What is a colonic?
For the uninitiated, colonic hydrotherapy – often referred to as a colonic – is essentially a way to hydrate and irrigate your colon, a section of your intestines that’s approximately five feet long, by filling it with warm water then flushing it out repeatedly. Supporters of colonics believe toxins build up in the colon over time due to food, drink and general lifestyle habits, which in turn cause health problems such as bloating, fatigue, weight gain and skin problems. It’s believed a colonic can help get rid of toxins and leave you feeling brighter and lighter.
Why should you consider getting one?
Amanda Griggs, founder of The Khera-Griggs Cleanse Clinic at Urban Retreat, says a colonic is a no-brainer if you’re looking for improved vitality and overall wellbeing. “If you struggle with bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, a colonic is worth a try. In fact, this is one of the main reasons most people try one in the first place. The treatment, which is very gentle, can stimulate peristalsis (the wave-like movements that push stool along the colon), improving bowel function and cleansing, toning and re-educating the colon. This helps improve the absorption of nutrients across the bowel wall and allows your good gut bacteria to flourish.” Amanda explains that a colonic could also be worth a try if you struggle with low energy levels and a low mood. “Research shows the emotional brain and gut are intrinsically linked. In fact, the majority of your serotonin – the happy hormone – receptor sites live in your gut. So by stimulating serotonin in the gut, a colonic can be hugely beneficial for your emotional and mental wellbeing.”
So what happens in a treatment?
A colonic may sound extreme, and it may at times be slightly uncomfortable, but it is a very gentle therapy. “At the start of a treatment, your therapist will ask you to lie on your back as they check your tummy for gas pockets or signs of discomfort,” explains Amanda. “It’s important to identify these problem areas before the treatment so your therapist can use special massage techniques to assist with removing blockages of matter and pockets of gas. You then lie on your side as a single-use speculum is inserted around an inch-and-a-half into your rectum – this might feel strange but it is not painful. Warm water is then gently introduced into the colon, and your therapist will gently massage your tummy to control the water pressure. You will feel varying sensations of fullness – almost like a feeling of urgency to go to the loo – as well as a sense of relief as the waste leaves your colon. Between 60-90 litres of filtered water is passed through your colon, and waste is discreetly drained away in a closed system – there is no mess or odour.” Once the treatment is complete, your therapist will ask you to go to the loo to empty your bowel of any water and residue. Most colonics take around 60-90 minutes.
Are the results instant?
Yes, says Amanda. “Post-colonic, people tend to experience a feeling of freshness and an overall feeling of wellbeing. Clients often say to me they feel clean and fresh, which encourages them to continue with a healthier lifestyle, so the results are both instant and can last if you maintain the benefits you gained from the treatment.”
What tends to come out during the treatment?
“This depends on your diet,” says Amanda. “Dark, hard stools may indicate dehydration and constipation. If your bowel is very compacted and the stool is hard, your therapist may soak your colon with water or an infusion to soften the stool. At this point, they may stop and advise you to go to the loo to move the hard stool out before resuming the treatment. Sometimes, there is lots of mucus that comes out of the colon, especially if you have been ill or there is a great deal of imbalance in the gut. Pieces of undigested food are also common."