Travel Journal

Detox on Koh Pha Ngan, 2/5-2/12

(Friday 11 February 2011) by Joanne Chang
I'm writing this from my very cozy, comfy, air-conditioned room at The Sanctuary resort on Koh Pha Ngan, an island nestled between Koh Samui and Koh Tao off the east coast of Thailand. This is my seventh night here, and it's been a really wonderful experience. Fasting and detoxing complete with colonics, yoga, pilates, daily spa treatments and the steamiest steam room you can imagine that smells of lemongrass, cinnamon and nutmeg...the next best thing to food when you're fasting. The fasting is intense, and I've opted for the 3.5 day "mini-fast" (others are doing up to 10 days) -- a full schedule from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. of clay/psyllium shakes (every 3 hours), herbs (every 3 hours), lymph flush, juice, vegetable broth and self-administered colonics, which is an exhausting emotional and physical experience of its own. Add in yoga and massage, and I barely venture off the Sanctuary grounds the first four days.

And I do feel cleaner. These clay/psyllium shakes pass through your body, the psyllium expanding while the clay absorbs toxins from the walls of your colon, and the colonics help pull all that crap out. My first colonic ever is self-administered, laying naked on a wooden board backed up to the toilet, with five gallons of warm water, coffee, and apple cider vinegar solution hanging above me. It is the most disgusting thing I've ever done. Yet, fascinating, and ultimately, satisfying. This clay shake thing really works. I also have some mental and emotional breakthroughs, which is most of my reason for coming here. They say that when you eat, your emotions are stored with the food. If the food becomes stored toxins, so do the emotions. When you detox, you release both. Not eating in general also allows us to gain perspective and clarity on things we struggle to contain. So during my second colonic I have an emotional breakdown and I start to tear apart the pain and grief and anger surrounding my failed marriage, and the scene of me sobbing naked on this board while shaking in laughter at the fact that I'm sobbing naked on this board, is priceless. I feel completely exhausted after that, and I wake up in tears the morning after, and then something clicks and like magic...poof! I get it. And I let go. "It" goes something like this: People are going to hurt you but you can't take it personally because what they do is not about you, it's just what they want to do. Done. Next!


After fasting I stick to raw fruits and veggies and my skin hasn't looked this good in years. I add becoming a nutritionist to my list of possibilities. There's a ridiculous amount of information about how to eat, when to eat, who should eat what based on earth signs or body types or blood types, food combining, healing foods, the right foods for different seasons. I'm curious and overwhelmed, where to start? Brian Peeters, I have questions for you (and I still want to eat those figs as big as my head)! I've also been off alcohol since my first full day in Bangkok which, shamefully, is the longest I've gone since I can't remember without having at least a glass of wine and I'm not even craving it, which is shocking. It's simply not a part of this least not yet (ahem).


Tomorrow I continue the journey...this one's going to be a doozy. I'm going to Wat Kow Tahm, a buddhist temple on the island, for a 10-day Vipassana. 10 days of silent meditation. Period. Sitting-standing-walking-eating-chore-doing-silent-meditation. No reading, writing or communication. I decided to do this in SF and ever since I arrived in Thailand I've been thinking of reasons to bail -- maybe I need to fast longer, maybe I need to go do this tantra workshop, maybe I need to experience a Full Moon Party, isn't that what the island's all about? But, in the end, it's time. I'm ready. And I'm surprisingly less nervous and more curious and excited about the experience than I expected. I think something big is about to happen. So awesome to have this time and opportunity, so thankful for the desire to grow.

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