Extreme beauty treatments – how far would you go?


By Fiona Tuck

We all want to look and feel our best but how far would you go in the quest to look good? It would appear that it is not just Hollywood celebrities going to extreme lengths to look good, some alternative practices are filtering onto our Australian shores.

Fiona Tuck, nutritional medicine practitioner,  explores the lengths some women (and men) are going to in order to look and feel good about themselves.


HCG injections are a controversial treatment promoted by a handful of alternative health practitioners for weight loss.

HCG is a “natural” hormone that the body makes during pregnancy. The claim is that by injecting the body with the HCG hormone you can lose a lot of weight.  This is the promise that has turned the HCG Diet (named after that hormone) into a popular diet craze for the rich and famous.

The HCG diet recommends a very low calories intake of just 500 calories a day for 8 weeks while taking HCG, either by getting an injection or by taking a “homeopathic” product, such as oral drops. The injectable drug is not approved as a weight loss product however the injections themselves are legal, as long as a registered health care professional gives them to you. HCG is a hormone treatment that may be used to treat fertility issues.

The diet involves daily injections of the HCG hormone which is thought to assist with promoting fat loss (over muscle loss) when the body is put into starvation mode. HCG is the hormone produced in pregnancy that is responsible for nausea and morning sickness so it stops you from feeling hungry so that you eat a minimum amount of calories per day.  Surprisingly not this helps you rapidly lose weight! Anyone that starves themselves will lose weight.

This diet has been a popular trend in Hollywood and it is starting to grow in popularity in Sydney however extreme caution should be warranted prior to starting any new diet. This diet tends to attract people that want to rapidly lose weight and it has a huge following with those obsessed about weight loss.

The body cannot simply get the nutrients it needs from consuming just 500 calories per day therefore nutrient deficiencies are likely to develop. It also doesn’t teach healthy eating habits therefore maintaining long-term weight loss is highly unlikely.

There are also the possible side effects of taking the HCG such as headaches, nausea, possible risk of blood clots. HCG is often abused in the anabolic steroid body building world as it is a pro testosterone drug and used to grow back the body parts that the steroids shrink.

Professional Verdict – Not a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off long term.



Unlike colonics, which involve litres of water being flushed through the colon multiple times, a coffee enema involves a one-time infusion of cooled freshly brewed organic coffee into the colon via the rectum. The coffee sits in the lower end of the colon until the person visits the toilet to release the held liquid. Advocates of coffee enemas believe that the coffee stimulates the liver and helps remove toxins in the body. Coffee enemas are believed to relieve symptoms such as muscle aches and pains and rashes. Some alternative practitioners recommend regular coffee enemas for detoxification to aid fluid retention, bloating and weight loss. These can either be performed in clinic or a DIY kit purchased for use at home with the guidance of a DIY video clip.

Coffee enemas are also being explored as an alternative treatment for cancer and a part of ‘Gerson therapy’. The effectiveness of these treatments is being studied by the by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), however there is NO scientific research to suggest that it can help in any way.

People with certain health conditions, such as diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, haemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, abdominal hernia, gastrointestinal cancer, recent colon surgery, and intestinal tumours should avoid coffee enemas or any form of colonics and are advised to stay away from these treatments.

Professional verdict – Some people may look at these treatments for quick weight loss as with all enemas and colonic irrigation a sense of cleanliness and lightness may be experienced after the treatment. Coffee enemas can be stimulating and cleansing and can result in dependence. Complications may include perforation of the wall of the intestines and electrolyte imbalance. The risk of side effects increase if coffee enemas are combined with extreme restriction of calories or fasting. Some people can get addicted to the sensation of cleanliness from the coffee enemas. Use with extreme caution always under medical supervision.


A grade celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow (the queen of absurd beauty treatments) are known to be advocates of steaming their lady parts at super hip and trendy day spas in the US. Vaginal steaming has long been a tradition in Korean spas which incorporates the use of herbs and warm steam to warm the vulva and uterus. A tradition thought to warm, cleanse and therefore promote reproductive health and wellbeing. Lady part steaming AKA the V steam involves sitting on a stool (which very much resembles a toilet seat) over herb infused steam.

A hole is strategically cut out in the middle of the seat for the steam to rise and work its magical healing powers. This trend is beginning to grow a following of vaginal steaming advocates in the quest for internal cleansing and hormonal de-bloating.

The warmth from the steam is thought to stimulate the blood circulation bringing new blood and nourishment to the area. Whilst the A graders may be looking for new ways to spend their wads of cash, vaginal steaming has no proven health benefits and may, in fact, be doing you more harm than good.

The body is naturally designed to clean itself internally and overheating the feminine internal body parts could result in an upset of the natural microflora and pH. Whilst full body steaming can aid sweating and therefore detoxification of the body, targeting specific areas of the reproductive system with warm steam has no beneficial scientific backing.

Professional verdict – The potential of warming this area is likely to do more harm than good particularly for those prone to bacterial and yeast infections. More of a fashion fad than a health benefit.

With a plethora of weird and wonderful treatments such as fat melting, fat freezing, and magical pills and potions it can be hard to know what to choose. Many of these celebrity endorsed treatments are just that, endorsed by smooth-skinned, svelte tanned bodies for astronomical fees.

If you think a couple of treatments will have you morphing into Gweneth or Kim then think again.  Research these new treatments carefully, understand the health risks vs benefits and when in doubt consult a qualified healthcare practitioner. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


About Fiona Tuck

fiona tuckFiona is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Skincare Expert, Forensic nutritionist and an accredited member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. Her in-depth knowledge and insight into future trends within the health industry has made her a sought-after expert.

Fiona believes that the majority of health conditions can be traced back to nutritional deficiencies. If these deficiencies are left undiagnosed they can eventually lead to disease within the body. Using a customised strategy for each individual, Fiona specialises in diagnosing and correcting nutritional deficiencies to assist her clients on the road to improved health. Fiona is very well respected in her field of skincare and nutrition and her clients, amongst many, include wellness coaches, celebrities and medical professionals.


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