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AFTER THE DETOX

Giving your digestive system a break is not as relaxing as it sounds.

By: Andrew Biggs
Published: 26/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Brunch

It was never my intention to continue my colonic column from last week. But the number of enquiries from interested readers about my detox experience has gushed forth in amounts similar to the coffee that gushed forth from my rectum over the past week.

After the Detox

I know, that was disgusting, especially if it’s brunch time. But for those readers who can still remember as far back as a week ago – I have not been a member of that club in years – I should remind you that back then I was off to a seven day detox on an unnamed island in the south.

That colon – sorry, column was written the day I was to get on a plane and fly down to a well-known spa resort that caters for a curious subgroup of humans – overweight Westerners who pay for somebody to deny them food and shove rubber tubes up their backsides to ingest coffee. That club I joined for seven days.

Basically, “detox” is when you give your digestive system a “break” while you flush your intestines with an intriguing concoction of coffee and warm water. Upon arriving at the spa, I was presented with my spa pack, including a booklet entitled Your Cleansing Fast. Page one was disheartening: “We here DO NOT PROFESS to be MEDICAL AUTHORITIES or ADVISERS.” Now they tell us! Does that mean I can rise up and revolt when you start denying me food? Also included in the pack was a long plastic tube with a hole on the end, like a mini lawn sprinkler. This was our “Colema tip”, and it sat ominously next to a new tube of KY Jelly.This is the heart of detox, all was explained on Day One when we were invited to the reception area. We sat around as the staff flicked on a 20 minute video explaining the colemic process.

Our mouths started to fall agape. I had imagined a nice ward with friendly smiling attendants who made soothing comments like “Goodness the weather’s hot outside today isn’t it?” as they placed warm white towels over your crotch while slipping the little Colema tip surreptitiously into your sphincter. “Now you just relax there for 15 minutes and I’ll be back when it’s over,” one attendant would say from behind her white mask, her head cocked slightly to one side as she winked at you happily.

Reality was far more jarring. There is no “Colon Ward”; you do it alone in your own bungalow bathroom. So that explains the big black ugly meat hook hanging next to the toilet, the type you see in a butcher shop or every sequel of Friday The 13th! We had to fill a bucket up with coffee and warm water, then hang it precariously from the meat hook. Precariously? I should have saved that word for what comes next.

Next to the meat hook is something resembling a surfboard, but the only waves around were those of nausea upon knowing what I had to do. The surfboard was a “Colema board” and it had a sizeable hole at the end big enough for a head to pop through. Only my head wasn’t going anywhere near it.

The idea was to lay the surfboard down with the hole over the toilet. Then you lie down on top of it with your backside against the hole. A hose goes between the bucket and the Colema tip. You smother the tip with KY Jelly and presto, the Colema tip is up your a*** quicker than a rat up a drainpipe. For the next half an hour, you lie there as coffee goes up into your intestines. After a few minutes there is a full feeling like you are about to explode. You flush out, then take in, flush out, then take in. All the time I was lying on a plastic board suspended above the ground thinking: “Please God, don’t let a Thai Rath photographer come bursting into my bathroom.” It was scary, ludicrous, and after a few times, more than a little funny.

More than once I cracked up at the sight of my crack up. It did lead to interesting dinner conversation. A chatty Croat-Brit woman spoke non-stop of the spidery monsters coming out of her ample backside, as Andrew and I delicately sipped on our dinner of clear broth and carrot juice.

“I released a lot of black sludge this afternoon.

“Then some of it looked like a mini pine tree. I examined a few of them and wondered how long they had been inside me. What about you guys? What have you been excreting?” Madam, please.

Despite the caffeine rush, I remained in a constant state of weakness and hunger. Energy levels were down; not to the point of despair, but my one motivation was the sparkling, wonderful feeling one got after two days of not eating.

Alas, it didn’t come. I took solace in the myriad New Age experts I could pay 2,000 baht per hour to tell me about my chakras and energy channels. Honestly, these farang are onto something. I would be quite happy to open anybody’s chakras for 2,000 baht an hour. Just find me four or five tourists a day, and I’m earning 280,000 tax-free baht per month! Who needs a university education?

Jennifer the iridology lady was lovely, though my friend Andrew was a little disheartened when she gazed into his eyes and pronounced: “You have impacted faecal matter.”

My favourite was Abigail, a beautiful British psychic with 89 angels who accompany her on a sublime cleansing mission.

For an hour they wove their magic as she held my hand and filled me with light. And why not? I certainly wasn’t getting any sustenance from the spa – why not try it with angels?

When it finally came time to break the fast, the spa told us to do it slowly and carefully. “On the first day of breaking the fast eat RAW FOODS – all fruits and salads” the Detox manual ordered me in capital letters which shook my chakras to the core. To hell with that. At the airport Andrew and I ordered a coffee “for the mouth”. On the Bangkok Airways plane back I felt I was in heaven as I placed a cooked carrot into my mouth and chewed on it. Later that day I would eat half a sausage and some mushrooms.

My system literally rejoiced. My mood changed abruptly, and I transformed from sluggish curmudgeon to affable raconteur. The first morning back I ran 5km around Rama IX Park and it felt fantastic to have the energy to be able to exercise. I could feel my stomach enzymes breaking down food with wide grins on their acidic faces; my intestines twisting and dancing with ecstasy as they sent faecal matter down, down, down.

My detox experience was not wasted. I had a week off; I read lots of books about positive thinking and setting goals. But was it life changing? Some of the other guests were ecstatic over it all. I wasn’t. Maybe it’s because after so many years in Thailand, my diet does already include lots of fruit and vegetables. I eat a lot more raw stuff than if I was living in, say, Sydney, on a constant diet of pizza, hamburger, chips and meat pies. And maybe, just maybe, it is a little presumptuous and arrogant of us to think that the fantastic machinations of our human body require a “break” from food now and then. Such were my thoughts nearly a week after getting back from detox as I enjoyed the lively company of friends while snacking on moderate portions of Oriental Bakery items.

Let’s face it.

Detox is good. Pastry is better.

For the original article, click here.

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