Many of these treatments are featured in Body & Soul, a free, easy-to-find booklet. Using his forearms, he begins working on my back in big, sweeping arcs, explaining that kahuna massage is different from the regular Hawaiian massage, or lomi-lomi.Among the advertisers: the Crystal Castle at Mullumbimby, with its healing gifts and "labyrinth of spiritual reflection"; the Institute for Vibrational Medicine, offering "kinesiology balancing"; Inanna Lawton, a "certified reverse speech practitioner"; and Voicemoves, whose "voice empowerment" will enable you to "resonate with your BLISS". Ross says he studied in Hawaii with a kahuna, or revered priest, and that this ancient style of bodywork is as much for the giver's enlightenment as the recipient's relaxation.


When Ross finishes, I try to put my wedding ring on the wrong hand.

It's as if my dozen remaining brain cells have gone into hibernation.

The cost is $80 for an hour, but Ross works on me for nearly 90 minutes.

A rapid-fire mission to detox, and to compare and contrast various treatments. Mainly, the fact that I'm a shallow bloke attempting to have a profound experience.

To this end (no pun intended) I've based myself in Australia's epicentre of alternative therapies, Byron Bay. My journey - a word I'm about to hear a lot - begins at Bien-Etre, which is French for "wellbeing".

Here, at Australia's easternmost point, auras are photographed and chakras realigned. The motivation for this particular stage of my life voyage. Why a place offering a Hawaiian kahuna massage has a French name is obviously one of those eternal mysteries.Here the crystals and clairvoyants congregate; walls are festooned with brochures, posters and ads for exotic adjustments and ointments. To try some and see if I emerge glowing and contented. I shake hands with Ross, a solid Aussie bloke with a gentle voice and calming manner, which relaxes me so much that I take off all my clothes.A woman with a kindly smile and rubber gloves is about to insert a white plastic cylinder into my bottom. "There's nothing to be worried about," says Galina Ivanoff, the woman wearing the gloves. A series of cleansing surges will flush out my colon and leave me feeling light and clear-headed. "People store a lot of emotion in their colon," Galina says. A gentle, likeable mother of two, Galina explains that once the lubricated cylinder is inserted, water will be pumped in through one tube, then out through another.It's a Saturday afternoon at the Ballina Naturopathics Health Clinic, where I've come for a colonic irrigation.I'm visiting northern NSW for four days, with the aim of submitting to as many alternative therapies as possible. The kahuna There's a lot that's tough about this assignment.