For a short-cut back to wellness, Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa in Koh Samui offers a comprehensive detox programme. Tamara Pitelen tried it out.
It’s my job to find the poo poo; I am the poo poo hunter,” said Aor, my Thai therapist, as she vigorously massaged my stomach and kept a close eye on a see-through tube to see if any of the desired “poo poo” was in fact coming out of me. Along with my other therapist, Wailuka, Aor gave little cries of glee when the “poo poo” did emerge. These women were serious about their work. For those not familiar with the joys of colon hydrotherapy, you are essentially hooked up to a machine via a tube up your bottom through which litres of distilled water are used to flush out your large intestine in order to remove anything that shouldn’t be there, eg, impacted fecal matter, parasites, candida spores, harmful bacteria… It was the first of three colon hydrotherapy treatments I was having as part of my seven day Comprehensive Detox programme at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa in Koh Samui, Thailand.
I HEART DETOX
My husband Adrian and I had turned ourselves over to the expert hands of Kamalaya’s team of therapists and health practitioners in the hope they could help us reverse the effects of the so-called ‘good living’ that’s prevalent in Dubai. Essentially this means high stress jobs, social lives that revolve around all-you-can-eat-and-drink affairs, too much coffee, sugars, bread, meat and processed foods. It had left us bloated and pudgy with sluggish, overloaded systems, bad skin, dull eyes, and digestive issues such as constipation and acid reflux. Most of the time we could kid ourselves that we generally ate well and exercised just enough, but the truth was becoming very evident in the stomachs hanging over waist-bands and the appearance of extra chins. We were not shining examples of health. So, off to Kamalaya for seven days of extreme, take-no-prisoners wellness. On your first morning, you get a full body analysis which even tells you how hydrated your cells are followed by a wellness consultation with the therapist who will work out your plan for the week based on your goals. My plan involved a vegetable-based detox diet (forget any hope of clapping eyes on coffee, sugar, alcohol, or the ‘whites’ like bread and pasta if you’re detoxing at Kamalaya) and several therapies a day.
Which brings me back to the joys of colon hydrotherapy. Who on earth came up with such a bizarre concept? The Egyptians apparently. In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, wrote: “The Egyptians clear themselves on three consecutive days, every month, seeking after health by emetics and enemas for they think that all disease comes to man from his food.” What’s it like? That varies from person to person. I’ve heard some people find colonic irrigation no problem at all; they skip out afterwards like they’ve been reborn. This was not us. For me, the first of the three was the most uncomfortable. It’s the releasing of trapped wind that can bring the most discomfort but when your therapist tells you that a great deal of very old, dried poo poo is being dislodged, getting rid of that is worth the minor discomfort. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. My husband Adrian described himself as “traumatised” after his first colonic, vowing to never ever repeat the “horrific was happy to weigh a kilo less afterwards. So why, you may ask, do people submit to this? Thanks to the modern diet of highly processed foods, the traditional and natural method of eliminating foods is often overwhelmed which is why so many of us suffer constipation, bloating, gas, flatulence and other delightful side effects of a dodgy digestive system. A course of colonics is like an internal spring clean. The primary benefit is, according to Kamalaya’s detox booklet, “the elimination of toxins and accumulated waste from the colon, thereby relieving stress on the liver.” This can lead to benefits ranging from natural weight loss to improved lymphatic and liver function as well as that intangible overall sense of wellbeing.
