Liquid Fasting, Colonics + Spiritual Awakenings: The 5 Days I Spent At The World-Renowned We Care Spa

WHEN I FIRST LEARNED I’d be spending five nights / six days at the legendary We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, California, I knew very little about what to expect other than it seemed to be on the tip of every tongue in LA’s underground wellness scene (as if it were a part of a real-life Reddit thread). “Liquid fasting,” “colonics,” and “checkout salad” were all words that flew by me at rapid speed, so I knew I was in for a writable experience, no matter which way it went.

What I discovered was that celebrities, wellness enthusiasts, and people in need of a profound life change have been “in the know” about We Care since its inception in 1986. As one of the health spa OGs—offering a detox protocol you’ve definitely never seen performed anywhere else at such a high caliber—it is no wonder that We Care Spa has made it onto several lists for “Best Detox Spas in the US”…or even the world.

I’m going to tell you absolutely everything shortly, but note that colonics will be mentioned repeatedly (in the best way possible)!

An Oasis In The Middle Of The Desert

With over 20 acres of land, juxtaposed against a mountain-laden backdrop, We Care sits smack dab in the middle of Desert Hot Springs, which is not conventionally known for its “luxurious” appeal (IYKYK).

It is so tucked away that most (myself included) almost miss it when driving down the dead-end road that leads to the property, which is actually the original property of Founder Susana Belen’s original home. During the pandemic, We Care got a major facelift, expanding its grounds to accommodate more guests (about 40 at a time) and transforming the property into a full, literal spa oasis that is filled to the brim with 360-degree wellness amenities, a full-service juice bar to make you all of your daily beverages, and enough chlorophyll to fill one of their two pools. Every facet of We Care’s experience makes it impossible to be bored or hapless during one’s cleansing process. Yes, this includes daily rebounding and vibration machines for lymphatic drainage.

Better yet, they offer over 40 unrivaled spa treatments (to which I can attest) and spiritual healing sessions that have been thoughtfully curated to support a fully holistic approach to detoxing. Based on your own unique goals and health challenges, the insanely attentive staff creates a custom itinerary so that guests can get the most out of their one-day, three-day, five-day, or even two-week stay.

“The Gandhi Of Good Health”

If you’re going to “ball out” on a health-and-wellness retreat with a pretty intense program (like colonics, for example), you’d hope that the people running it would live by their own protocols—or at least have experienced it for themselves. Luckily for all We Care participants, Susana—also known as “The Gandhi of Good Health”—is the real deal…a wellness queen, if you will.

Now in her mid-to-late 80s, Susana has been practicing what she preaches for over three decades, and it shows. Not only does Susana still come to We Care to connect with guests, receive her own weekly colonics, and teach workshops on nutrition and lifestyle changes, but she is also the human embodiment of wellbeing on the most spiritual level. Not to mention she wakes up at the crack of dawn to bounce on her rebounder while watching the sun rise. Goddess goals, if you ask me.

I had the fortune of learning Susana’s story face to face—even though I technically had to bend over a bit because of our respective height differences.

The TL;DR: Back in the 70s, before wellness was mainstream in any capacity, Argentinian-born Susana found herself living in Palm Springs, divorced with no job, no community, four children, and a language barrier. Compounding stress left her chronically ill, which prompted her friend to send her to a chiropractor who put her on a cleanse paired with colonics. “In just two-week’s time, I was a totally different person. Instead of crying, I was able to laugh. My thoughts were different. I was different. I knew I needed to go deeper into whatever I had just experienced.”

Fueled by curiosity, passion, self-guided research, spirituality, and a clear calling to pursue holistic healing, Susana began teaching yoga and providing nutritional guidance and spiritual lectures across the desert (when she wasn’t working during the day as an interior designer).

News quickly spread throughout the desert of Susana’s healing approach, and soon, she decided to build a home where people could just come straight to her, do yoga, hear lectures from other wellness gurus, and eventually stay to pursue their own healing journeys. And so We Care Spa was born. Please remember this is highly abridged, but you get the gist!

We Care’s Healing Protocol

We Care’s detox program is based on Susana’s philosophy that if you remove emotional, spiritual, and physical toxic build-up in the body, you can make space for the body to heal itself.

Rather than starve the body, We Care uses a “food-as-medicine” model with a liquid fast—also known as a nutritive fast—that aims to nourish the body with easily absorbable vitamins and nutrients that still allow for complete digestive rest. By putting the body into a state of autophagy, your cells start to leverage all of their energy to get rid of dead or inactive cells that add to inflammation. Simply put: if your body doesn’t need to spend so much energy digesting food for a set period of time, it can use that energy wherever else it’s needed.

Along with the fast is a pretty rigorous schedule of daily colonics, which is what We Care is known for (only one per day, I promise!). These releases not only promote an easier detox—reducing the chance for possible Herxheimer reactions—but they also allow for a deeper reset of the microbiome altogether.

