Day five of my stay at Moinhos Velhos. Fourth day without solid food. I didn't sleep well and woke feeling a bit dizzy but a good yoga session with Sita sorted me out. Aches and pains have lessened off (I forgot to say I've had raging aches in my joints for the last few days). Hungry? Maybe a little bit at night but nothing to write home about. One of the retreaters has come off the fast (she'd been fasting before she came so enough is enough) and is eating 'normal' food (tucked away in the living room) but it doesn't remotely bother me.
So, remember when I said you can't be squeamish about bodily functions on detox? Well, that's down to the colon cleansing. Here they use a system called the Clysmatic - a self-administered cleansing procedure for the large intestine. Now, I have a bit of an issue with colonics - the first time I had one it was on the recommendation of a friend who raved about them. 'You'll feel fabulous,' she said. 'So clear and clean and just wonderful.' Unfortunately I felt like...well...shit. I could barely get up the energy to walk away from the clinic and I didn't feel right for weeks (quite apart from not having a normal crap for absolutely ages). But the self-administered ones I've used on detox retreats are way more gentle and, the more I do these detoxes, the more I've come to realise that they really do make life a lot easier. I've detoxed with and without these things and, trust me, life is far more pleasant when you use them - less headaches, more energy. The theory behind it goes that, when you detox, all kinds of toxic gunk gets offloaded into the guts and, truly, do you really want that hanging around for days on end? Bear in mind how constipated the average bod is - how many of you have more than one bowel movement a day? Come on, own up!
Anyhow, that's the theory. Of course some people say that there is absolutely no reason to cleanse the colon. Then again, the same people would probably say there is no reason to detox in the first place - that our bodies can do it perfectly well on their own. That's true, of course. The body has a perfectly good self-detoxification system - lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, skin... But sadly we no longer live in a world where we can eat clean food, drink clean water, breathe clean air.
Meanwhile, back in my little bathroom at MV, I've been grappling with the Clysmatic. Actually it's pretty simple - though, having said that, I've managed to flood my bathroom twice. You fill up a container that's mounted on the wall above the loo. Then you attach the tube that comes out of the bottom of the container to a contraption that fits around the seat of the loo, pop a rectal tube (please do look away at this point if you can't handle this kind of detail) on the metal tube and give it a good libation of Vaseline. Then you (carefully) ease yourself onto the tube (yup, it goes about 3-5cm into your arse) and get comfy. Open up a valve in the upper tube and the water will start to flow up your bum and into the intestines. You keep your rectum squeezed tight until you feel the pressure build up and then you simply let go. The tube stays in all the time and, truly, it's simplicity itself. The whole thing takes about quarter of an hour and I have been using the time to catch up on texts. So, if you've had a text from me in the last few days...
So, we've been doing these twice a day and even those who were all 'Eeewww, I don't want to talk about it' are now regailing everyone round the table with tales from the coal face.
The upshot is that I'm feeling a lot lighter (quite literally - 2kg if you were wondering, Rachel!) and a shedload better. My skin is looking clearer and my eyes are brighter. After yesterday's emotional splurge, I've been mulling over a lot of things, trying to figure out why I make everything so damn hard for myself. Time for some serious releasing of all my old shit - not just physically but metaphorically too.
If you made it this far, well done! Here's a nice picture of flowers as a reward.
Full report coming on Queen of Retreats when I get back. You can also read reports of other detoxes on the site here.