Headaches, backache, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and bad breath are some of the conditions that can be alleviated by colonic hydrotherapy (colonics) – the gentle irrigation of the colon, to cleanse it of health-depleting accumulations and toxins.
Its roots are in Ancient Greece: intestinal cleansing appears in the world’s oldest preserved medical document, the 110-page Ebers Papyrus. In 20th century Britain, the therapy’s popularity went through peaks and troughs, but media reports that Princess Diana was a fan sparked a resurgence.
Naturopath and nutritionist Raaul Cohen has more than 20 years’ experience as a qualified colonic hydrotherapist, and claims he’s seen some excellent results. His clinic is discreetly located within the Iberostar Suites Hotel Jardin del Sol in Costa de la Calma, where some of his clients stay for his week-long Dynamic Detox Programme, including colonics.
With a Spanish mother and French father, Raaul was born and lived in France, then Israel and the UK. He studied medicine for four years at London’s Royal Free Hospital then, favouring the holistic approach, switched to alternative medicine. He gained his BSc in microbiology (London University), a diploma in naturopathy (Westminster University), and membership of the Association and Register of Colon Hydrotherapists (UK) and the British Complementary Medicine Association.
Raaul could be the poster boy for colonics: trim, glowing with health, and a youthful-looking 50 years old. He’s animated in that Mediterranean way, charming, discreet, and has a passion: “I love helping people with their problems.”
His former Wellbeck Clinic in London and detox breaks at a Scottish country house hotel gained him a loyal international clientele and positive media coverage. He featured in “Ruby’s Health Quest” (with Ruby Wax) on BBC TV, and in UK publications including Vogue, The Sunday Times, and GQ Active.
In the late ’90s, a snatched short break introduced Raaul to Mallorca: “I immediately felt a connection to the island and decided to move here.” He believed the climate was more beneficial for detoxing and, in March 2001, opened his spotless clinic, offering alternative therapies, colonics, and residential/non-residential detox programmes. Almost a third of his former London clinic clients still use his services.
I’m doing the shorter detox at home, slavishly preparing and consuming fresh organic vegetable juices (beetroot, celery, carrot), light lunches, home-made vegetable broth, distilled water, Raaul’s “black powder” herbal cleansing drinks, and a sprinkling of vitamin and mineral supplements (including his own Tonic Herb capsules). I buy so many carrots that people think we’ve acquired a donkey! Somehow, I still find time to worry about my first colonic . . .
At the clinic, there’s an initial consultation, discussing the health and lifestyle questionnaire I’ve completed. How often do I go to the loo? “Not often enough,” Raaul says. Few people do, apparently. After I’ve visited the bathroom, stripped off and donned a disposable blue gown, my blood pressure and weight are recorded. Comfortably under the covers on the treatment couch, I listen to Raaul’s thorough explanation of the procedure. The equipment looks reassuringly low-tech: a wall-mounted tank, into which seven gallons of body-temperature water are fed via two filter units. In all, a mind-boggling fourteen gallons (almost 64 litres) will be used.
The warmed metal speculum is well-lubricated and painlessly inserted in moments. Two opaque tubes are attached to the speculum: one delivers water from the tank; the other feeds outgoing matter into the hotel’s own bowels. “Have you seen my video?” Raaul beams, indicating a short perspex viewing section in the outgoing tube. He’s seen all manner of “stuff” over the years – including, once, a gold ring! I opt for the alternative viewing: a slanting mirror high on the wall reflects a view of gleaming Sunseekers way below on the Med.
The water begins to flow in and, for brief intervals, is retained by the temporary closure of the exit tube. When I begin to feel full, I breathe in and out deeply – Raaul’s cue to release the liquid. I risk a glimpse at the perspex tube and become fascinated by what’s coming out. Raaul identifies that I don’t chew my food enough: “Chew, chew, chew!” is one of his mantras.
Twice, during the initial tankful of water, Raaul pours a liquid supplement into a small funnel (linked to the ‘in’ tube). The first is herbal: alfalfa tops, fennel seeds, catmint, wild yam and camomile brewed in water overnight. The other, derived from linseeds and cannabis seeds. During the second tankful, he adds an appropriate liquid “implant”: organic coffee (detoxifying), bentonite clay (mucus-removing), or slippery elm (for its protective properties). Each beneficial liquid is retained for two minutes.
He pours aromatherapy oil onto my tummy, beginning a pleasant massage which skilfully helps things along. Self-massage (“always in a clockwise direction”) is recommended during future bathroom visits. It all takes around 45 minutes, is painless, and without odours, leaks or – surprisingly – embarrassment. I feel relieved . . . on every level. After a bathroom visit, a glass of distilled water, and acidophilus supplement (“to help replace good bacteria”), I leave – to chat with another of Raaul’s clients.
Alice holidays here annually for the Dynamic Detox Programme: “I had a host of health concerns that no doctor could reach,” she says. “During my extensive travels, I’d been researching the ultimate detox for body, mind and spirit. Then, around a decade ago, I read an article about Raaul in Tatler, and sought him out. I treat this as a necessary pause in my incredibly busy life . . . my MOT. It’s a week of serious detoxing, but my body responds well and I’m in a safe place, with lots of privacy. I feel blessed that Raaul is on our doorstep.”
And so do I. Post-detox, I feel mentally sharper, cleaner inside, and my weight’s down to what it was a decade ago. I’m impressed. And with Raaul’s invaluable post-programme lifestyle recommendations and – yes – even the occasional colonic, I intend to stay that way.
Raaul Cohen BSc MACH RT BCMA BCN
Iberostar Suites Hotel Jardin del Sol
07180 Costa de la Calma
Tel: +34 971 70 17 08