Wellness influencers are convincing people to shove coffee up their butts

The latest wellness trend involves sticking coffee up your butt, and who better to report on this phenomenon—which, of course, has been spreading through social media—than the Conspirituality Podcast. We've covered the brilliant work of the Conspirituality Podcast many times here on Boing Boing—I'm a big fan of the show, which has the tagline "Dismantling New Age cults, wellness grifters, and conspiracy-mad yogis," and which defines conspirituality as "a study of converging right-wing conspiracy theories and faux-progressive wellness utopianism." 

The podcast released two episodes last week that will give you more information than you probably care to know about the dubious practice that many practitioners and hawkers of "coffee enema kits" claim will cure anything that ails, you, including cancer. 

Episode 192, featuring TikTok conspirituality trends reporter Mallory DeMille is titled "Coffee Is Your Friend, Not Your Enema." Conspirituality Podcast describes the episode:

This episode has been brewing for some time. This week we ask: which hole is coffee really supposed to go in? Because, in the contrarian and conspiratorial wellness world, a growing number of influencers advocate for your morning java to go where the sun doesn't shine. If that's not alarming enough, they claim coffee enemas will treat autism, cancer, parasites, and much more. Mallory DeMille is here to finally flush out this nonsense.

The second episode, "Living in the Enema Times," which expands on Episode 192, was released on Patreon, so it's behind a paywall, but hopefully it will hit the free feed soon:

Selling enemas to replace psych meds, or treat cancer, or cure autism is some dangerous shit. But Matthew has a tingling sense that the wellness enema craze promises more than false health benefits. Perhaps the coffee might be an artisanal distraction from a more existential promise: a ritual of cleansing and muscular control for a world that feels filthy, guilty, and in absolute chaos. A way of returning to a crucially innocent time when you learned to hold it all in, then given permission to let it all out, and then lovingly cleaned up when you did.

Today, Instagram gives us permission to show it to the world: look at what I made! Look at how fresh and pure I am! Look at how I am polishing my innermost self. Look at this magic of making the invisible visible. Welcome to your 50-minute analysis session to process Mallory's brilliant reporting on Thursday: a tour through a labyrinth of dirt, control, differentiation, exhibitionism, shame—and possibly reclamation and integration.

Chapters: (1) How to Read an Enema; (2) Managing Filth with Freud; (3) Winnicott's the Best; (4) The Abject; (5) Political Shit; and (6) Dear Kyah

Coffee enemas and their ilk aren't really anything new—I remember working at a health food store in Albuquerque in the early-to-mid 1990s, when colonics were all the rage. But their reach is so much wider now, given the parallel explosions of the wellness industry and the accompanying conspiracies that have emerged and continue to proliferate during the ongoing pandemic. Coffee enemas are just one more product being sold by wellness conspiritualists to cure COVID-19, to reverse the "evils" of having gotten "jabbed," to boost immunity, to cure long COVID, and more. It is hard to estimate what kind of money these grifters have made, but the wellness industry, in general, is estimated to be worth over four trillion dollars as of 2020, and is expected to grow to almost seven trillion by 2030. To give you a sense of what people are paying for coffee enemas, a company called "Happy Bum Co" sells enema kits for $74.95, and bundles for $129.95, which include the starter enema kit along with coffee and a French press to make and store it.

At best these products are benign, and are causing people to throw away money on cures that are completely useless. At worst, they are hurting people—some seriously so. The tragic case of multi-level-marketing superstar Jessie Lee Ward still haunts me. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in early 2023. Instead of undergoing chemotherapy, she turned to "natural remedies"—including coffee enemas—to try to cure her cancer, and she meticulously documented her journey via her social media accounts. She even consistently livestreamed her coffee enemas. She died in Fall of 2023.

To learn more, here's the link to Episode 192, which is free, and here's the link to the Patreon episode.

Previously: Dr. Idz uses TikTok to debunk wellness influencers