Some time ago, was complaining to my shrinky-dink about certain ails and I told her that I had read an article that made mention of colonics as a potential remedy. One immediate health concern was that I was not absorbing nutrients properly. My shrink had previously written an order for some thorough blood-work as well as cotton swab adrenal testing. I learned that I am not absorbing nutrients as I should be. This was causing problems. I told her I was entertaining the thought of seeking a colonic practitioner to clear out the muck, but I had some apprehension. We didn't delve into this much and she didn't suggest that I try it, but when I told her that I had finally decided to go for it, she gave me the name of someone she could recommend.
This is how Octavia Zoccoro of Transformational Health came into my life. She is a rocket ship. Full of life, energy, humor, wit, quirk, and just the right amount of positive zen. In other words you won't be feeling overwhelmed by patchouli aand goddess altars. Sometimes I feel that holistic practitioners get a bad rap.
She works out of the home she grew up in, located in Palos Verdes, California. Upper Middle class-ville. She has horses, dogs that love me (I imagine they love everyone), cats that I'm allergic to, and uninvited screeching peacocks. She took me on a tour of the grounds, post-colonic.
The fact that some practitioners work out of their homes or small clinics tends to turn people off, but hydrotherapy is not widely accepted in the medical profession, therefore, the set up is humble. Some spas are beginning to incorporate colonics, and perhaps that offers a combined clinical yet relaxed atmosphere.
Some people are unnerved by the fact that this practice is not performed by doctors. I understand this. Do your homework to understand why the medical profession does not value colonics as common practice. Many insist that the body's natural ability to detox is enough. If we're eating a proper diet, the cleaner we are and the more our body will work for us. But if we are not having regular bowel movements we are not naturally detoxing sufficiently.
Ask yourself this question. Are you pooping 3 to 4 times a day? Without knowing you individually, I am guessing the majority of you are not. This is certainly not a judgement. This is life for most of us. So foreign in fact, that 3 to 4 bowel movements may seem like too much. We need to have a BM when we rise in the morning, and within an hour of each completed meal. If your not reaching these numbers, what is coming out of you is most likely food from the day before, or even longer. This back -up is preventing your brain and other organs, and nervous system from functioning properly. This can lead to fatigue, weight gain, depressed mood (I am not making the claim that a backed up system is the root of clinical depression), poor memory, recall, and concentration, slow processing, hair loss, wrinkles, eye bags, bloating, gas, headaches, and the list goes on and on. In fact some of our more serious illnesses are due to a backed up system.
Onto my first colonic.
Upon meeting, Octavia had me fill out a questionnaire that spoke to the reason (s) I was there to see her, as well as my past and current medical and psychiatric history. Just as you would do in a doctor's office. We went over my issues and questions. When the time of truth came, I put on a hospital gown and climbed vulnerably onto the procedure table.
The table was comfortable and was a-topped with clean table covering and a soft, yet firm head rest. In front of me on the wall was a calming painting.
She asked me how I was feeling as I was visibly nervous. I was of course anxious about the tube insertion. She said it's the easiest part of the entire procedure. That made me feel better. It didn't make me think that what was ahead must be really uncomfortable, but rather that if I could get past the beginning, the rest would be smooth sailing.
She had me turn to my left side. The tube was tapered, well lubricated, and not as large as I feared. She had me breathe deep, and lifted one glut cheek and inserted the tube on an inhale. It didn't feel great but it wasn't horrible. It slipped in pretty easily, and she put her hand on my side in comfort afterward. In fact she would gently pat my hand or a shoulder every now and then. She'd periodically check in with me and ask how I was feeling. She was very dear, and she made me feel at ease. It was quite the relief.
Once the tube is in, it's in. What I mean is that it does not feel as though it will slip out, nor is it uncomfortable or distracting. It doesn't reach too deeply inside the body that you get the feeling that you have an alien-like intruder that is violating you.
Octavia answered all of my questions, and I had many. I was surprised that she put up with me.