All of the shakes, teas, detox drinks, and accoutrement are meant to foster more successful colonic sessions that help to “clean the whistle.” Therefore one would be wise to follow their prep, protocol, and post-fast instructions quite closely because, as I discovered, every step matters! Did you know that the intestines can hold up to 25lbs of waste? Sounds pretty heavy to me.

Here’s a taste of  We Care’s daily liquid nutrition:

Morning Routine

+ Lemon Water
+ We Care Food-N-Zymes
+ We Care Organic Green Food
+ We Care Organic Detox Drink
+ We Care Regulator Plus w/ aloe, apple juice, water chaser
+ 2-3 Thermos of water by 12p
+ Alkaline Kangen Water
+ We Care Blood Purifier Tea
+ We Care Liver Kidney Tea
+ After-colonic Daily Probiotic

Midday Routine

+ Mug of Yerba mate tea (or an iced Yerba mate “slushie” that many of us become fond of)
+ Veggie Juice—Green orCarrot
+ We Care Blood Purifier Tea
+ We Care Liver Kidney Tea
+ We Care Power Greens
+ We Care Organic Detox Drink
+ We Care Regulator Plus w/ aloe, apple juice, water chaser
+ 2-3 Thermos of water by 4p
+ Alkaline Kangen Water

Evening Routine

+ Soup + We Care Food-N-Zyme
+ Alkaline Kangen Water
+ We Care Regulator Plus w/ aloe, apple juice, water chaser

Five Days I’ll Never Forget

When I swirled into the wellness vortex of We Care, I was at an inflection point with my health. While I don’t have any serious health issues, I have just enough on the fritz to wreak havoc on my skin, hormones, and digestive system. For years, I’ve complained to “my team,” who—prior to my cleanse—said, “We’ve tried everything. It’s time for a serious shift.”

With practitioner-approval on my side, I had very little hesitation about diving right into whatever We Care wanted to throw my way, and boy oh boy, did they throw me into the gauntlet of aspirational fire.

Within minutes of my desert landing, I was swept into an orientation with my new “fasting family,” a cohort of mostly women—aged anywhere between 30 and 70—from all over the world. We were given the rundown of the grounds, walking paths, spa amenities, and our new liquid diet for the next five days. Then we were off to the colonic races—robes and humility in tow.

As if I had entered a very chic colonic summer camp experience, I found myself quickly bonding with my fast friends, who were some of the most compelling people I had met in a long time (I’ve already talked to an astrologer one of them recommended to me!). Every day, we would all find ourselves in the communal kitchen or by the poolside juice bar, preparing our detox drinks, providing one another with “flavor hacks,” helping each other remember which step of our wellness scavenger hunt we were on (we had a checklist, don’t worry), and endlessly regaling one another about our treatments and colonic ratings—”I got a 10+!”—as if we had been friends for decades. By the way, if you’re more of the introverted type, that’s totally fine. We Care supplies rooms your own detox toolkit, so you can go full hermit while you digestively rest.

The fast itself was truly—and I mean this—not a problem. In fact, it was rare that I was even thought about not having chewed anything for five days. I was ingesting so much liquid in such a methodical fashion, I actually didn’t even have time to think about food cravings or the ability to turn to food out of boredom, which—I learned—is oftentimes the point of fasting, period. It was incredibly interesting to have space to evaluate my relationship with food and the role it plays in my daily life as it relates to my time. When I wasn’t enmeshed in wonderments about when I would have my next meal, I noticed how much time I actually had to just freely wander and tend to myself.

Most interestingly, I was shocked by how much energy I had and how good I felt. It was as if I had transcended my body and was just the purest essence of myself, floating around and connecting with other people at their purest level as well. I know it sounds insane, but it kind of was!

Susana shared with me that—while some people think of We Care as a weight-loss retreat—that is, in no way, the mission or intention of the detox spa. “This whole process seems to be just about the physical, but what people get is something else. When you release all of these chemicals from your body, your mind, body, and heart feel different, so you become a different person. Now, you can see other people’s needs, feel the pain of somebody else, and have empathy.”

Now about the colonics: I won’t be going into graphic detail of any kind, but I will tell you that if you haven’t tried them, talk to your trusted team and then go for it (again, if your team says it’s okay!). I’ve been in the #EnemaGame for a long time, but had never dabbled in colonics, as they can be somewhat controversial in the wellness space. However, I was in awe of how well-informed, nurturing, and supportive the hydrotherapists were. Every single person I had educated me and made me feel super comfortable throughout the process, as if they were going through it with me (which they basically were!).

Beyond the physical releases, they were able to identify “old matter” and more “emotional releases,” which I found to be profound. I genuinely felt like past traumas and metaphysical burdens lightened for me post-sessions. I will also say that doing something so intense with your body encourages you to be in tune with yourself in a deeply vulnerable way—because, after all, you are going figuratively and literally deep.

