The SPA Koh Chang - Enemas in style
For many years I pondered about fasting. An article in the Guardian about a detox spa in Koh Samui fascinated and disgusted me, it was talking about some obsessed (and often famous) people who fasted for 9 days and had their stomachs pumped out with 2 enemas daily, to have found a marble they had swallowed 20 years ago. They suffered but felt great after.
Being old, fat and suspicious of New Age, I still decided to go to Koh Chang's franchise of the Spa. First of all, I love Koh Chang, but will write about it another time. I love the little verandas in the field of Trat airport - pretty, breezy and clean. They are served by three flights a day by Bangkok Airways. Most 3 star plus hotels charge B650 to pick you up from the airport, however we discovered that if you book the Bangkok Airways own minibus - it will do the same job for around B400. With a family of 4 it saved us $30 each way. The ferry is B120 return, but it is included in the minibus fare and you sail for 30 minutes across to Koh Chang, a leafy, densely forested place with mountains, beaches and waterfalls. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the Spa and it is set away from the main tourist areas of White Sand Beach. It has beautiful gardens, a pretty swimming pool, a lake, mangroves and nicely built huts. After a discussion with Ni, one of the managers, I decided to buy a three-and-a-half day detox programme, I simply did not believe I could live a week without coffee.
If one expects fasting people to be plump, one is mistaken. They are skinny, pretty, young and highly professional. No hanging-out students, no victims of recent redundancies, or retirees escaping dull and pricey Colchester, very few plumpies of any kind. However there are many beautiful women in the middle, before or just after a romantic break up, usually initiated not by them. They are detoxifying in more ways than one, shedding tears in the process. A beautiful New York banker and a Dutch business woman wept about men..unfaithful, unappreciative, fickle... A tall skinny Serbian girl living in Dubai broke the weeping spell in a husky voice: "men are no good, I was dumped in Dubai by an Arab two years ago, burned everything he touched and now dance tango four times a week". It was funny and tears dried up.
Very few hotels make you bond in this way. The colema experience is that of an exclusive clique and the desire to get rid of toxins turns very practical in Spa Koh Chang. A day of juices or a few spoons of some yellow powder now and then do not reach the depths of one's mining pits. Here you dig to reach gold. I am aware that there is a strong movement (medical and non-medical) that says that enemas are bad for you. The anti-enema propaganda emphasises the fact that the human body has its own ways of getting rid of toxins, and of course this is true too.
However, I also sympathise with the pro-enema camp that says that nature did not originally supply numerous E-numbers in tins, pesticides on food, add-ons with a touch of atmospheric lead and car gases. The articles about penicillin-fed chickens, cement added to cattle food in order to make them heavier, shelves of plastic wrapped bits and pieces, however "fresh", chair-based office style followed by late night work - there is something inside that screams - get rid of it all.
I cannot make a scientific judgement, although I read all the literature very attentively. The spa sells a fat volume on nutrition and detoxification which is written in an archaic language but is fascinating for the dedicated. I am convinced that there is a mixture of truth and beliefs in this book. After all we believe that garlic and olive oil do us good, some plants have healing abilities and overeating is stupid.
Whatever they give you -the programme makes you feel great. You have some special drinks and supplements, a fresh coconut (water only), a carrot juice and two bowls of broth (some greenery boiled in water). You can eat zut-zut soup - a great spinach-like green puree, you can have a few more coconut water glasses, but those things that are not in the programme, you buy yourself. The SPA restaurant is superb. It is not surprising that it was chosen as one of the "50 Best Restaurants in the World". Food is absolutely delicious. Whatever you drink or eat - a "liver-flush" cocktail, a honey-based lemonade, steamed vegetables, the SPA green salad garlic dressing, own made pesto, the sweet potato and raisin puree.......I am writing this now and my mouth is watering.
In addition, the restaurant is not expensive, which is a very pleasant surprise, considering the captive audience. Dishes are between B90 and B200. Portions are on the largish side (a small salad is bigger than in many island restaurants, and certainly has a more delicious dressing), You are given gallons of free filtered water and if you have their mango softee with honey and cinnamon, you will come back here again and again.
Was it difficult to fast? Some people doing 7-day fasts complained about headaches, you are expected to be weaker than usual, bu overall there is not much to report. I suffered a little bit on the second day - was so tired that I went to bed at 7pm, but by the end of the third day my energy level was higher than any time in the last 15 years. My body buzzed with strength. Yoga and massage added to the bliss. I lost 3 kg and I am a convert. I will be there again soon.
Yoga is worth mentioning separately - read my entry about the Iyengar Yoga (http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/lenay/1/1256745009/tpod.html).
Below is the programme I chose to do (The text written by the Spa Koh Chang and no, they are not paying me to advertise them):
Semi-Fasting Program 5 nights 6 days: The Spa Resorts endeavor to provide the best place at the best price with the best results. Our goal is for you to leave on a better health path than when you arrived. We hope that you can get involved with the information we make available here and improve your health. Please understand, we are not offering any new idea or fad. These are all old fashioned "practices" we hope you can learn and practice, simply learning to take care of yourself. This is not difficult. In fact you really just have to show up and do the steps as recommended.
For those who do not have enough time or have not prepared properly by doing a pre-cleanse (liver flush fast) for our 7 day fast. An easy & simple introduction to fasting. If you wish, you can proceed after the first 3 days onto our first timer program. We recommended a MINIMUM 5 night stay.
F1 Fasting Program: Semi-Fasting Program 5 Days 6 Nights
Room Type: Oriental Cottage 1 B23,500; Oriental Cottage 2 B39,500; Hill Cottage 1 B31,500; Hill Cottage 2 B45,500. Room rates are valid from now till 31 October, 2010.
WHAT'S INCLUDED in our program...
Accommodation Hill cottage type 5 nights or a single stay in an
Free round trip transfer: Ferry Pier/Resort
Welcome fruit and drink
Wooden boat trip at Salak-Kok Bay (if available)
1 Hour consultation about your health and detoxification program
5 Alkaline forming food meals
Massage Coupon 2,500 baht
3 Yoga sessions
3 Herbal steam room
3 Ampugu abdominal massage
THE SEMI FAST 3.5 DAYS PROGRAM
Dr Jensen's videos on cleansing & nutrition
Daily intestinal cleansers & herbal nutrition tablets (20 caps per day)
3 specially prepared Detox drinks daily
1 flora grow capsule daily
Instruction on how to do a Colema board colon cleanse
Once a day colon cleansing using our "Colema board" enema system
Daily: 2 liver flush drinks, 2 veggie broth soups, 1 carrot juice and
1 coconut water
Your own personal Colema tip + lubricating gel
A special replacement lactobactiria/acidophilus implant enema to
break the fast
2 flora grow lactobactiria/acidophilus drinks also to assist breaking the fast
A packet of natural herbal laxative tea
Filtered water in Colema's & for drinking