She talked about the importance of "taking out the trash" or "cleaning house." She explained that we have so much backed up feces that line our intestines, and it's more than most can fathom. If more people knew, they'd most likely be running to the nearest colon therapist or do whatever they could to eliminate it. In fact she encouraged me to pursue colonics with someone else if for whatever reasons I felt like she wasn't a good match for me.
She explained that toxicity mostly starts in the gut, and years of eating a SAD (standard american diet) diet, causes acidity, and insulin resistance, blood sugar rise, a weak liver, an undernourished thyroid, suffering kidneys, gallbladder, and malabsorption.
As I lay on my back, Octavia showed me pictures of what is known as mucoid plaque. Sounds yummy doesn't it? Mucoid plaque is underneath the waste we are used to seeing in our toilets before we flush. It is often black in color, and rubbery, and tar-like. I for one, do NOT want this setting up camp inside of me. Unfortunately it's there, and with a raw diet (which Octavia does not encourage or discourage) and colonic sessions I am working towards repair.
"Mucoid Plaque" was termed by naturopathic doctor, researcher, medical researcher, nutritionist, iridologist, herbalist, former board member of the Board of Directors for the International Society of Naturopathy, and faculty member at the University of Natural Medicine; Anderson, N.D., N.M.D. He describes the rope like substance in this way:
"Conventional medicine knows this as a layering of mucin or glycoproteins (made up of 20 amino acids and 50% carbohydrates) which are naturally and appropriately secreted by intestines as protection from acids and toxins. However, mucoid plaque is different from the mucosal lining (mucosa) of the gastrointestinal tract. The latter acts as a necessary buffer to the gastrointestinal wall and as a lubricant for peristalsis; it is also responsible for the secretion of mucins which comprise mucoid plaque. The cells of the outermost layer of the mucosa (the epithelium) stay fresh and vital, renewing themselves every four to seven days. It sounds paradoxical, but medical research indicates that mucoid plaque is a normal selfdefense measure—natural protection from unnatural toxins. Evidence indicates that mucoid plaque, with the possible exception of that found in the stomach, is unnatural to the healthy body and is found only after the body has moved away from perfect health and into a diseased state. The theory goes that if you were completely healthy, your system would produce no mucoid plaque because it wouldn’t need to. When the body has been chronically subjected to (or put under attack by) drugs (such as aspirin or alcohol), salt, heavy metals (including dental mercury), toxic chemicals, parasites, harmful microbes and their toxins, and circulating immune complexes (immune cells locked onto undigested particles or foreign substances in the bloodstream), it produces mucoid plaque to protect itself.
The trouble is once the mucoid plaque is created, for whatever biologically important reason, it is not routinely excreted from the intestines. Instead it lodges in the numerous folds and crevices of this large organ and can remain there for many years. Over time, the mucoid plaque grows thicker, firmer, and more widespread—colonizing, as it were, the tennis court–sized interior of the intestines. Old feces adhere to the plaque and are not removed during a normal bowel motion. The plaque slows down intestinal action, both waste excretion and nutrient absorption. It can harbor pathogens, including bacteria and parasites, which actually hide underneath the plaque; it may block the normal outflow of lymph and mucin drainage. It binds toxins to itself and contributes to bowel toxicity, slowly emitting toxins into the bloodstream. Finally, plaque creates a friendly environment for disease, in some cases for colon cancer and gastric carcinomas. Gradually your immune system is weakened as the chronically toxic bowel environment destroys useful bacteria. Your liver becomes overburdened by the unprocessed intestinal toxins, and nerve meridian points in the intestines related to hundreds of other parts of the body are compromised. A toxic bowel results in toxic blood and lymph, toxic organs and cells, and toxic function. "
Lot's of people ask if colonics assist with weight loss. The colonic itself does not cause weight loss, but when the colon is cleaner, and the liver returns to proper function, weight loss is much easier.
