(Warning to readers: This blog entry discusses various bodily functions that may cause squeamish or modest individuals some angst. If you think you may be disgusted or upset by candid descriptions about, well, pooping, feel free to skip this post. Thanks.)
Some people mistakenly refer to my 101 list as a “bucket list”. To me, a bucket list is a series of items a person wants to do before they die – which implies that when the list is completed, the person will feel fully satisfied with having lived their life, and is ready to ‘kick the bucket’. My 101 list doesn’t meet this criterion for at least two reasons:
- When my list is finished (hopefully in another year or so), I more than likely will not be ready to die. I hope the end of my life is far, far away from then.
- If I only had 101 slots for amazing things to do with the remainder of my life, items like “Play BINGO” and “Poach an egg” would definitely not be on it. These are fun things for me to do, certainly; but if push came to shove and I only had 101 opportunities for the rest of my years, “Traveling the world” would oust poultry by a long shot.
Certainly there are many, many ‘adventures’ I want to have beyond meeting the mayor. But large, lofty items are difficult to implement and achieve; they usually require funding and time commitments I don’t easily have access to. So smaller-scale experiences (like the ones I have written about for the past 14 months) are a reasonable way for me remain both challenged and energized in everyday life – because let’s face it, sometimes this whole deal called living can slip into mundane routines if a person isn’t careful. When my final day does come, I want to be satisfied that if nothing else, I at least tried to take advantage of opportunities that came my way.
Which is exactly what happened with this whole ‘colonic’ business. I first heard about colonics in my initial semester of college. I was taking a course titled “The Biology of Food”, and at some point in the class the professor told us about John Harvey Kellogg – how he was considered by many to be a kook, but how some of his ideas were actually quite sound. Among some of the more reasonable notions Kellogg promoted were the benefits of a natural diet and the merits of exercise. Some of his more questionable ideas included certain purification methods, including colonics. (He had many other wacky thoughts, but you can research those on your own if you are curious.) 🙂
When I learned about this procedure, I chalked it up to some loony turn-of-the-century craze (similar to using cocaine as a “medicinal”). However, a few years later someone I know told me about her experience with colonics, and swore they were good stuff. At that point my mind opened a wee bit – and while I wasn’t ready to run right out and experience the procedure, I wasn’t totally closed off to it, either.
A decade later, I actually wasn’t thinking about colonics at all – but then a Living Social deal appeared in my email inbox. “Try a colonic for just $19 (regularly priced $99) – that’s a 80% savings!” Since I was kind of curious about the experience (and since I knew I would never shell out $100 for something as crazy-sounding as a colonic), after a few days of serious contemplation I decided to click the “Purchase” button, and secured an appointment for a colonic. [Isn’t it amazing what people will do under the guise of a ‘good deal’?]
I intentionally told NO ONE about my appointment; I didn’t want to endure anyone looking at me with wide eyes, wondering what the heck I had agreed to do (I was already doing that enough all by myself). On a Saturday morning in December, I simply got into my car and quietly drove to another city to see what this experience was all about.
I was told to report to the business at 8:45 am to complete paperwork before my appointment; but at 9 am the doors to the building were still firmly locked. When I tried to call the business to see what was going on, I received an automated message saying, “The voice mail box for this number is full – goodbye.” Click. I was about to leave a terse note demanding my money back (as well as an apology) when the technician pulled up in her car. She apologized for being late, explaining that her car wouldn’t start this morning, and smiled sweetly at me as she walked me into the building. Hmm…
As my eyes adjusted to the indoors, I was less-than-impressed with the surroundings. The shop looked worn and run-down, even ‘shady’; did I really want to go through the process of having a colonic here? But before I could think too much more about it, the technician handed me a form and encouraged me to, “Have a seat, take your coat off, relax. We’ll get started in just a few minutes.”
