Photo: Ginger tea at the Wellness Centre.

A 7-day detox on Ko Pha Ngan

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I burst into bitter tears the evening we arrive, a day of eating raw food behind me. I want a hot shower, a pina colada at sunset and white-linen sheets to snooze under – a blissful week of indulgence. But the bathroom door is jammed open to the menacing jungle, a toad hopping by is eyeing me as I douse myself in cold water and I won’t be eating solid food for the next seven days.





My man is to blame. A seven-day fast and detoxification programme – all the rage in the Gulf of Thailand - will make an offbeat holiday, he says. I’ve relented and so we’re here at the Sanctuary, a back-to-nature resort on glorious Ko Pha Ngan. At least he too is now having second thoughts about how great it might be to discover a lost marble from childhood buried in his colon. For this is what we are here for: a week of twice-daily colonic irrigation sessions to help detoxify our bodies after 30 years of not-always pure living.

Listen to your body - says Moon. Photo taken in or around A 7-day detox on Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand by Stuart McDonald.

Listen to your body - says Moon. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Best to eat raw foods for a few days beforehand, explains Moon, the radiant Wellness Centre manager who is his own best advertisement. But after just one day of crunchy vegies we’ve passed a pH test to show our bodies are up to enduring the battle ahead.

Day one dawns. Moon escorts us to one of the colonic rooms and explains how a baffling array of tubes, olive oil, toilet paper, hoses and a very, very big bucket of organic coffee swaying above us will work. Unlike many similar setups in the west, sessions here are unsupervised. The first is awkward, but the waft of incense and the soothing strains of Norah Jones help to calm the feeling that this may be the wackiest thing since float tanks.

The second session is easier and from then on they’re almost enjoyable. Discussing progress with the other half-dozen fasters around our bowls of vegetable broth each evening becomes de rigeuer. Most awful however is swallowing down the dozens of herbal capsules and the four daily "shakes": a blend of psyllium husk, clay and watermelon juice that turns to pink glue if not downed within a few seconds. The psyllium explodes to forty times its size to keep stomachs full, and indeed for the first three days I’m too stuffed to think ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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