Warning to the overly sensitive: This article contains very deep-down beauty advice about inner beauty. Quite literally inner beauty, that is; as in my bowels. If talking number two isn’t your jive, please exit towards the nearest contouring tutorial. For the rest of you gutsy readers, sh*t’s about to go down.
Embarrassing as it may be to talk about, we all poop. Your friends poop, your sister poops, your granny poops, and you poop, too (admit it). And yet, pooping is a taboo topic so shrouded in mystery that it can make us feel like freaks for things like going in public restrooms or chronic constipation.
What does this crap have to do with beauty? Colon health and skin health and inextricably connected. When one of our elimination organs gets overworked or plugged up, the other elimination organs have to do more of the heavy lifting to get the stuff out. That’s why a heavy night of drinking or bad constipation can cause breakouts and other skin reactions no matter how much we shell out for new topical miracle creams.
Nearly every day, I hear people say they feel “crappy” or ask me how they can feel better while they simultaneously make a downward gesture with their arms across their stomachs--the international signal for wanting to poop more. Instinctually, we all know that pooping more makes us feel better overall. Our bodies hate being full of crap, which is why we are well equipped with amazing elimination organs like the colon and the liver and the skin.
I had a nasty breakout for over a week. I know you’re not supposed to pick, but, I confess, I picked and made it worse, like every other person, ever. But instead of trying a round of different products, I decided to get a colonic.
This is not a horror story like every other first-hand embarrassment piece ever written about colonics on the internet; this is a love story. My experience with colonics has been completely positive, and I credit my good experience with choosing the right type of colonic: the gravity method.
A gravity colonic is a form of colon hydrotherapy developed by Dr. Robert Woods and Dr. Norman Walker. Dr. Walker is kind of like the Beyoncé of the health and wellness community, a triple threat of sorts. Those trendy bottles of green juice New Yorkers love to guzzle all trace back to his influence.
Unlike most commonly used colonic procedures in medical spas, gravity colonics do not use pressure to force any water in our out of your body, nor do they require you to retain water or other substances before expelling them. Instead, gravity colonics involve no electronic machinery; simply a set of tubes that carry water from an elevated tank in and out of your body simultaneously using the natural peristalsis of your body.
Bottom line: If it was a horror story, it wasn’t a gravity colonic.
The day of my colonic, I found myself in a cozy midtown waiting room of Release NYC, a little office adorned with salt crystal lamps and new-agey exercise equipment.
As I filled out my consent forms, my lovely hydrotherapist, Patrick, asked me questions about my health history, calmed my mind of any concerns, and regaled me with stories of previous clients who “threw down” during their colonics. That’s supposed to be a good thing--you want to throw down.
I was led to a tiny room with a private bathroom and a cushioned table you would find in an old-timey doctor’s office. Mounted on the wall was a tank and a series of rubber tubes. Most people have qualms about a perfect strangers shoving something up their butt, however the insertion is small, shallow, and gentle enough for even the most anal-retentive people out there. Once the hard part is done, the slow flow of water begins, which immediately initiates your body’s natural response to expel waste.
The days leading up to my colonic, I had sipped on lots of cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices along with water, water, and more water, sometimes with lemon. Many believe that colonics are quick fixes to bad eating or one too many glasses of wine; they’re not. The most effective way to clean out your colon is cleaning up your diet beforehand. Patrick informed me that if you forgo this step, you may be in for a pretty uncomfortable experience. You wouldn’t wash a greasy pan with just water so throw some green juice on it, it’s like soap for your colon.
While I laid there, I started to realize that Patrick not only was an amazing colon hydrotherapist, he was my new personal cheerleader as I was undergoing what technically amounts to the longest crap of my life. I averted my eyes to the wall and tried and failed to remember valuable interview questions, while Patrick would exclaim “YES! You are throwing down!” He shouted with glee in response to my amazing results, telling me that I was going to “get up psyched.” I incorrectly kept thinking ‘upsiked’ was a made-up California slang term, but I don’t care--I’m coining a new term because I got up psyched!
It wasn’t until I got dressed and started pulling goofy smiley faces that I realized I was totally giddy and slightly euphoric: upsiked.
There’s really no denying that my body needed the colonic. Even though I’m very regular and had only consumed fiberless juice for days, there were pounds of waste that left my colon during the procedure. That didn’t come from half a baby watermelon and two kale salads--it was old waste matter.
I’m pretty convinced that iPhone cameras exaggerate how terrible my skin looks when it’s breaking out. At least that’s what I tell myself which is why I thought documenting my before and after this way was completely scientific.
Only 36 hours passed between these two shots. Not only did my skin clear up, I look more serene and overall less demented in my post-colonic pic. It is probably the clearest my skin has been since I’ve gone au natural with my skincare routine. I’m really ‘upsiked’ about it.
Patrick and his boyfriend, Ryan, were so generous to send me their own before and after pics, before they started doing colonics two years ago and now.
Patrick’s skin is firmer and less wrinkled now, but Ryan’s transformation was particularly dramatic.
Two years ago, Ryan was on antibiotics for cystic acne and got regular facials. Today, he gets colonics regularly and doesn’t use anything on his skin besides raw honey!
Most doctors will tell you that the human body is well equipped to eliminate toxins on its own through the liver, skin, bowels, etc. without the aid of colonics which is true to some extent. The controversial theory of many in the health community is that we are bombarded with exposure to harmful chemicals in our everyday lives and our bodies simply can’t keep up and maintain a high level of health at the same time. Colon hydrotherapy and enemas have been used in medicine for thousands of years, but modern medicine is almost entirely based in expensive technologies, which is great for saving your life, but when it comes to preventative medicine, eating healthy and pooping properly are pretty inexpensive cures for many common everyday ailments.
Cleansing, detoxing, or whatever wishy-washy term you want to use for it really comes down to one thing, and it ain’t juice: it’s poop! I like to think of my colonic as one big extraction. My skin cleared up because a huge weight was lifted from its elimination duties for the day.