Most of us have practiced poor eating habits over the course of our lives, so do not expect to come out squeaky clean after one colonic. The number of sessions is different for everyone, but several reading resources I've gone through suggest 12 sessions. Octavia never gave me a number. We discuss what's happening along my journey and we refer to what we do together as "work." It feels natural to call it this, and I had begun doing so without prompting from her. It really does feel like a joint effort.
Our sessions last 45 minutes. This may seem like a long time for some, but really, the time flies.
This is how it works. Water is flushed into the colon to reach the waste matter. The water goes through the large intestines, and when I feel the water pressure build and I am ready to let the water exit, Octavia instructed me to say "release", and then she turns a nozzle that backflows the water. Out comes the poop! I get to watch it all flow in a tube within the machine. Yes, I said, "get". Although it's kind of gross, I find it really interesting.
I have been a challenging case. Note: if you get a colonic and nothing comes out of you, this does not mean that you're squeaky clean. On the contrary, this indicates major constipation. I didn't have much success the first few tries. I found it incredibly frustrating and worrisome. I feared that I'd never get the results I wanted. This was not the case. Things began to improve and Octavia informed me that my body did not have enough "life force." I'll speak more on the concept of life force in a future post but for now let me say, that it's not a flimsy make-believe word. When you are getting a colonic, you are asking the body to expel of waste from an unnatural position. We don't naturally poop while lying on our backs.
Octavia explained how the colonic machine works and what it's capabilities are. She would fill me with warm water when she wanted to loosen the stool easily, but the stool wouldn't come out as formed. When she'd use cool water she was encouraging perastalsis, which is the flexing of intestinal muscles. When this was happening I saw fully formed stool flowing through or smaller pieces tumbling forward, always funnily reminding me of tumbleweeds in motion.
One argument you may hear in opposition of colonics, is the idea that colonics wear out our intestinal muscles, thereby preventing us from pooping on our own. Not true. During a colonic we are actually giving our colon a good workout! On that table you are taking your intestines and colon to the gym.
Colonics are not meant to be painful. The discomfort I've experienced has been minimal and has been from gas pockets or "gas families" as Octavia affectionately calls them. They can block the flow but they eventually exit the body and you can see it float through the tube.
Octavia massages my stomach or will concentrate on pressure points, that assist in loosening stool. At times she whips out a HUGE vibrating body massager, that she uses all over me.
What I love, love, love is when she is working the nozzles and even a portion of the plastic tube, and gently, softly, lowly, says with eyes closed, "go, colon, go." I find myself saying it with her...in my head. But when we're having success she wheels her sitting stool right by my side and as we watch the magic happen, she starts shouting gleefully, "GO, COLON, GO! GO, COLON, GO!" I join her and we look like spectators at a football game. It's awesome. We're such kids.
When we're finished on the table, I go to the bathroom and a lot more comes out. A lot! As I trot over to the toilet, she calmingly tells me to take my time. This was especially nice, the first time around, as I didn't feel pressured to keep her from waiting for me for too long. She does other things while I'm finishing and I call out to her when I'm done.
Her bathroom is comfortable, and smells nice. I never fear smelling someone else's poop. She keeps everything clean. She also has reading material in there, which makes me laugh. I'm now someone who reads while on the potty. She has info about her services, books on detox, and colon health.
When using the bathroom she has her clients use The Welles Step which is a raised platform of sorts, that is meant to be stepped on while you sit down to poop. You then bend over and hug your legs. This is not mandatory, but it is really helpful. You are essentially in a compromised squatting position which really helps eliminate waste with a lot of ease. I have yet to purchase one, but I intend to. It will help you whether you deal with constipation or not. Squatting is the most natural position for humans to eliminate waste.
After all is said and done, I sit down with Octavia and we chat over little cups of probiotics. It's very cute. She does encourage the use of probiotics, as colonics rid the body of bad bacteria and a small amount of the good. After I pay her for time well spent she walks me to my car and gives me a hug.
Octavia wants good things for her clients. She's been doing this for over 22 years, she's got a passion for it, and she really knows her stuff. She is on our side. She's in our corner. She has been available to me by phone, text, and email, and that is incredible. I doubt many people get this kind of service with their colonic practitioners, or their doctors for that matter.
