Warning: this is graphic account of wellness writer Courtney’s first ever colonic!
This account is based on the writer’s experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please contact a medical professional if you need support.
Colonics are one of the more recent holistic wellness practices on the scene. Apparently, they come with various benefits, some reporting better gut health & skin, mental wellness and reduced bloating.
This procedure has been at the top of my list for a while, so I bit the bullet and booked my first session.
The process is a slightly invasive procedure where a clinician pumps around 30 litres of water through your anus so that your body can expel all the waste trapped in the colon that can’t pass on its own.
Rotting food becomes stuck along the colon walls when the colon contracts and tightens, unable to untighten itself on its own. This happens for several reasons, including stress, bad eating habits, and even flying.
Upon entry to the colonic centre, one purposely chosen outside of my neighbourhood, I met with the smell of disinfectant, a hushed Coldplay soundtrack, and old magazines making it seem more like a doctor’s waiting room than a beauty therapy clinic. Yet I suppose when you’re there to have the faecal matter removed from your body, it makes sense.
I then found myself in a small room with someone I can only describe as a ‘holistic aunt figure’. In a soothing voice, she spoke about my anus, poos and ‘releases’, never once cracking a smile. Before we started, we talked about why I was here: skin and gut health. Being lactose intolerance, I try to keep my gut healthy as with the smallest slip-up I can be in a lot of pain for a long time.
The aunt took me through what was going to happen, referring to the procedure as a ‘reset’, or a way to start fresh for both my mind and body. She explained how the skin is the largest organ in the body, and how it only turns in at the mouth and anus. While the mouth can be cleaned out and maintained, she said that the anus does not have this luxury.
Entering the room where the procedure would take place, it was hard to ignore the massive plastic lounger bed, which had a menacingly long blue tube protruding out of a slopped hole which fed into the ground somewhere. My eyes darted to a painting adjacent to the bed – the virgin Mary holding a small baby Jesus. This was not comforting.
The holistic aunt practitioner pointed my attention to a small wooden stick with Vaseline on its end. She told me to strip down below, ‘lube up the anus’, and position myself onto the blue tube ‘as far up as you can manage’, wrap a towel over me and push a blue button when I was done so she’d know I was ready. I asked if I could keep my socks on because I get cold feet. She said this would be fine.
I was slightly relieved the aunt would not be doing the insertion or present during my fumbled attempts. I didn’t know the whole process (hole process?), but I had assumed she’d do most of the work. Turns out I was a one-man-band.
Upon successfully inserting this tube which oddly resembled ET’s outstretched finger, I hailed the aunt back in, and the procedure began.
Next to me were five taps, similar to a shower, with words like ‘temperature’ and ‘pressure’ written above them. For my viewing, there was a ‘stool chart’ just above my head.
The aunt turned the first tap, and next to me, a one-litre tube full of water started to drain. My stomach started to feel tight.
As the water slowly flooded my large colon, the aunt slowly talked me through what I was feeling, and what I needed to let my body do. It turns out, as soon as you’re full of water, your body naturally flushes it out. A feeling I can only imagine is kin to losing control of your sphincter.
After a quick few soothing words and instructions, the aunt left, telling me to relax and let my body do what it needs to. A nice way of saying my colon would push everything out ceremoniously into the hole in this plastic bed, and past what can only be described as the world’s grossest viewing window.
Next to the bed was a mirror which reflected the pipe everything went into, flushed into the tanks below. Now, this was equally gross, interesting and hilarious. As my body filled up and squeezed out, the waste shot down the pipe, like a murky river after a heavy rainstorm. A few laughs escaped me, from the absurdity of what I was currently doing,
At some points, the water would go clear, which meant it was working on the next plugged part of excrement. And sure enough, eventually, a new batch would come streaming out, and the process would start again, rushing through the pipe like a hideous herbal tea. Water went in, and water came out. A circular model, if you will.
I was on my own for the most part. The aunt came in three or four times to check I was still alive, turn the temperature up and tell me I was doing amazing like I wasn’t just lying there shitting into a hole – either way, it was nice to feel appreciated.
The sensation was an interesting one, not painful, but not comfortable. You know that feeling of nausea you get when you really need to poop? It was like waves of that, balanced with waves of release. I became lightheaded and at one point lost the feeling in my feet, but that was probably because they were propped up on each side of the plastic chair.
At one point, the aunt mentioned this was also flushing my liver and kidneys, so I could feel free to pee into the bed. I thanked her for letting me know and would if needed too.
All around it was me, just filling and flushing for about 30 minutes. Near the end, the clinician came back in and asked if I was strong enough for another 5 minutes. In all honesty, I didn’t think I was, but mum didn’t raise a quitter. I gave her the ‘go for it’, and she increased and temperature and told me to hold it in as much as I could, meaning this part would be about hydration rather than cleaning.
After that 5 minutes of which I tried and failed multiple times to stop my ass from releasing its contents, she came back into the room and to my relief, turned off all the pipes.
Now it’s a unique experience chatting to a clinician about how you’re feeling as the last parts of mineral water slowly drain out of our backdoor. Yet with unwavering professionalism, the aunt explained I would keep ‘releasing’ during the day, and told me I was good to clean myself up and come outside when I was ready.
The hardest part of the whole experience was dragging my now hollow and shaking body off the plastic lounger, steadying myself onto my feet as I stood in the room completely bare-bottomed besides my socks – shell shocked and feeling oddly alone. I locked eyes again with Baby Jesus, apologised for what he must see daily, and got myself dressed.
The next 24 hours after the colonic was hard. I was fatigued, moody and had a massive headache – all which is expected as the toxins in your body become stirred up and your body begins to heal itself.
Yet slowly I became right, my mood stabilised, and I felt lighter, fresher and all-round more put together. My bloating was gone, and the pain I usually feel after eating has subsided. The more visible results, such as skin health take a few days to kick in, so I will be interested to see how my body reacts.
If you are thinking about having a colonic, you need to prepare for something invasive and new. I am very comfortable with myself and open to new experiences, yet even I found this procedure a little nerve-wracking at times.
Would I recommend a colonic to those thinking about restarting their digestive system? Absolutely.