In the interest of being an authentic integrated doctor that believes in western and alternative medicine complementing each other, I figure I need to put my money where my mouth is (or rather my bottom is) and have colonic hydrotherapy.
This therapy is also known as colonic irrigation or both amusingly and worryingly, a bottyblaster. At this point I would like to state that I have never heard the term ‘bottyblaster’ being used at any point during my colorectal surgical rotation as a junior doctor!
Recently, I have felt increasingly fatigued, yet not sleeping well, more stressed and craving those sugary beige foods. The weight has gone up. I feel this is due to stress as opposed to any other undiagnosed cause.
So I have been open to trying all sorts of methods to combat stress on top of my usual REVIVE methods of rest, exercise, visualise, intake, vitality and environment. Now it was time to pull out the big guns, the hosepipe. Apparently, Princess Diana along with many celebs have been fans of the colonics. The anecdotes of miraculous sense of wellbeing, mental clarity, bright skin, instant weight loss and enhanced energy make them appealing. Then a vision of an elephant trunk spraying water up your bum makes you feel you’ve actually grown attached to the brain fog, dull skin, cravings and bloating.
Apparently, there isn’t enough good evidence to support the effects of colonic hydrotherapy. I didn’t bother to read any studies. I expect the conclusion is the same as always, “better and bigger research needs to be done”. All I know is, everyone who I know has had one has felt great and continued to have them. It’s a serious case of FOMO when you haven’t washed your car in a good couple of months but do book in for a washout of a self cleansing organ.
Will it actually feel like an elephant trunk spraying water up my rectum?
Will the water pressure burst my bowel?
Could the water pressure be so high that everything sprays out of my mouth?
If something does go wrong, I wonder if I can pull off the classic and often used line “I slipped and fell on it doc”?
All worthwhile worries I feel. However, the promises of youthful skin, sparkly eyes, plentiful energy, weight loss, reduced cravings, restful sleep and reduced stress was too appealing! I booked myself in and didn’t look back (or down).
Dr Talwar was immediately welcoming and exuded a calm, caring energy. He is 75 years young but looked at least 10 years younger, crediting regular colonics for his youthfulness. He was also very positive and happy. Whatever he was on I wanted, so he is a good advert for his own clinic!
A retired GP, now solely practicing alternative medicine, he told me how busy he is providing colonic hydrotherapy. He continues to offer the service due to how impactful the therapy is on his clients. He wholeheartedly believes in its therapeutic value and the varied benefits it offers. For £60 (he has not increased his prices since the day he started) it’s an absolute steal if it does result in all the listed benefits.
The gut being our second brain is something I hear frequently now and gut health seems to be the hot topic. So it seemed pure common sense to give my gut a good spring clean. Fortunately, I don’t suffer with any digestive symptoms so I wasn’t expecting any revelations there, although Dr Talwar promised I wouldn’t be craving those sugary carbs anymore, so that would be a plus! My main motivation was seeing if colonics reduce stress and improve energy. I didn’t want to miss out on the secret of healthful youthfulness either so I gladly hopped on the bed after completing the usual standard consultation questions, removing everything from my waist down and donning a disposable gown. Dr Talwar explained everything and what was to come and he appeared so excited as to how good I was about to feel that I was quite looking forward to it at that point!
I lay on my left side while Dr Talwar inserted the clear plastic hosepipe. This is where my breathing exercises came in very handy! I also felt this was karma for all the times I’ve performed rectal exams on my patients (although my fingers are considerably smaller than this pipe!). To be fair it wasn’t painful. Then the water was turned on. I tried to keep relaxed and focused on Dr Talwar’s small talk.
He only uses a closed system with disposable (thank God) equipment. This means there is no mess, no smell, no noise. Everything goes through the tube. I didn’t realise there was any other option but apparently an open system is a common thing where water is pumped in and everything basically explodes out of the anus. Apparently this gives a good sense of relief. It certainly doesn’t sound like my kind of thing but who am I to judge with a hosepipe firmly inserted in my rectum.
Dr Talwar enthusiastically proclaimed that his clinic is the first and only clinic to use a mirror so that patient’s can actually see what’s pouring out of the tube. He encouraged me to keep watch as this was to make me see all the stress disappearing out of me. You’d think you wouldn’t want to watch but it turns out it’s one of those things you can’t peel your eyes away from. Or perhaps I just felt desperate for a sign it would be over soon, like an aeroplane flying a flag that reads ‘The end, it’s empty, all over’ flying out of my colon.
As the water filled me up it gave that sensation of cramping discomfort. Not pain by any means but certainly uncomfortable and wanting to be on the toilet. Alone. Dr Talwar stayed throughout the therapy pumping the water to mimic the peristalsis of the gut and intermittently massaging my abdomen. After about 45 minutes it was over. You might think it awkward to have someone water your insides for 45 minutes but actually Dr Talwar has such a caring and healing manor that I think it is likely to be a more effective procedure because it is performed by him. We then exchanged pleasantries and I was given a course of probiotics to replenish my gut and booked in for a repeat therapy in 4 weeks. After that I was advised to have it every 3 months.
The next morning I weighed 4lb less. I did feel my skin looked brighter and my energy more positive. My cravings were definitely reduced so that was a good result for me. I also slept very well. Interestingly, I could run 40 minutes without stopping (this is quite an achievement for me). Usually it takes me a good few weeks to build up my endurance for running anything over 20 minutes. This was a notable change to my usual running ability. Was it the colonic? I haven’t done any running lately and barely any exercise so it wasn’t down to recent training. Before anyone thinks I needed to run more due to reduce bowel control, that was not the case. I ran more because I just felt I could!! More of that please!
Did I enjoy it? Not particularly. I didn’t feel that instant sense of relief that lots of people report but I guess that must be for people who do suffer with constipation.
Do I feel better? Yes. Everyday I focus on the lifestyle measures I need to support my health and wellbeing but the colonic hydrotherapy was a new intervention and I did feel healthier with more energy and urge to eat healthier foods. I do feel I look less tired and my skin looks brighter. Will I go again? Yes. I figure I need to keep trialling this intervention to see if it gives me continued benefits. What was I most surprised about? How many people I know who are closet colonic goers!
Here is the link to Dr Talwar’s clinic