For your convenience I have copied and pasted info from her website FAQ page, below. At the end of the post I have provided a link to Octavia's website. From there you can call or email her. Happy pooping!
1) Is Colon Hydrotherapy (aka Colonic Irrigation) SAFE? Yes. In Fact, with FDA approved colon hydrotherapy equipment, treatments are much safer than the common enema.
2) How does a colon hydrotherapy treatment compare to an enema?
An enema only reaches the rectum and lower part of the colon and, of
course, you must perform the enema yourself. With colon hydrotherapy,
the entire length of the colon (the large intestine – approximately 5
1/2 feet long) is reached. And this is performed by a highly trained
professionally certified therapist – so you are able to relax and let go
of stress and toxic buildup much easier than if you were trying to
administer your own enema. Colon hydrotherapy is many more times effective than an enema. According to Dr. Norman Walker “One colon irrigation is equal to 30 enemas”.
3) Do the treatments hurt? No, in fact many people report their colon hydrotherapy sessions as being both refreshing and relaxing.
4) How much of the intestines are actually cleansed during a colonic irrigation?
During a treatment it is possible for a professional therapist to
cleanse the full length of the colon. The small intestines are not
involved in the colonic irrigation, but rather in an herbal program that your therapist might recommend.
5) Should I see my medical doctor before my first colon hydrotherapy session?
If you have a concern about you health or the appropriateness of colon
hydrotherapy, you can consult a doctor. If you have been diagnosed with
diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease, severe, painful
hemorrhoids, or cancerous intestinal tumors, you would not be a
candidate for colon hydrotherapy. Professionally administered colon
hydrotherapy is very safe, and generally, if you are free from the above
sited conditions, a medical examination prior to therapy should not be
necessary. Besides, many medical doctors have never studied this
6) Is there any possibility of bacterial or viral contamination from prior use of the colon hydrotherapy equipment?
Modern equipment utilized pre-sterilized, disposable hoses and
speculums. These disposables are used only once during a single therapy
session. Properly administered, there is absolutely no danger of
7) How long does a treatment take? Actual treatment time is anywhere from 30-45 minutes, and you will be in and out of the office in one hour.
8) Does having a menstrual period at the time of a colon hydrotherapy have any effect on the treatment?
No, your flow will not interfere with the success of the treatment. In
fact it’s usually a great time to receive the treatment, since your body
is already cleansing.
9) What should I do to prepare for a colon hydrotherapy cleansing?
Refrain from eating or drinking one and one-half hours before your
session, be as relaxed as possible and try and maintain a positive
10) Will I experience any intestinal discomfort or fatigue after the cleansing?
Usually not, but since the cleansing process will stir up a lot of old
debris and toxins, you might experience some minor nausea or fatigue. If
any discomfort occurs, it is recommended to rest and apply a warm
heating pad to the abdomen. If you wish, a mild vegetable broth or
peppermint tea is usually soothing at this time. Any discomfort will
usually pass within 24 hours and is usually the result of the movement
of built up intestinal gases.
11) Do I need to take acidophilus after a colon cleansing because my intestinal flora has been washed out during the session?
After your session we offer you an oral “probiotic”, not because your
own flora has been washed out, but rather because we believe your
internal environment to be cleaner and more favorable for the good
bacteria to survive. It will almost always be recommended by your
therapist to continue this during your series of colonics. We also offer
rectal implants of good bacteria after your session.
12) Can I work directly after having a colon hydrotherapy? Certainly! You can work or just carry on with your day just as you would after having a regular bowel movement.
13) Is it necessary to prepare by taking “cleansing herbs” first, before my session?
You can, certainly, but also, your therapist can recommend a program
that is suited specifically for you and your health condition(s). You
are welcome to bring in any of these related products to your first
session to show your colon hydrotherapist. We have several different
cleanses in the office to choose from, depending on your body type and
what you are hoping to achieve.