IT’S hard to imagine what would lead someone to pursue a career involving other people’s bowels.

And Rosie Matthews, who runs her own colon hydrotherapy business, is the first to admit that her lack of squeamishness about flushing waste out of other people’s bodies is a bit odd. But she says that not only is it discreet and hygienic, she loves helping her clients to feel better – and she knows for herself what a huge difference the treatment can make to people.

At school Rosie had problems with cramps and bloating.

“I was too scared to use the toilet at school because there were bullies in there who I know picked on other people,” says the 33-year-old from Southampton. “I was being bullied for other things and I didn’t want to be bullied for that, too. I think another big problem for me was that I didn’t drink enough water. My family didn’t really talk about this type of thing – poo is a bit of a taboo subject isn’t it?

“I was painfully shy, too, which didn’t help. I had the equivalent of 50 days off sick in year nine because of digestive problems but I wasn’t really honest with my parents about what was wrong.”

Then, in her early 20s, when she was working hard in her career in local government she developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“I lost my mother to bowel cancer in 2001 and when I started to get IBS I immediately thought ‘what if it’s cancer?’. I wasn’t really confident about talking to my doctor about it but I saw a documentary on TV about colonic hydrotherapy and thought I had nothing to lose by trying it.”

Rosie became very interested in the treatment.

“I wanted to know more about my own digestion and what might have caused my mum’s problems. I thought she was quite a healthy person and was absolutely baffled as to why she got bowel cancer. Going for colonic hydrotherapy was part of my journey to understanding my own bowel problems and trying to prevent a similar problem. One thing I realised was I needed to manage my stress better.”

Rosie’s interest developed into her retraining in massage and colonic hydrotherapy.

“It wasn’t difficult to change careers,” she says.

“At the time it felt like kind of a waste because I’d spent so long studying for my first career but I had started that when I was only 18 and I hadn’t really known what I wanted to do.”

Rosie launched her colonic hydrotherapy business, Radiance Wellbeing Studio in the centre of Southampton, last year.

“I qualified on March 9, which was a really important date for me – it was the anniversary of the date my mum died. Retraining was inspired by her.”

Rosie adds that her new career has given her a huge confidence boost.

“I think I started coming out of my shell while I was training,” she says. “It was something I really wanted to do but I kept having doubts about whether I could achieve it. Now I see members of the public so that’s a whole new ballgame. At first I found it really scary but now I find it quite easy to develop a rapport with people.”

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She adds that finding a career she feels passionate about – even if it is one that other people might turn their noses up at – has given a boost to all areas of her life.

“It has had a big knock on effect. When I first had my daughter I would go to parents’ groups and sit in the corner of the room waiting for someone to talk to me,” says Rosie. “Now I’m usually the one who initiates conversations. Succeeding in something has done that to me.”

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What is colonic hydrotherapy?

Warm water is gently pumped into the colon through the anus to remove excess waste and increase bowel tone. The treatment can help improve nutrient absorption and rebalance gut bacteria as well as rehydrating the client.

The waste water is immediately washed down the drain.