FLUSHED WITH PRIDE
A guide to colon cleansing.
CALL IT A MOVEMENT. After waxing and waning in popularity over the past few decades, colonics seem to be back in style — and are being buzzed about as a sure-fire way to eradicate a bevy of medical woes, maintain good health and, of course, flatten your stomach.the treatment, which involves cleansing the colon by flooding it with vast amounts of water, used to be one that people mostly whispered about. Now models are tweeting about their treatments, and its purported benefits are becoming part of the healthcare conversation. Gwyneth Paltrow, who has divulged that she likes to kick off a detox with a colonic (“They definitely get things going”), has played a starring role in its resurgence. In addition to posting her go-to places for colonics on her website, Goop, she has laid out the basics in a Q&A, “The Nuts and Bolts of Colonics”, with Dr Alejandro Junger, the site’s expert on digestive health. The idea that colonics are a necessary way to remove toxins that can gum up the works, leading to everything from constipation to skin conditions, is clearly reaching the masses. The Last Resort — a spa in Sydney’s kombucha mecca, Bondi, which has been offering colonics since opening in 2005 — has seen a huge uptake in the treatment. Today it regularly hosts A-list celebs, models and internationalvip guests, though spa founder and naturopath Saimaa Miller says there’s far more diversity in its clientele now than a decade ago.“when I first opened the clinic, it was the alternative people seeking colon therapy, and they were about 90 per cent female, but now we have CEOS right through to taxi drivers, both male and female, who understand and reap the benefits of this treatment,” she says. “When we are constipated or bloated, we feel sluggish and foggy minded. For many people I work with, they simply cannot afford to feel like that. It’s their job to jump off the plane and walk down a runway in a bikini, or present at a conference — either way, they need their bodies and minds functioning at optimum speed.” For best results, Miller recommends their most popular program, Aussie Body Basics, a 14-day diet and detox plan, to get the most out of the treatment. “The first time I had a colonic, I couldn’t believe how all of a sudden I felt this euphoria,” recalls Vanessa Packer, a co-founder of Modelfit, the New York gym frequented by models such as Miranda Kerr and Karlie Kloss, and the health-focused website Bonberi.“i had a lightness of being that blew me away.”the benefits lasted for days, says Packer, who now gets a colonic at least once a month. “They’re one of the stepping stones to feeling great, mentally and physically, every day.” But whether colonics are necessary, or even safe, is up for debate. Mainstream doctors are adamant: colon cleansing is neither wise nor useful — particularly if you have a history of gastrointestinal disease, colon surgery, haemorrhoids, kidney disease or heart disease. Risks can be as severe as bowel perforation. “Patients may look to colon cleansing as a way to enhance their wellbeing, but in reality they may be doing themselves harm,” says Dr Ranit Mishori, a professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in the US. Her 2011 review of the medical literature on colon cleansing found no evidence of any medical value and noted a host of adverse effects, from cramping to kidney failure.the risk of serious side effects is thought to be lower when the procedure is performed by trained personnel, so if you’re going to try it, look for a therapist certified by the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy. And make sure the therapist uses either disposable plastic tools or metal ones that have been autoclaved between each use.the water should be filtered and regulated to within a few degrees of body temperature. If you like the idea of giving your system a spring clean but are squeamish about having a tube stuck up your bottom, Miller recommends visiting your naturopath for an individual prescription right for you.and some lifestyle changes to consider: eat more fibrerich foods (the Dietitians Association of Australia recommends 30 grams of fibre per day for the average adult), drink adequate amounts of water (most women need nine cups a day) and exercise regularly.these are all reliable — and safe — ways to keep things moving right along.