Our beauty editor put the unconventional body treatment to the test
Here’s a fact: there’s nothing that stops and silences an office more than an announcement of “I want to get a colonic”. That’s exactly what happened when I shared my desire to try a colonic with the Beauty Crew team; and all thanks to working on an open-plan office, my colleagues at marie claire and InStyle heard it and gasped as well.
Several questions were thrown at me after a brief silence. “What is colonic? Why are you doing it? Will it be painful? Are there any side effects?” Luckily, I was able to turn to Adie Robertson, founder of To Wonderland Wellness Spa, for the answers. “Colon hydrotherapy, simply known as a colonic, eliminates toxins and disease and encourages our digestive and energy systems to reset. It is a natural, non-invasive water therapy where temperature-controlled filtered water gently enters through the rectum and travels through the entire colon where it softens faecal matter.”
Improving digestion and reducing bloating sounded ideal, but what actually caught my attention with this treatment was that it could improve the quality of my skin. Robertson totally backed me on this one: “we often refer to a colonic as the internal facial. A colonic will hydrate the skin and leave you with a fresh, glowing complexion and bright, clear eyes. When the intestines and colon are overloaded with toxins from our environment, food and lifestyle, effective elimination of toxins is impossible and instead they will be expelled via the skin in the form of acne, rosacea, psoriasis and dermatitis.”
I’ll try anything for clearer skin, so I locked in an appointment. Here’s a detailed rundown of my experience - before, during, and after my treatment.
Before the treatment
I was really apprehensive leading up to my colonic treatment, especially on the day of my appointment. On one hand, I was really looking forward to satisfying my curiosity - it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but have never got around to booking one in. On the other hand, I was mildly anxious by what could be involved.
I reached out to a few more people in my friendship circle and the office to see what the general consensus was. Was I about to make the biggest mistake of my life? Will this traumatise me to the point where I will avoid visiting a bathroom again? A fellow beauty editor told me that she’s had a colonic several times in her life, and that there was nothing to worry about. “I love that it makes me feel really light afterwards, and just generally healthier inside and out,” she said. I had a colleague that said the complete opposite though: “My friend had one done recently and hated how invasive the treatment was. She was incredibly traumatised from the moment the tube entered her body.” My parents had the most shocking reaction of all. “Why are you getting it done, are you really sick? Will you be sedated?”
I didn’t actually have to do anything before my treatment - I just had to go in to my appointment with a can-do attitude and an open mind, and attend a one-hour yoga session with Robertson. “A yoga session prior to a colonic is ideal as it enables us to connect deeply with ourselves whilst our parasympathetic nervous system will shutdown the stress response and switch the body back to equilibrium,” says Robertson. “[The] deep relaxation is essential to facilitate ‘letting go’ energetically and will result in a more effective colonic.” I was gratefully put at ease and felt incredibly relaxed after my yoga session, and was ready to take on my first colonic.
During the treatment
The treatment room at To Wonderland Wellness Spa was simple and clinical, which I was relieved about. I settled in on the bed, and the treatment started with a small tube inserted into my backside. This part was not bad at all; on a discomfort-scale of 0 to 10, I’d probably give it a 3. Knowing that it was my first time, my therapist explained everything clearly and told me that she would coach me through this.
The treatment started with my first ‘fill’, where my bowels were filled with water. Surprisingly, this was not painful in the slightest, but more weird to understand, mentally. After a few seconds, I felt a slight cramping sensation (I’d give it a 4 or 5 out of 10, as it felt like a light period cramp). My therapist put me at ease and told me that this was totally normal, as it was just the water hitting an area of gas.
My therapist then put a pause on the fill, and began massaging my belly to remove any excess gas. I have to say, this was the most unbearable part to my treatment as I am EXTREMELY ticklish. The first couple of fills, I had to massage my own belly with my therapist’s guidance, but I eventually got over it and allowed her to take over.
After a minute or two of massaging, I had to learn to “let go”, and this was something I really had to wrap my head around. I wasn’t allowed to push (like if I was sitting on the toilet); instead, my therapist asked me to just breathe in and out to further relax my body, then my body would take care of the rest. What came out of the tube was nowhere near as icky as I expected; in fact, it was mostly water that was slightly murky or discoloured, muddled with a few pellets of waste. I was warned that this is completely normal, and that the water wouldn’t be filled with faecal matter completely until at least session two or three. As weird as it sounds, I was absolutely fascinated by what I saw in the tube.
Interestingly, my therapist picked up on the fact that I’d been really stressed that week due to the excess amount of cortisol in my body, which turned the fill water yellow. I agreed with her - it’s a busy time of year!
This process was repeated for about 50 minutes with about eight to 10 fills. By the fourth fill, I was really used to the feeling. I was so deep in conversation with my therapist sometimes that I didn’t even realise that she was doing it. At the end of my session, my therapist removed the tube from my body, and I spent the next five to 10 minutes sitting on the toilet to remove any excess water and waste. When I left the clinic, I felt a burst of intense energy and an incredible sense of lightness both mentally and physically, like I could go for an hour-long run, even though it was about eight o’clock at night.
After the treatment
The days following my treatment, I had a couple of breakouts around my nose, which is usually associated with gastrointestinal imbalances. I put this down to my body purging all the toxins from my body - prompted by the colonic, of course - which cleared up after a couple of days.
The following week, however, was the most interesting: While I didn’t notice that my tummy was much flatter, I actually noticed a slight improvement in my skin’s luminosity, and the texture looked smoother, too. “When the colon is cleared with a series of colonics, clients notice how quickly their skin problems improve or disappear,” agreed Robertson. And even though I had only committed to one session (Robertson suggests at least three to see the full effects), I was still really impressed with the results.
Overall, I think it’s something worth trying, especially if you’re looking to loosen up (pun intended) or are on the quest for clearer skin and your skin care products just aren’t cutting it.
If you prefer a topical approach to clearing your skin, you might want to try these face masks for acne-prone skin.
Have you ever had a colonic before? What did you think of it? Let us know your thoughts on the treatment below.
Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinot noir, she has a healthy obsession with fake tan smell, wispy false lashes and CND Shellac in the shade Romantique. Her words and styling can also be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and previously in SHOP Til You Drop and Cosmopolitan.