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."
How often should you get a colonic?
There’s no right or wrong, but if you’re interested in getting one, Amanda says you’ll see more results from a course of treatments. “Everyone is different, and it depends on the condition you are trying to treat, but your therapist may recommend a course of three or six colonics for the best results.”
Is there anyone who shouldn’t get one?
As Dr Dianni Dai, GP at Pulse Light Clinic, explains, a colonic isn’t suitable for everyone. “Be careful if you have severe anaemia; high blood pressure; painful haemorrhoids; heart problems; or kidney or liver disease. You should also avoid having colonic irrigation if you are pregnant.”
Are colonics necessary?
The jury’s out. While advocates claim the treatment dislodges toxins trapped in the digestive system, resulting in glowing skin and hair as well as healthier digestion, others say it can wreak havoc with your gut bacteria. “Colon cleanses can potentially invite unhealthy bacteria into the lower digestive system with the instruments and fluids used, and they can also remove the healthy bacteria already in the gut,” says Dr Dai. Others say a colonic is unnecessary, adding that your body is capable of filtering and eliminating toxins without a treatment, and that there are more studies to support the case against colonics than for them. Amanda, however, stresses that a colon cleanse is safe. “A colonic would never get rid of all your gut bacteria. In fact, in a bowel that is imbalanced and stagnant, it’s the bad bacteria that are thriving, so a colonic can help flush out the bad bacteria and rebalance the environment to encourage your good bugs to flourish. Plus, at the Cleanse Clinic, we will often introduce probiotics directly into the colon during a treatment."
If you are interested, how to find a reputable practitioner?
Like any wellness treatment, who you see is key. “Any reputable therapist will be accredited by the Association and Register of Colon Hydrotherapists (ARCH),” says Amanda. “ARCH checks details of practitioners and their training, insurance and experience, ensuring they keep up with regular and continued professional development.” Amanda adds that the best colonic therapists also tend to be trained as registered nutritional therapists or naturopaths, so look out for a practitioner that has full body knowledge.
To book an appointment at The Khera-Griggs Cleanse Clinic, visit UrbanRetreat.co.uk
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.
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