ColonicsThere are many times in our life that we decide, “This is it!  I am going to start a detox program and cleanse myself from the inside out.  No more junk – it’s all fresh fruits and vegetables from here on out.”  As you plan your meals, dust off your juicer, and get ready to make those smoothies, do you include doing a colonic – or even enemas – into your regimen?

What is the colon?

The colon is the last five feet of the digestive tract.  It is a hollow, tube-like organ made up of muscle tissue that moves along the food you ate using a wavelike motion known as peristaltic action.   The colon is an area alive with a host of bacteria that produce vitamins such as K and some of the B vitamins.  It also absorbs water, nutrients, some fibers, and cell salts back into the blood stream.

The colon is sometimes referred as the sewer system of the body.  It is the place we store the waste material that most of us don’t even think about until a health condition either makes us constipated or we have diarrhea.    The best function of the intestine is that it releases this accumulated congestion in the bowel.

The History of Colon Cleansing

A colonic – also called colon hydrotherapy – is the cleansing of the large intestine, what we call the colon, with purified water.   The water is introduced to your colon through the anus.  This procedure is done using a qualified therapist.  This procedure is not new, and record of this procedure has been dated back to an Egyptian medical papyrus dated 1500 B.C.   They had a concept they called “auto-intoxication,” which is an ancient theory based on the belief that toxins originating in the intestine can enter the circulation and poison the body.

Colonic irrigations became popular in the late 1800s into the early 1900s.  Both enemas and colonics were frequently prescribed by physicians as a substitute for laxatives.  The Royal Society of Medicine cited the colon as a major factor in health.  Dr. Joseph Waddington, in his work, “Scientific Intestinal Irrigation and Adjuvant Therapy,” stated the following: “Abnormal functioning of the intestinal canal is the precursor of much ill-health, especially of chronic disease.  Restoration of physiological intestinal elimination is often the important preliminary to eventual restoration of health in general.”

The Difference Between Colonics and Enemas

Colonics and enemas are both therapies that introduce water to the colon through the anus in order to cleanse the colon.  However, you would choose a colonic to cleanse the entire length of the colon; an enema only cleanses the lower part of the colon, the sigmoid and part of the descending colon.   With a colonic, you have water continually going through your colon.  An enema is a single dose, that then soaks for a few minutes before you eliminate it in the toilet.

You can give yourself an enema in the space of your own bathroom.  Colonics are administered by a trained colon hydrotherapist and requires specific equipment to perform it.  During a colonic, fecal matter leaves the body through a tube.  You don’t see or smell this matter during your session.

The Benefits of a Colonic

Enemas and colonics are valuable during constipation resulting from a time of excess, producing heat in your intestines.  You might notice you have a thick yellow tongue coating.   If you are following a fruit- and vegetable-juice regimen, it can be deadly without a colonic or enema.  So much toxin is released into the blood during the healing process that it blocks and poisons the liver, causing pain in any number of areas of the body.

The procedure of colon hydrotherapy has helped with constipation, diarrhea, acute fecal impaction, colitis, mucus colitis, diverticulosis, parasitic infections, atonic colon, bowel stimulation, flatulence, and bloating.

The Risks of Colon Hydrotherapy

Bacterial infection is possible with colon hydrotherapy if the equipment is contaminated.  The Mayo Clinic advises you to make sure that the equipment is disposable, sterile, and has never been used before.   They also say that infection may also occur due to clearing away of healthy bacteria.

Persons who are pale, have a weak pulse, are thin, or have a stripped tongue coating should avoid or use these water treatments only during a crises.  Habitual use will eventually weaken anyone.  For several days after an enema or colonic, it is important to ingest foods which enhance the intestinal flora.

What to Expect During a Colonic

After completing a health history form and consulting with your colon hydrotherapist, you’ll change into a gown and lie face up on a treatment table.   The colon hydrotherapist will insert a disposable speculum into your rectum.  This speculum is attached to a disposable hose connected to the colon hydrotherapy unit.  Warm, filtered water is released into your colon.  The water causes your muscles in your colon to contract, a process called “peristalsis.”  This perstaltic action causes your muscles to “push” your feces out through the hose, to be disposed in a closed waste system.

You may feel some discomfort or nausea during this procedure.  Your therapist will probably apply some light abdominal massage to facilitate the process.

After the procedure, the therapist will leave the room, allowing you to sit on the toilet for about 15 minutes to release any residual water and feces.  The typical session lasts about 45 minutes to one hour.

Finding a Colon Hydrotherapist

If you decide to include a colonic during a detox, the best place to find a qualified therapist is through the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy.  They advocate that “Colon irrigation devices are prescription devices by law.”  They understand the importance of keeping each device clean and sterile.

Will you include a colonic as part of your detox program?