled. – Evian isn’t the safe option.
So, as you can see by the nowhere near exhaustive list above, there is a lot to consider.
Every day you are asking your liver to process chemicals that have been invented within the last 100, 50 or even 5 years. As humans, our livers have not changed for well over 100,000 years. Are they up to the job? Maybe, maybe not. Cancer rates have skyrocketed, allergies in adults and children abound, auto-immune disease has risen sharply, as have mental health issues.
We are all living in a great big collective experiment on the human condition. My personal experience is that many clients do benefit from detoxing and feel improvement from colonics and supplements. If you have more questions on how you personally could benefit by taking on a cleaning programme, you are welcome to get in touch.