As much as I love carrying out consultations and treatments in my Digestive Health and Gut Disorders clinic, I do relish the opportunity to change out of my clinic whites from time to time, put on some ‘proper’ clothes and socialise. One such opportunity occurred at the end of last month when I attended the Colon Hydrotherapy International Congress (CHIC) at the The Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham.
This is the second year for this particular conference, and it’s a fantastic meeting of minds from the fields of both conventional and complementary medicine, as well as representatives from a range of disciplines in the natural health community. In addition to colon hydrotherapists and health business owners like myself, there were nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, general practitioners, physiotherapists and occupational therapists in attendance.
In the past, the colonic associations have always held their conferences separately but in the spirit of mutual trust, respect and understanding it was decided to merge the conferences, which is how the first CHIC came about last year. It was a great success, and that’s why all involved – and some others besides – came back for more this year.
When I sat on the committee for the Association of Registered Colon Hydrotherapists (ARCH), I organised their annual conference for six years, and it always gave me a great buzz to take bookings, manage and coordinate the exhibitors and speakers, and watch how everyone enjoyed it on the day. These days, I get the same kind of buzz from attending events of this kind, and CHIC was no different. After all, you can’t beat mixing with like-minded people and talking about bowels and poo! What’s not to like?
I was able to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a year, enjoyed a lovely lunch, and visited some excellent exhibitors – there were about 14 of them, including Herbal Apothecary from Whitby who provide herbal tinctures used by colon hydrotherapists for implants, Robusta Coffee who provide organic, raw coffee also used by colon hydrotherapists for coffee implants, Lepicol with their psyllium husk fibre products, and Practitioner Supplies who distribute speculums, tubing and all manner of other important supplies that colon hydrotherapists need to perform their work. All delegates received a full-size pot of Just For Tummies Digestive Enzymes in their goody bags, so I hope that these highly popular and widely recommended supplements from my product range, combined with the new knowledge acquired from their peers and the guest speakers at the event, will serve to optimise the digestive health of all those who received them.
There was a fantastic line-up of speakers at the event. I was particularly interested in the talk given by Dr Apelles Econs, who studied medicine at Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London and became a member of the British Society of Ecological Medicine. He specialises in chronic fatigue conditions and allergies, and helping people whose health has been affected by chemical emissions in the environment including food, water and air. I liked his style of delivery. He’s Greek but he reminded me of one of my mentors, Dr. Harald Stossier, Director of the prestigious VivaMayr Clinic in Austria. He didn’t waffle and was quite direct. He wasn’t afraid to tell an audience of natural health practitioners that that half of them were retaining fluid and needed to lose weight. He talked about how much our environment has changed in the past hundred years and how modern living is poisoning us.
I also enjoyed the talk given by Jen Lodge, a clinical specialist bowel nurse, dealing with bowel health, community urology and colorectal services at St Mary’s Hospital in Leeds. She helps people manage their dysfunctional bowels, dealing with those who have constipation and diarrhoea, but also those that have colostomy and ileostomy bags. She was very engaging to listen to, her caring, personable and down to earth nature coming across in her delivery. She talked about what happens when our bowels start to go wrong, especially when it comes to constipation. She stressed the importance of the correct sitting position on the loo – feet on tip toe (if you have no step), elbows on knees and lean forward. This relaxes the rectum and applies pressure to the pelvic floor to help push stool along and out.
It was a fantastic day of learning from and sharing experiences with people with similar values and interests, with the chance to talk (and talk, and talk some more!) about topics close to my heart. I would like to say a big thank you to Gillian Edwards of ARCH, Ian MacDougall of RICTAT, Elaine Wilson of IPPCH and Ian Armstrong of I-ACT for organising what was a wonderful conference. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to put the world of digestive health to rights!