After I signed the documentation stating that I was fit enough to undergo the procedure and releasing the technician and her company from any and all liability, she must have sensed that I was a little apprehensive, because she looked at me and said, “I have been doing colonics for over five years. The first time I did it was life-transforming. Colonics have truly changed my life.” Oh, please. I exercised extreme self-control and refrained from rolling my eyes. Instead I pursed my lips together, and forced my head to nod almost imperceptibly. As I audibly exhaled, the tech turned and escorted me to small treatment room, where I saw “The Colenz”:
The technician explained that once she left the room, I was to disrobe completely from the waist down, sit my rear just above the rubber tubing, and place the backs of my legs on the two black wedge cushions, so that my knees were at the top of each point. I was to then gently insert the tubing into the first 1”-2” of my colon, then carefully slide down so that my rear end was fully in the cup area of the device. After that, I was to drape myself with the big white sheet provided, then ring the bell at my side – and she would then come in and begin the procedure. Any questions?
Oh lady, you have no idea. How the hell did I get myself into this mess, what the hell am I about to do, why do crazy opportunities seem to find me (and why do I continue to accept them), am I insane because I’m about to actually stick a tube up my rear and go through with this nutso procedure… I have so many questions. But instead of sharing my mental jabber with the tech, I smiled weakly and responded, “Um, no. I think I got it.”
With that, the technician left the room, and I followed the instructions described above. To answer what may be the obvious question at this point in the story: While the tubing up my butt certainly felt ‘strange’, it was not painful, and it actually wasn’t all that uncomfortable, either. Yeah, I know – I was shocked, too.
After I confirmed that I was set (i.e., fully draped, rear end in place, ‘okay’ with how things felt), I rang the bell at my side, and the technician entered the room, calmly smiling. In a cloyingly sweet voice, she cooed, “Are you alright?” Sure. “Good, good. So now, I’m going to turn the water on. When I do, I want you to contract your anus so that you keep the water in, hold it for 10 seconds, and then release and let everything out. Okay?” Yikes. Here goes nothing…
I felt the odd sensation of water touching my rear, but didn’t feel anything actually entering me. For a horrifying second, I thought the tube had somehow slipped out, and that I was about to experience a mortifying, disgusting mess. However. A second later the technician said, “Okay, go ahead and release…”, and as I relaxed my body, I felt a steady stream of water leave me. It was a completely surreal sensation. “Good, good,” the clinician cooed. “Let it all go. Good, good…”
After another round of filling, holding, and releasing, the technician was confident enough that I knew what I was doing, and said, “Some people find it beneficial to rub their stomachs during the procedure. It can help aid the process, and transform it from just a physical experience to more of an emotional release, and even a spiritual opening. Would you like me to show you how to do the massage?” Without waiting for my answer, she put her hands on the sheet over the right side of my low abdomen, and starting pressing firmly, making slow circles. “Rub up the right side of your stomach to stimulate the ascending colon, then move across the traverse colon, and continue down the left side of your stomach to encourage release of the descending colon,” she explained. Her touch was very firm, but actually somewhat comforting (which I was not expecting at all). After another round of hold-and-release, she asked, “Are you doing okay?”
Despite the fact that I am undergoing a completely intimate and somewhat bizarre experience with a total stranger, I am doing ‘fine’. I nodded silently. Satisfied, the technician said, “At this point, I can leave you alone if you would like. Some clients experience a better release if I’m not in the room. Would you like me to leave?” Oh hell yes, thank you sweet lord. Again I nodded, and said, “Yes please. Thank you.”
Once the tech was out of the room, I was actually able to relax. During the next 40 minutes, I went through round after round of water coming in, water being swooshed around my colon as I rubbed my belly, and water going out – along with lots of poop. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of poop. I felt poop swooshing out of me, often times with a force that was involuntary; multiple times during the process I was not in control of my body at all. Abdominal muscles pulsed, colon muscles contracted, and pieces of poo flew out of my rear with me having no control over the matter at hand. I have never pooped so much in my entire life. I was actually tired from all of the contracting and pushing. Wowzers.