Over time, I went from novice to expert in understanding what my body needed before, during, and after my sessions and the best strategies for optimal releases leading up to “my time in the chamber.” Hot tip: the vibration machines + castor oil on the stomach in the infrared sauna were sure-fire ways to ensure a “10+.”

Now about the treatments…

Treatments + Sessions You Can’t Miss

I would be remiss to go through my experience without describing some of the all-star treatments that make We Care truly something to write home about.

Here are the treatments I would keep going back for again and again:

System Recovery Master Treatment | Imagine being dry brushed, then having your body covered in castor oil while cocooned in a heat wrap on top of an amethyst mat alongside a foot or scalp massage for 90 minutes. Sounds hot, right?

The System Recovery treatment is one of the most powerful detox-supporting treatments at We Care (and one of the most euphoric). It helps to reduce abdominal discomfort while effectively activating liver and bowel detoxification. It is a must-do through and through. You’ll be wondering why you can’t do it at home every day of the week.

Deep Tissue Massage + Cupping | Since the pandemic, I have struggled to find a high-quality deep tissue massage. I do a lot of “recovery work” on my own, but at times, I fear it’s not enough to support my intensive workout regimen.

The We Care Deep Tissue Massage floored me. My massage therapist became my body intuitive, keenly aware of what was a problem and why. Using cupping with a vacuum technique on both the front and back of my body, I experienced serious myofascial release…and significant dark circles all over (which I wore proudly around the facilities).

Sacred Healing & Journey Session | Spirituality is a significant component of the We Care experience. Not only is the desert a wildly energetic vortex, but it attracts healers from all over the world (they’ll report that they were literally called to the desert).

I worked with a Shaman, who rocked me for 60 minutes as we did some serious inner-child work and moved energy in and out of my body. It was incredibly moving, and by the end, I felt like I had left my body and reentered it as a different person (there was a lot of that throughout my five days).

The (holi) facial | Agent Nateur is a Chalkboard favorite for a reason. With super clean, all-natural botanical skincare that is taking the wellness scene by storm, Jena Covello’s skincare line has become a coveted part of the We Care experience.

My face was lathered with all of the (holi) staples (which you can also find in their gift shop), and was told by my best friends in the communal kitchen that I was glowing to the high heavens. It was the perfect come-down from a week of detoxing—especially since so many toxins leave through the skin, which can cause some serious purging.

Continuing My Healing Journey At Home

After five days, I really started to get used to “my new life” at We Care, leaving me in a severe state of fight-or-flight when I remembered that I’d have to leave and reenter the frenzy of Los Angeles once more. “Chewing? What is that even like anymore?”

We Care is emphatic that you should slowly wean back into eating over the same amount of days as you’ve fasted. As someone who is used to jumping into things in an all-or-nothing fashion, I knew this would be my biggest challenge.

Luckily, We Care gave me their Complete Rejuvenation Kit that allowed me to seamlessly reintegrate with some of my familiar detoxing routines without shocking my system.

For five days, I moved very slowly back into my routine, focusing on my chewing (apparently, I’ve been chewing incorrectly for years), eating mindfully, digestible, and wholesomely. I’ve also continued to have their Detox Drink at night, which has been a game changer for my digestion (as a We Care alumni, I can tell you that the Detox Drink became one of the more famous parts of all of our routines).

I asked Susana for advice to keep my We Care vibrations high once I had returned home. She suggested, “Have five good days that you read, go for a walk, eat wholesome food, and then one day a week, do a liquid fast. The remaining day, eat whatever you want. There’s no need to be a martyr. You need to be able to enjoy your life!”

Final Fasting Thoughts

Transparently, there are not enough hours in this lifetime to fully express how uniquely special my time at We Care was. Of course it’s a huge investment, but I also believe that if you are able to go, it would likely reduce the need for other health expenditures throughout the year. For me, it 100% moved a needle and gave me the shift I was looking for (my team agrees!).

Most importantly, We Care seeks to provide lifelong, nutritional and lifestyle education so as to give people the tools they need to live more optimally. Susana’s goal is to do nothing more than make people aware of what they can do prophylactically and accessibly so they don’t get chronically sick.

Since coming home, I feel different—or rather better, clearer, and more energized than I’ve felt in years. I have a different perspective on my life. I am more focused on simplifying my existence, removing as much friction and detritus as possible (which can be challenging when you’re a Gemini rising in the energetic rodeo of Los Angeles). I may not live among a vast, open landscape, and I may not be able to start every day on a rebounder, oil pulling as the sun comes up, but I have gotten back in touch with my body as my ultimate guide for letting me know what it needs and therefore what I need.

And yes, I do have a colonic scheduled for next weekend.

Get 10% off your next We Care Spa detox program with code CHALKBOARD, and prepare to enter a vortex of renewal. Offer good through the rest of 2024!

*The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.

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