By Jared Chausow
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It's not easy to chill out during summertime. The city is sweltering. The subway stinks. And, when you're lucky enough to escape, you have to spend half your weekend in traffic. What to do?
The Colonet CT-1 is one of many high-tech alt.health products marketed specifically for at-home de-stressing. As allegedly one of the world's only DIY colonic machines, it's swift enough to rid you of last week's stubborn lunch and you don't have to lie on your side in a compromising gown and say "when."
According to Othmar Vogel, the product's distributor, the Colonet (www.thecolonet.com) is far cleaner and safer than most at-home enema kits. An electric ultraviolet sterilization system continuously zaps the bacteria from your tap water before irrigation begins. Once flowing, the Colonet's able to deliver at least 20 times as much water as its competition, Vogel says. There's even a money-back guarantee, though, understandably, not for all parts.
For health nuts who prefer to unwind with an external water treatment, a Singapore-based company, Think Tank International, sells the PathFinder FX-2 (www.thinktank.com.sg), a personal, computerized flotation tank. With an underwater stereo, a VCR, and a special in-tank perfuming system called "the AromaFloat vaporiser," the FX-2 is the next best thing to floating inside Ivana Trump's womb. The real selling point is the AutoPilot, the PathFinder's HAL. This microprocessor automatically manages the system's internal environment based on your selections. Select, say, a pleasant musk to spritz halfway through a screening of Altered States and the AutoPilot responds accordingly. Neanderthal transmutation optional.
Those looking for a little something more discreet can head uptown to the Biofeedback Instrument Corporation (www.biof.com), host to a variety of electrometaphysical hardware. Over the past 29 years, Dr. Philip Brotman and his staff have plugged in athletes and actors (including Dustin Hoffman) looking to tap, master, or just plain trip out to their physiological responses.
The $950 BrainMaster 2E plugs right into a PC or laptop, allowing you to measure your brain waves at home or even on the subway (though you might look silly with a bunch of electrodes dangling from your forehead). As your brain buzzes, the BM2E records, displays, and processes your squiggly waves. When you start leaping off the Richter scale, you can try to mellow yourself out accordingly. And if that's not challenging enough, there's an optional program that displays your stress level via an onscreen Pac Man game. The more you relax, the slower the yellow pie-boy munches. Quake add-on packs not compatible.
Some mind-body enthusiasts have been flocking to a decidedly more bizarre, if low-tech, health alternative: magnetics. After you strap special magnets across your body, the ensuing force is said to stimulate blood flow and oxygen dispersal. According to a friend's grandparents, magnets have become all the rage in south Florida, where they've been fashioned into a variety of cheesy Logan's Runstyle jewelry.
John Martin, a retired toolmaker in Suffield, Connecticut, founded his own company, Body Magnetics Plus (bodymagnetics.com), after he got turned on to the power of the pull. Martin says he was skeptical when a friend suggested wearing magnets to counter his bursitis, but soon enough he was feeling definite signs of relief. Now he spends his days designing special magnetic vests and knee straps, which he sells over the Internet.
Because the magnets are unipolar (all north side, for example), Martin says, there's no danger of getting stuck to the fridge on the way back from a midnight snack. "I wouldn't suggest using them near your computer, though," he offers.
Other magnetics dealers are more cavalier about their guarantees. Californian Alex Chiu (www.alexchiu.com) has achieved something of a cult following online for his Eternal Life rings and foot braces special magnetic jewelry that creates electrical charges within the body and, Chiu claims, makes you live forever.
"My friends suggested me [sic] not to guarantee 'stay physically young forever,' " Chiu writes on his site. "They said that guaranteeing 'stay physically young forever' can get me into lots of trouble." But Chiu stands by his claim. As proof, he posts a gallery of pictures of himself taken over the course of a decade. And, yes indeed, he appears eerily youthful and fresh. Imagine how he'd look after the Colonet.