colonic irrigation

Colonic irrigation: Would you?

Ever thought of colonic irrigation? Whilst many would run a mile, there are others that swear by it as a cure for all sorts of modern illness.

One of our team tells all about her trip to a clear system.

Christmas is generally about excess and even the most disciplined of us can’t resist an extra mince pie or drink at the Christmas party. It was with this in mind that I headed off to Anne McDevitt’s clinic in Dublin to embark on ‘project pretox’.

As consulting naturopath Stephen Langley says, “Doing a pretox is like putting money in the bank” – it creates reserves that your body can draw on when it is depleted. Anne McDevitt’s clinic provides laser, advanced skincare and holistic wellness treatments and has been doing so since 1983. It has an unrivalled reputation and the feeling that you get when you walk in is of an efficient lab-type operation. No fluffy beauty – just dedicated professionals who care about the business of being healthy and helping clients to look their best.


My visit started with a consultation with naturopath Stephen, who took a thorough history my physical state covering everything from mood to diet and sleep. He then studied my irises, which is the colourful part of the eye that surrounds your pupil. By analysing the iris, practitioners can assess a person’s level of health and specific areas of nutritional deficiency can be identified.

Adrenal damage

This allows appropriate remedies to be recommended. Stephen identified some adrenal damage, which is generally a result of too much stress. He explained that our adrenal glands – which monitor stress response – become overworked and eventually exhausted from constant stress. You can then develop adrenal fatigue, which includes many symptoms including weight gain and mood swings. So it’s really important to learn to manage stress and support your body through good food, exercise and sleep.

Blood analysis

Next stop was my blood. I’d heard about the Blood Type diet but had never paid much attention, thinking it was another fad diet. Stephen explained that your blood is you genetic blueprint and that your blood type determines how well your body is able to assimilate different foods. Because we don’t take our blood types into account when we eat, we often eat foods that don’t serve us and our bodies struggle to cope with – making us overweight and unwell. Stephen believes that any assessment of a person’s overall health should start with blood type, because it tell you a lot about that person.

Bespoke treatment

From a naturopathic point of view, the problem with mainstream medicine is that it takes a ‘one shoe fits all approach’. Naturopaths believe that you should treat the person, not the illness and this sums up the approach that the fantastic professionals at Anne McDevitt take.

Once I was thoroughly assessed, an eating plan was devised and it was recommended I undergo a series of three colonics over a period of seven days. Mmm? I’d read up about this therapy and the world seemed to be clearly divided into two camps: 1)“Oh my God, it makes you feel amazing” and 2) “Never in a million years.” I had fallen into the latter, but had become sufficiently curious to give it a go. Plus I wanted to give my body a complete ‘reboot’ and from talking to Stephen, this seemed like a good way to do it.

The colonic

So, having delayed it for as long as possible, I was introduced to Sigita the colon hydrotherapist. A picture of health and vitality, the lovely Sigita talked me through what was about to happen. The equipment used is state-of-the-art and Sigita was meticulous about preserving my modesty and making me feel comfortable. Of course you feel a little awkward at first, but in no time Sigita had me chatting away as if this were the most normal thing in the world.

And that’s the whole point of colonic irrigation. If the body were truly in balance, elimination would take place after every meal. But because we all suffer from ‘hurry sickness’ and have less than ideal eating habits it doesn’t work like this. When the elimination process slows down for any reason toxins are reabsorbed into the body, so most people leading a typical western lifestyle need a helping hand from time to time.

The results

I felt completely exhausted after my first session, which Sigita had warned me about. I went home and straight to bed but had a restless night (which probably had more to do with my four year-old). The second session felt much more natural and I left feeling 10kgs lighter and bursting with energy. By the third session I could see a visible difference in my skin and eyes (both clearer and brighter) plus my tummy was completely flat – the first time in a very long time! Two weeks on, I feel much more energetic and am trying to follow all Stephen and Sigita’s good advice. So far, so good. My metaphorical health bank is cashed up and I’m ready to take on the party season!

And if that all sounds a bit too much – try our pre-Christmas detox instead!

More like this:

How to be gluten free
Veganism changed my life
Cut the crap and embrace healthy eating

Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.


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Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….