Alex Leith gets to grips with the enema within

“You look so nervous,” smiles Jilly, sitting opposite me in her little clinic. “Don’t worry, there’s absolutely nothing to be nervous about.” It’s just gone 2pm,.. and I’ve been nervous all day. I’ve never hail colonic irrigation before. There’s a little bed in the room where it’s to happen, and some whey equipment. a pink glass Buddha transmits calmness from the top of a dainty chest of drawers. ‘Is it going to be embarrassing’, I’m thinking. ‘is it going to be… messy?’ She’s good at putting me at my ease, with a little spiel, and a run-through of name-and-address type questions. Colonic irrigation has been going since ancient Egyptian times, I’m told. Your colon gets jammed up with faecal matter, gas, mucus and toxic substances, which stop digestion from working properly. This can lead to all sorts of problems. If you clear the tubes, these problems can disappear. It’s good for people with irritatable bowel syndrome, obviously, constipation, and frequent diarrhoea. It can also help people with other problems, too. ME, MS, arthritis, psoriasis, thrush, you name it. She even gets referrals from people’s dentists: a bunged up colon, it appears, can give you toothache. She hands me a little tunic that opens at the hack and asks me to go into a toilet cubicle to put it on and take my trousers and underpants off. When I return, she asks me to get onto the bed, and lie on my side, knees bent, facing the wall. She puts on some gentle music: the Irish singer Enya. “Don’t worry, this won’t hurt,”..she says, and inserts the smoothed end of a tube into my rectum. An odd sensation, it must be said, but she’s right, not a painful one. A colonic involves the gentle introduction of water into your colon. “It’ll feel a little cold at first before you get used to it,” she says, as I feel a jet of cold liquid going up the wrong way. Then it doesn’t feel cold any more. She massages my stomach muscles a bit, and I feel myself emptying out. She encourages me to look at the tube, which is transparent, and I can see faecal matter travelling down. “I don’t normally get people to look, but since you’re a journalist,” she says. “That stuff’s been there quite some time.” The treatment lasts about 45 minutes. What has at first seemed an alien sensation starts feeling quite good. The body, I guess, has developed pleasure signals to encourage you to dump your waste, and this sensation is drawn out over a longer time than normal. At one point she introduces a herbal laxative into my colon, and I can almost immediately feel the loosening effect it has. She repeatedly massages my stomach, sometimes with her hands, sometimes with a plastic tool, to help the process along. She lets me know five minutes before the treatment is over that it’s coming to an end. She gently pulls out the tube, and gives me some tissue paper ‘just in case’. She tells me she’s going to leave the room for a while, while I get dressed. That I might need to use the toilet. I don’t, actually. I get off the bed, which looks pristine as when I got onto it. She was right, there was nothing to he nervous about. It’s not been embarrassing, and it’s not been messy. I dress, and after a while, Jilly comes back in. “How do you feel,” she asks. How do I feel? I feel about a stone lighter, is the answer. I also feel strangely elated, and… can this be possible? I feel younger. “I feel liberated,” I say. And I mean it as much in the spiritual as the physical sense.

Sussex Colonic, 01273 477030.

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