Thursday, 15 April 2010

Colonic Hydrotherapy in Harrogate Part 1 - The treatment

There is so much to tell in this post so I have split it up into 2 parts. Mainly so that your eyes (and mine) don't go square from staring at the screen too long.

Most people have heard of it but few have experienced it or know what to expect from it. Being British and very conservative about our bodies, it's a subject rarely covered in conversation. I'm pretty prudish about toilet talk if I'm honest. I'm often the butt ('scuse the pun) of many a joke about gross toilet humour as I visibly recoil in horror when people discuss their bowel habits. A recent acceptance that everyone goes to the bathroom and there's nothing to be embarrassed about gave me the courage to be mature and give a frank account of my colon hydrotherapy experience.

Colon hydrotherapy (also known as Colonic irrigation) is an alternative therapy offered to help the following symptoms common in sufferers of food allergies:

*Bloated stomach
*Irritable Bowel Syndrome
*Backache, sciatic pain
*Acne, psoriasis and other skin complaints
*Weight gain

When I heard that colon hydrotherapy can be used to help with wheat intolerance, I had to give it a try. How does it help with food allergies? Well, the allergens you intake when you eat things that don't agree with you stay in your colon for around 3 weeks. That means if you unassumingly eat wheat/gluten (happens to me a lot) the symptoms can bug you for weeks on end. The process also relieves bloating and backache which are the two major symptoms I experience when I consume wheat and make me feel like a very grumpy balloon.

So, I contacted Harrogate Colon Hydrotherapist Lorraine MacNay for a chat to find out more about the procedure. She was very warm and friendly and put me at ease about discussing such personal things usually reserved for the doctor's surgery.

She went on to explain the benefits of the treatment and how it will ease the discomfort experienced by food allergy sufferers. She also advised me to detox prior to our appointment. That includes cutting out tea and coffee.

I lasted about half a day on the detox before I turned grumpy due to a lack of my staple Yorkshire Tea. Turns out I'm addicted to the stuff. Instead, Lorraine recommends hot water and lemon to set you up for the day (I've been trying it recently. It's really refreshing). She tells me that first thing in the morning, your digestive system is raring to go, and nothing could be better than a cleansing cup of hot water and lemon to flush your system of any bad bacteria.

Lorraine refers to 'bad bacteria' quite a lot. Not in the way those nonsense probiotic adverts do (which Lorraine says are a waste of money). When you think about it, your body temperature is 37c so if you have food sitting in there for a while, it will begin to rot. Lorraine recommends chewing your food properly so that it can digest easily "When you think about it, you only have teeth in your mouth, so once you have finished chewing, it's up to your digestive system to break down the food." A very good point, if a little graphic.

There appears to be many benefits of having a colonic, so if you're thinking about having it done, this is how it works...

My treatment was at Academy Spa in Harrogate where Lorraine is based a few days each week (Lorraine is freelance, so you are better off booking directly with her).

I arrive in a very tranquil spa treatment room to be met with Lorraine who looks very professional in her gleaming white uniform. She sits me down to go through my lifestyle habits. This is where I start to feel a bit guilty.

Lifestyle: Busy, but in a good way.
Exercise: Hmmm....a bit of walking each day, but less so since I moved house.
Drinks: 6-7 cups of tea per day (ouch). 2 glasses of water.
Chocolate: Quite addicted to the stuff since I gave up wheat - a bar a day at least.
Alcohol intake: Not too bad, the odd night out and a couple of glasses of wine a week.

From this information, Lorraine advised that I should cut down on tea to 2-3 cups per day, drink lots more water and switch to 70% cocoa or above chocolate. She also advised that I should try more exercise, which I knew anyway. This is where she advised that I swap my morning cuppa for a hot lemon.

Now, the interesting bit.

Lorraine gives me a hospital style tunic and asks me to get changed into it. She then asked me to lay down on the treatment bed which was next to a special machine (see pictures) which simultaneously pumps water in and out of your colon. The clear panel on the machine is where you can see how effective the treatment is. You're just not human if you're not curious about what's coming out of those tubes.

She then asks me to lay on my side whilst she hooks me up to the machine. The scariest bit really. A 2 inch tube is inserted which doesn't hurt, but is a bit uncomfortable. I can then lie on my back whilst the 45 minute treatment goes on. Filtered water (good enough to drink)is pumped into the colon which feels very strange indeed. The water is body temperature so doesn't feel too cold or too hot.

To start with, there is just a lot of water going in and massaging of my tummy to stimulate movement in the colon.

20 minutes in we start to see results as the out tube seems to be getting busier.

The first treatment doesn't usually result in much so Lorraine has to work a bit harder to get things going. She ups the water pressure for 1 minute. This is the most uncomfortable part as she stops water coming out and completely fills the colon. It feels a bit bad like period pain. The relief is instant as she drops the pressure again. This works and we see lots more coming through the curiosity window.

The treatment ends after 45 minutes and Lorraine nips off to grab me some probiotics (to replace the good bacteria lost in the process) whilst I take an advised trip to the little girls room (there's a very nice and well equipped one in the treatment room). She also turns the music up. I didn't think a bathroom trip would be required after all that I had just been through, but good lord, it was.

The treatment, for want of a better description, loosens up everything and it has to go somewhere once it's lose. I was in the bathroom for quite some time and was amazed at what my poor colon had been harbouring.

Enough with the gross talk now, i'm not that comfortable with it!

The next post will talk about the results of the treatment.

Did I lose weight? Did I feel better? Have I managed to cut down on my tea drinking?

Tune in next time to find out!



  1. I'm still intrigued and would like to have one. Am I a sadist? Probably.
    Looking forward to finding out the results!

  2. Hi Alison

    If you want more gory detail or advice, drop me an email

    M x

  3. I found this interesting. Will look out for the next instalment. I want to know if you loose weight, and if you gained some benefit.

  4. Hi bakelady59

    I'm glad you found the post interesting. I am possibly having another treatment before I post the 2nd part of this piece as Lorraine MacNay recommends having a follow up treatment a few weeks after your very first one in order to reap the full benefits. Find out more soon.


  5. Come on now Mosser where's part 2? :-) xxxx

  6. I had a six session treatment of colonics and they made me feel so much better. I have IBS and suffered from constipation and the colonics have now made me go to the toilet on a regular basis without the need of any tablets. I have now found out I am gluten intolerant so I am going back for a colonic this week to get rid of all the gluten which may be still in my colon! I would recommend colonics to anyone who suffers from stomach/bowel problems!