SAUNA AND SUPPLEMENTS
What else does a Comprehensive Detox at Kamalaya entail? As well as the colon hydrotherapy, a busy schedule of daily therapies includes Chi Nei Tsang aka stomach massage, lymphatic drainage, Thai massage, and a daily sit in the Farinfrared (FIR) sauna. Not like a traditional sauna, a FIR sauna uses a narrow band of energy produced by the sun that is responsible for photosynthesis. Invisible to the human eye, these rays penetrate much deeper than a regular sauna in order to accelerate healing and release toxins. According to the Kamalaya information pack, “studies have shown that most people have between 400 to 800 chemical residues stored in their fat deposits. It is the chemical load stored just below the skin that is the main area targeted by FIR rays. At 43.3 degrees Celsius, fat deposits become water soluble and can be disposed of via perspiration… a single sauna session of 30 minutes can burn up to 600 calories.” Bring it on then! But that’s just the therapies. In addition to the daily treatments you also follow a detox diet that’s basically vegetables (prepared with amazing creativity – from pumpkin and coconut curry to juices, smoothies and herbal teas) supplemented with protein shakes, coconut water and a total of 31 supplements taken every day, throughout the day. This cocktail of supplements are specifically designed to support the detox pathways and the liver as it gets on with the job of putting out the rubbish that you’ve been storing in your cells. They include vitamins C and E, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, lipoic acid, lecithin, fish oil, probiotics, turmeric, milk thistle, dandelion, schizandra, globe artichoke, psyllium husk and flaxseed. Not to mention daily shots of wheatgrass and homeopathic detox medicine.
They did warn us that the first two or three days would be the worst. As your body is chucking off the toxins as fast as it can, you can suffer a number of symptoms such as headaches, flu-like symptoms, depression and weepiness, low energy and fatigue, restlessness and irritability, to name just a few. I suffered all of the above to a greater or lesser degree. One of the greater degrees was the headaches, that very first night I had a pounding, killer headache. A little man on the right side of my brain banging away at the inside of my skull with a sledgehammer. He carried on into the next day but he was clearly getting weary because the pounding did get weaker until on day three it stopped. Day two was also the climax of the lethargy attack. Kamalaya offers a host of optional activities throughout the day, walking, yoga, cardio classes, cooking workshops, spirituality talks… but I had no energy for anything but reading and sleeping. Happily, the Kamalaya library is a welcoming haven of calm. I settled in on the sofa and read for hours between therapies and meals. Or I would take my book poolside or beachside to alternate between reading and relaxing in the sunwarmed waters. It was all pure heaven. For anyone living the Dubai dream, life is a non-stop whirl of busy-ness. So the opportunity to be completely cared for in the lush, tropical beauty of Koh Samui is blissful. I was told that most of Kamalaya’s business is repeat; people who’ve been and then go back again and again. This is no surprise to us. We’re already talking about going back next year. By the end of the week, I was two kilos lighter, my skin was noticeably clear (acne is one of my issues), my eyes were brighter and whiter and I felt 100 per cent better than I did on day one.
IN A NUTSHELL: KAMALAYA COMPREHENSIVE DETOX
What’s included during a seven-day comprehensive detox programme at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa (nine and 14 day packages also available): w Accommodation and full board (three Kamalaya meals per day, à la carte or set detox menu) w All beverages, excluding imported drinks and alcohol w 1 x Body Bio-impedance Analysis (BIA) w 1 x Initial Wellness Consultation w 1 x 90 minute Vital Essence Oil Massage w 1 x 90 minute Traditional Thai Massage w Detox Herbal Remedies and Supplements w 3 x 60 minute Chi Nei Tsang (Taoist abdominal massage) w 6 x 30 minute Far Infrared Sauna w 3 x 60 minute Colon Hydrotherapy w 3 x 90 minute Lymphatic Drainage Therapy w 1 x 60 minute Oriental Herbal Detoxifying Body Scrub and Wrap w Use of steam cavern, swimming, plunge pools and fitness centre w Complimentary attendance to scheduled daily holistic fitness activities w One wellness gift pack and round-trip airport transfers
For further information, email email@example.com Tel: +66 (0) 77 429 800 Fax: +66 (0) 77 429 899
Addresss: 102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang Koh Samui, Suratthani 84140 Thailand
KAMALAYA also offers a yoga programme, a weight-loss programme, a relax and rejuvenate programme, a stress and burn-out programme, and a sleep enhancement programme. www.kamalaya.com
Extreme detox Thailand