Though people have been using water to flush out their systems for centuries, colonics has recently surged in popularity as a detoxifying treatment. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah, and Madonna have all used the procedure as a way to feel slimmer, less bloated, and more energized. More importantly, it’s an excellent way to detoxify your body.
See, the colon is over five feet long, folded into the body like a big accordion. It’s within all those folds that fecal matter can get stuck, causing digestive problems and leaching toxins into the body. The colonic is designed to undo all of that.
Here’s how it works: a tiny speculum, connected to a hose is inserted into the rectum. From there, temperature controlled water is sent up into the colon, soaking into all the nooks and crannies, softening the accumulated stool. Once the “fill” is complete, the water is released, sending newly-freed waste and toxins back down the hose and out of the body.
The more I read about the process, the more I knew I had to try it for myself. I called up Cindy Fulsom, the head hydrotherapist at Vitality Flow and booked an appointment.
Originally from Canada, Cindy first heard about colonics from a book that showed a man with a really ulcerated foot. “They took pictures of it after colonics,” she recalled, “And it was pretty incredible to see those results. From there, I had a really strong interest. I wanted to do it.”
It wasn’t until she moved to LA, however, that she would have her chance. “After my first session, I thought to myself, wow, this is really interesting. But it didn’t really do anything.”
She had always heard that newcomers should do three as it could take a few sessions for a lifetime of waste to leave the body and so that’s what she did. The end of the third session marked an “incredible shift” for her. “I felt a lot more energy. The circles under my eyes had lightened up and pretty much cleared. And I felt such a sharpness in my mental faculties,” she recalled.
“People started coming up to me, saying, ‘Hey, what are you doing? You look really good. Your skin is glowing and you kind of have a sparkle about you.”
The habit had apparently stuck, because when I finally met up with her for my appointment at her clinic in Los Angeles, I, too, was amazed by how radiant she looked. The whites of her eyes were clear and her skin absolutely glowed. It was really striking.
She lead me to the treatment room where a Japanese screen calmy filtered the light of the window. I could hear the sound of a fountain bubbling in the corner. When I turned to look, I saw it was the hydrotherapy machine. About the size of a small TV, the device was all glass tubes and chrome knobs. It even had a number of submarine-style pressure gauges.
She left me to change into a gown. When she returned, she had me lie on the bed. I watched as she opened a sterile bag and assembled my personal colonic kit, which consisted of fresh tubing and the speculum. After getting everything put together and attached to the machine, the colonic was ready to begin.
She rolled me onto my side and helped me slide the speculum into my butt. Yep, my hand was down there. As she later explained, California law requires it.
The device entered smoothly, but when she finally got it in, it pinched a little so she adjusted it until it didn’t hurt any more. For the rest of the session, I didn’t feel a thing.
With a turn of the nozzle, the water started trickling into my body. We started slowly, putting only a little water into my system and building up to more and more volume. The whole time, Cindy was incredibly friendly and extremely knowledgeable. She answered all my questions and otherwise kept me distracted.
Predictably, the whole thing was a little uncomfortable. It kind of felt like I was going to have diarrhea. My stomach grumbled the whole time. Instead of having to race to the bathroom, however, I just had to tell her that I wanted to release. She’d flip the lever back and everything would flow out.
At other points during the process, the pressure I felt was near the speculum. This was usually related to gas, which also went into the tube upon release. Throughout our session, Cindy repeated the line that colon hydrotherapy is a “closed system”— a sanitized way of saying that no one ever hears or smells anything.
I was glad she was right. During our session, neither of us heard or smelled a thing.
What she failed to mention, however, is we saw everything. All the waste that flowed from my body passed through an illuminated glass tube, giving Cindy and I an up close and personal view of what I’d been eating.
“What kind of vegetable is that?” She asked as a green strand of something floated by. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be too thrilled to discuss my poop, but Cindy was so friendly and professional, I didn’t even think twice. I started rattling off all the things that I’d eaten recently: “Black bean burger, chicken caesar salad, Asian pasta with cilantro—”
“Cilantro!” she said. “That’s definitely cilantro. Cilantro contains a lot of fibrous material that people don’t digest.”
And that’s how it went. For almost an hour, she’d turn the knob and the filtered water would flow in until I could no longer handle the pressure. Then she’d spin it the other way and the water would flow out. Out and in. Out and in.
I ended up getting three sessions. Just like Cindy when she’d first tried it. The whole experience left me feeling really different. My stomach was way less bloated and the whites of my eyes were so bright, you could almost see them in the dark.
Before leaving that first day, I asked Cindy what I should tell people who are still on the fence about giving colon hydrotherapy a try.
“Every three months, we get an oil change to keep our cars functioning properly,” she replied. “And when we do, there’s a lot of residue. It’s the same with the body. We need to get rid of the residue to keep everything functioning properly.”