My curiosity got the best of me when a friend of mine started working as an esthetician at Aqua Serene Wellness in Carmel. I found out that one of their services was colon hydrotherapy, so naturally I Googled myself down into a dark hole of hilarious horror stories.
But then I met Cindy Aguirre, the owner of Aqua Serene Wellness, and she made colonics sound not so taboo and scary. Before I knew it, I was scheduled for my first colonic with a follow-up session 24 hours later. I’ve tried other types of alternative therapies and medicines in the past, so why not give this one a whirl?
Before your colonic, Cindy advises you to drink plenty of water and not to eat within two hours of your session. This includes coffee and carbonated beverages. I showed up at the office and filled out a lengthy medical questionnaire before my consultation. Cindy then took me back to the room to explain the process and how to use the machine. Not to be punny, but Cindy really knows her sh*t thanks to being an I-ACT Certified Colon Hydrotherapist, certified by Lifestream Colon Hydrotherapy Institute. She also studied digestive wellness at the Loomis Institute of Enzyme Nutrition, receiving her diploma as a Loomis Digestive Health Specialist.
So what actually happens during a treatment? Basically, there’s a small nozzle that you insert (as Cindy says, “plug yourself in!”) which provides a gentle flow of purified, body temperature water into your colon. This will exercise your colon, slowly soaking the built-up fecal matter inside while stimulating peristalsis (muscle contractions in your intestines that will help move the contents out). The water comes in and then you expel it, and if you want you can watch the whole process through a tube in front of you to see what comes out. I’ll admit it was quite gratifying seeing the fruits of my labor through that tube over the course of 30 minutes.
It was a little intimidating the first time—after Cindy explains what to do, she leaves the room and won’t come back unless you ring the doorbell for assistance. Aqua Serene Wellness has an open system, which means Cindy is there to teach you and check on you, but you’re in control of the process. A closed system is therapist-assisted the entire time.
I “plugged myself in” and got the hang of it fairly quickly—I let the water fill up inside of me and then released it when I felt full. There were a couple times during the process where I experienced mild cramping, but it would come and go in waves, never sticking around for long. Before I knew it, the colonic was over, and I was relieved that it was nothing like the horrific experiences I had read about online.
“I’ll admit it was quite gratifying seeing the fruits of my labor through that tube over the course of 30 minutes.”
Cindy’s Journey into Colon Hydrotherapy
So how did Cindy get into the world of colon hydrotherapy? Cindy was a massage therapist who played in a women’s amateur soccer league. At the age of 42, she got taken out while playing and hurt her ribs. She was rushed to the hospital when they thought she ruptured her spleen, but instead they found a huge tumor wrapped around her appendix growing back into her colon. She had surgery to get part of her intestines removed which led to digestion problems—either being constipated for days on end or having food go right through her. This began her search for healing through Eastern medicine.
She had a friend in California who recommended colon hydrotherapy, so she started seeing someone every five to six weeks which helped digestive issues. Eventually, she was offered a job there, so she went to get certified, while also going back to school to become an esthetician in order to combine all the modalities she loved under one roof. And that’s how Aqua Serene Wellness came to be.
Why You (Might) Need a Colonic
The number one reason people come in for colon hydrotherapy is because of constipation. “My average client is a woman around 40 years old,” Cindy said. “I have a lot of men clients as well, but it seems that the 40-year-old woman is stressed out, busy, and can’t poop. Stress is the number one cause of constipation.”
Cindy also sees clients who are looking to reset their gut. She gets recommended by practitioners and nutritionists when people want to change their lifestyle or after a round of antibiotics. If someone is doing a parasite cleanse, a liver or gallbladder flush, or a 21-day detox, they’ll come in for a colonic to help the process. She also has women who come in at the end of their menstrual cycle to get rid of bloating.
It all comes down to gut health. Did you know that your gut health can even impact your hormones? This includes your thyroid, estrogen, and melatonin, which can throw everything out of whack if it’s not functioning properly. If you’re feeling sluggish, your gut health might be to blame. Getting a colon cleanse can help reset your body by getting ready of stagnant toxins and also hydrate you along the way. If your colon isn’t working like it should, a colonic will give it the exercise it needs.
What Do You Say to the Naysayers?
As with any form of “alternative” medicine, there are people who say colonics are unnecessary and that your body will function how it’s supposed to on its own. But the machine used in colon hydrotherapy is a medical device governed by the FDA. Cindy must have a prescription to buy the equipment and then needs to get it renewed annually to buy the nozzles.
Will it upset the microbiome in your colon? Yes, briefly, but that’s why you’re given probiotics after your session. During a colonic, you’re getting rid of both good and bad bacteria—just like when you have a bowel movement.
“There’s a fear because it’s not mainstream, at least in this state,” Cindy said. “On the east and west coast it’s not a big deal, but here it’s pretty alternative.”
If you’ve ever been curious about colonics, I highly recommend meeting Cindy and learning more. “There’s a place for colonics in most people’s lives! Don’t be afraid, it’s easy and it’s self-administered so you’re in control. Anybody is welcome to come in, ask questions, and see what it’s all about.”
Rachel Hickey is one of Indy Maven’s (adventurous) regular contributors.