Spa trots out “best’ detox treatment

PHUKET: A consortium of international investors known as the Gastro Group has announced a 1.5-billion-baht investment in what is being billed as the world’s first “detoxotel” – a 150-room facility specializing in state-of-the-art detoxification treatments.

Construction of the facility, which will be on a 15-rai site coastal site, the location of which is currently being kept secret, is scheduled to get underway early next month and should be completed by the beginning of the next high season, the developers say.

A spokesman for the consortium, Dr Somchai Hongnamsakul of Johns Hopkins University, told a press conference yesterday that the facility would be the first of its kind anywhere in the world to offer the group’s patented SID regimen. SID, he explained, stands for “self-induced diarrhea”.

Explaining the new therapy, Dr Somchai said, “The word ‘detoxification’ is widely used these days, but much misunderstood. Some spa treatments touted as detoxifiers, such as aromatherapy and oil massage, actually have no clinically proven detoxifying effect whatsoever.

“Diarrhea, on the other hand, is nature’s most potent detoxification strategy. Its purgative effects on the human system are indisputable,” he said.

“Induced diarrhea can also be an effective tool for weight loss. It is our considered belief that it may also be a useful in treating people who exhibit anal-retentive behavior. Right now we can see no end to the number of uses of the therapy,” he said.

Guests staying at the facility will be treated for periods ranging from three days to two weeks, he said. After registering, each guest will undergo comprehensive tests to determine which of many known diarrhea-causing bacteria matches the patient’s needs, and the precise dosage.

The detox begins when the bacteria begin to multiply in the digestive tract and the body naturally tries to expel them, he explained.

“We have an effective biological agent for just about anyone, including the most well-traveled people who have already become immune to the bacteria responsible for Montezuma’s Revenge, Bangkok Belly and many other strains known to cause diarrhea.

“Best of all, we will be able to administer effective antibiotics for any of the strains we use, allowing us to bring the treatment to an end in a matter of hours, if necessary,” he said.

Dr Somchai admitted that an aggressive public relations campaign would be needed to overcome negative preconceptions about diarrhea, especially when the word “travel” is included in the equation.

“We understand that many people harbor negative ideas about diarrhea, but our aim is to change that. When people see just how luxurious our open-plan bathroom designs are, with marble tiles, built-in plasma screen TV connected to 57 cable channels, and even a mini-bar, they’ll soon come to realize that a week with diarrhea can actually be a enjoyable experience,” he said.

He said that SID is a far more effective than other detox strategies, such as fasting.

“Fasting can detoxify the system, but it takes too long – and most people just don’t have the required self-control to refrain from food for that long, which, in many cases, is why they need detox in the first place.

“Unlike at fasting resorts, which charge guests hundreds of dollars a day without having to provide them with meals, our facility guests will allow guests to eat as much as they want – it won’t make any difference.

“They will be able to order from room service, with our discreet staff serving them on specially-designed toilet serving trolleys. And our cuisine will be second to none. We plan to bring in some of the world’s top chefs from Europe,” he added.

Guests at the facility will be monitored regularly by licensed physicians to ensure they do not suffer from dehydration or other dangerous side effects.

A spokesperson for the Thai Association of Tourism said the existence on the island of such a novel treatment concept would solidify Phuket’s position on the global health tourism map.

“It will follow perfectly from Thailand’s hosting of the 2nd World Toilet Expo, to be held in Bangkok this November. We intend to set up a booth during the expo to show the world just what a luxurious experience detoxification can be,” she said.

Phuket News
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