I'm lying on an exam table, hospital gown opened to the back, staring at a photo of a beach that's obviously there to help calm me down. The thing is, it's going to take a lot more than this picture to do that. My stomach churns as my brain frantically scrambles for a few viable excuses to not go through with this -- my first-ever colonic.
Then, the practitioner walks in.
"Hi, I'm Frahhhhhnce," she says in her singsong French-Canadian accent. "Are you allergic to coconut oil?" Random question, but OK, let's see where this leads …
It's too late to back out -- especially since I'm here voluntarily -- and as France unwraps the disposable hose that will soon be inserted into my nether regions to release years' worth of gunk and toxins that have been trapped in my colon, it's all I can do to keep from asking for a Valium drip.
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What inspired me to make this appointment in the first place? I'm here on assignment (talk about an occupational hazard). And while I'm the crunchiest of my friends -- I dated a yoga teacher, love acupuncture, and would choose a tempeh burger over a Big Mac any day -- colonics scare the crap out of me (heh). There's something about them that feels completely unnatural, unnecessary, and even dangerous. I say as much to France, and she eases my fears by explaining all the (gory) details as she works on making me one with a hose.
As I roll onto my side, France dips a disposable speculum in coconut oil and inserts it you-know-where. I feel pressure, but no pain. I slowly roll back onto my back, and the speculum miraculously stays put. "It's not going anywhere," France assures me.
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This speculum is attached to a disposable hose, which is hooked up to a machine that will slowly release warm, filtered water into my colon. When that happens, it'll cause the muscles of my colon to contract, helping to release waste and gas that will filter into the tube and straight to the sewer. This is a "closed system" colonic -- no mess, no stink.
Ideally, we wouldn't need this kind of internal cleansing to get rid of waste and toxins, France tells me when I pump her with questions about why colonics are necessary. Thanks to our increasingly unhealthy, high-sugar, low-nutrient diets, we're getting clogged up. I make a mental note to eat more veggies.
When France turns on the water, I can't really feel it, but I do feel pressure and even a little cramping. "That's your body tensing up," she tells me, while massaging my left thigh and then pressure points on my feet, trying to get my body to relax. "I want you to visualize a circle getting bigger and bigger with each breath," France says.
But all I can imagine is that my colon is like a water balloon that's getting filled to the max, and I start to worry that it's going to pop.
"There's just a little bit of water going in, and it's going in very slowly," France says as if reading my mind. And, as I look for something -- anything -- to take my mind off of what's happening, I wonder why, if she's from Quebec, her name is France.
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We seem to be moving along well, with the water slowly entering my colon and France massaging my stomach when suddenly, I feel the urge to sprint to the bathroom. That's France's cue to turn off the water flow, at which point I "release" into the tube. And yes, "release" means just that.
Embarrassing? Surprisingly not, though admittedly I'd have been mortified if France looked like Bradley Cooper instead of a lovely, motherly type.
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We went along like this for about 45 minutes -- water entering my colon and being turned off when I had an urge to "release." France was by my side the whole time, massaging, doing her best to keep me relaxed, and even letting me know when I was getting rid of some good stuff.
"Do you want to look at what's coming through the hose?" she asked earnestly.
Considering I didn't see a "closed system" for projectile vomit, I declined.
After the session, France led me to the restroom, so I could continue "releasing" for about 15 minutes.
And, while I thought I'd file this experience in the "worst assignments ever" category, when I hugged France good-bye I felt lighter -- and not just from the accompanying sense of relief that it was over. It was like I'd gotten rid of a burden my body had been carrying around for too long. Placebo effect? Maybe. But I'm telling you, it felt good.
When I emailed a friend to tell him about my amazing first colonic experience, he replied, "Of course you feel great! Colonics are like an Irish Spring for your tailpipe."
And there you have it.
What do you think? Would you ever try one?
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