As the session wound down, the technician re-entered the room, and asked me, “So, how do you feel?” Fine. “Mm hmm, nice, nice,” she cooed. She turned off the water flow, and instructed me on how to exit the machine: “Give one more push, then scoot your hips away from the cup a little bit, and gently remove the tubing. Sit upright, then give a few final pushes. Once you’re done evacuating, use the sprayer at your side to rinse yourself up a bit – then go ahead and use the wipes and paper towels next to the sink to finish cleaning and drying yourself. Then get dressed, and I’ll meet you back out in the lobby. Got it?” Yes. “Good, good,” the cooing continued. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Extracting myself from the platform was actually a little bit tricky (once again I was grateful to yoga and my flexible body), but I managed. I cleaned myself thoroughly, then got dressed. As I stood up straight for the first time in an hour, I was genuinely surprised at how much ‘lighter’ I felt. I drew in a deep breath – and genuinely felt like there was more room in my chest for the air to fill. Totally crazy, I know. But true.
As promised, the tech was waiting for me in the lobby. She offered me a bottle of water (which I gladly accepted – I was quite thirsty), and again asked me, “So, how do you feel?” Still fine. “Good, good,” came the expected reply. But then she threw me a curve ball, and asked, “Would you like to see the results?” Um, come again? Did she just ask what I thought she asked? The tech repeated, “Would you like to see the results?” Um, do you mean, would I like to see all of the poop that just left my body? The tech nodded. I laughed nervously, and said, “No no, that’s fine, thanks.” For the first time, the tech seemed genuinely disappointed. She said, “I actually encourage people to look at their results. It can tell you a lot about what is going on inside of your body….” She nodded towards the room I had just left, her eyes almost pleading with me. Oh good lord…
So I walked with the technician back to the room, where she lifted the lid of The Colenz and showed me the pile of excrement that rest at the bottom of the device.
Holy crap. I pooped a LOT. Seriously. During the process I felt like I was releasing a lot of poo, but oh man, I had no idea. The pile was massive. The tech even seemed a bit surprised, and said, “Um, so, have you been feeling constipated lately?” No. “Oh, okay. So this is actually a little more than most people produce – but this is good. It just means you likely got further up your colon than other people usually do…” Her voice trailed off.
She then took a few minutes and explained what my poo means about how my body is functioning:
- No cloudy fluid = no significant candida (yeast) growth inside of me. This is good.
- No large, hard chunks of poo = no potential blockages in my colon. This is also good.
- No noticeable odor = no decomposing/spoiling food in my colon. (The tech asked me, “Do you eat meat at all?” When I responded that I was a vegetarian, she said, “Ah, that explains it. Meat is harder on digestion.”) Lack of stinky smell is good.
After I received the debrief on the contents of my insides, the tech encouraged me to consume one packet of an over-the-counter vitamin supplement (just to boost my system and help prevent unhealthy bacteria from gaining ground, as some beneficial stomach bacteria might have been evacuated along with my poo), then drink lots and lots of water for the rest of the day. She told me I could come in again as soon as 2-3 weeks from today if I wanted, then saw me out the door.
I left the session feeling really good. Somewhat hungry and thirsty, but overall, really good. Happy. Wow.
I went home, briefly chatted with my sweetie, then ate lunch (by then I was really hungry). After lunch I started checking some email, but after just 15 minutes I was exhausted. (Who knew pooping could be so tiring?) I took a full 30-minute nap (a long time for me), and woke up feeling refreshed. I was a little light-headed for the rest of the day, and I was famished by the time dinner rolled around, but otherwise I didn’t have any adverse post-procedure effects. My abdomen is slightly flatter than usual, but overall I look the same as I did before the colonic. Yet while I may not look different on the outside, I do feel different inside. I feel more ‘spacious’ in my stomach area, and more nimble in general. Now, how much of that is psychological and how much is physical can be debated, but if it feels good, do I really need to worry about the root cause?
Colonics certainly are not appropriate for everyone. Indeed, the list of contraindications for this process is lengthy (and understandably so). Yet for people who are generally healthy, I would encourage them to explore colon hydrotherapy. It’s pretty wild.
As for myself, while I don’t think I’ll make colonics an every day thing (or even a monthly thing), I can see myself getting one a few times a year. I think a clearing in the spring and another in the fall would probably be sufficient (as well as responsible; pretty serious adverse effects can result from undergoing this process too frequently). But all in all, I’m glad I mustered up the courage to try this. Who knew pooping could feel so good? 🙂