We spoke with Stacey Smith, owner of Vitalife Digestive Wellness Clinic, Canada’s largest colon cleanse and colon hydrotherapy clinic, located in downtown Toronto. We learned the story behind Stacey’s first colonic, why all of the clinic’s therapists are Registered Holistic Nutritionists, and how people react when they find out what she does for a living.
Do our colons really need to be cleaned?
If we lived in a perfect world, no. The colon is designed to be self-cleansing. But with the overload of toxins in our food, the air, and the things we put on our skin, it really is a must! The colon is one of the most important ways our bodies detox themselves. When the colon isn’t cleansed it puts more strain on the other elimination organs as well – liver, kidneys, skin etc. So in cleansing the colon you are helping to cleanse the entire body.
Did our great grandparents do colon hydrotherapy, or is this a new trend?
Colon Cleansing has existed for thousands of years! It is newer in North America – we have definitely been behind the times in that sense.
What was your first colon hydrotherapy session like?
I got my first colonic for a funny reason! I heard that you could lose 15lbs in a day by getting them, so I thought, “perfect, sign me up”! I didn’t actually lose 15lbs (I did lose a few though!), but I’d had terrible digestion my entire life (constipation and bloating). I had always been that way so I considered it normal for me. I also had hormonal issues as well as problems with acne. When I started getting colonics my digestive system became very regular. My hormonal issues were corrected and my skin cleared up. I didn’t know at the time that these things were all related. I was nervous before my first session but it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. The first couple of sessions weren’t that successful for me actually – but my therapist convinced me to keep going with them – and I’m glad she did. After a few sessions I really started to feel amazing and energized afterwards. They truly have been life changing for me.
Do you get up in the morning excited for work?
I do! I love what I do! I feel very fortunate to be able to help people everyday – and our clients are the best!
What is a typical reaction when people ask about what you do? Are they grossed out?
I get mixed reactions for sure! Some people are a little uncomfortable when they hear what I do. For the most part though, people are intrigued! I would say about 90% of the time, people will ask me questions about a health or digestive issue they’re having.
This isn’t an obvious career choice. How did you get into this industry?
I started getting colonics myself about 13 years ago, and they completely changed my life! I wanted to be able to help other people the way that I was helped. To be able to share what I know and help people is a really incredible feeling.
What training + qualifications do you need in your line of work?
Our clinic is unique in that all of our therapists have to be Registered as a Holistic Nutritionist first. We then do all of our colonics training in-house.
Why Holistic Nutritionists?
Nutrition training is a lot more intense than most people realize (myself included before I studied it!). We really want our clients to get the best care possible – and with our extensive knowledge of the body’s digestive system and detoxification pathways we are able to also educate our clients on how to maintain great health. We want long-term benefits for our clients – we love to share from our knowledge and experience. And, proper nutrition really is the foundation of anything health-related.
Does it hurt?
It doesn’t hurt at all. It’s an odd feeling that takes some getting used to – you basically feel like you have to go to the bathroom but you cant go. There may be occasional mild cramping throughout the session, similar to a diarrhea feeling but the feeling comes and goes. Your therapist will do some abdominal massage throughout the session to ease that feeling. That being said, some people experience no cramping at all.
Does it stink?
It doesn’t! The tubing for the waste is enclosed so there is no odor at all. AND the fun part? The tubing is clear – so you can actually see the waste that is being removed from your body. Which is great as your therapist can point out different things- such as if we see parasites or candida for example. This is helpful also as many times this is at the root of someone’s digestive issue. If we see these things then we can address any issues and see if that clears things up for you.
Is it messy?
Not at all! The tubing for the waste is all enclosed.
Do you use regular drinking coffee beans for a coffee enema?
We don’t. We use a coffee specifically made for coffee enemas – it is 100% organic and higher in caffeine and palmitic acid, which increases its ability to remove toxins from the liver. Both colonics and coffee enemas have so many benefits, but whereas colonics in essence cleanse the entire body – coffee enemas are very specific to the liver.
Does word of mouth marketing work for you, or do people keep this a secret?
It depends on the person! A lot of clients will tell everyone they know because they’re so pleased with how colonics have helped them and want their friends and family to experience the same benefits. I think there is much less stigma attached to it than there used to be. Colonics are very mainstream now – they even mention them a lot in movies and tv shows, which is great! It helps to raise awareness. This is fantastic as it is such a natural method of helping people. Most of our clients say to us, “I wish I’d heard about these sooner”!