What is Colon Hydrotherapy?
Colon hydrotherapy, also known as a colonic, began in ancient Greece and Egypt, was popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s with medical as well as “nature cure” naturopathic doctors in Europe as well as in the United States. It made a resurgence in the 1970’s with modern naturopathic doctors. It is a safe, effective way to remove waste from the large intestine (colon) without the use of drugs. By introducing filtered, temperate water (80-100 degrees Fahrenheit) into the colon, fecal matter is softened and loosened resulting in evacuation through natural peristalsis. This is achieved through a filling and emptying process that is repeated until the colon is completely emptied of any waste material. The colonic procedure usually takes about 45-60 minutes. Intestinal massage often aides in evacuation.
Although there are not many truly scientific studies done to verify the effectiveness of colon hydrotherapy, many early physicians reported benefits of this procedure in medical journals. Many noted improvement in headaches, arthritis and what is now called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Constipation is a reality for many people taking opioid medications such as hydrocodone for chronic pain; medications may be ineffective and often have side effects. Colonics may be the only treatment that works well for medication-induced constipation.
Chronic constipation is a known risk factor for colon cancer because the longer the fecal matter stays in the intestine, the more the intestinal walls are exposed to the bile acids found in excrement, which acts as an irritant. Irritation over time can lead to cancer. Breast cancer incidence is higher in women who are constipated—possibly because estrogen metabolites are excreted via fecal matter and could get reabsorbed.
It is interesting to note that colonics do improve circulation to the large intestine and have been known to reset bowel tone such that evacuation becomes more regular and lower abdominal pain disappears. This improvement of bowel tone has also been reported with colonoscopies.
There are very few side effects/adverse effects from colon hydrotherapy as long as one uses a highly-skilled practitioner who thoroughly understands the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract. There are certain conditions which are contraindicated for colon hydrotherapy:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Active colorectal cancer
Rectal sphincter stenosis
Many people who have had colonics report a heightened sense of well-being and have lost a few pounds. Often colonics are recommended for people who want to change negative lifestyle habits and who want to start eating a cleaner diet and/or undergo a detoxification program.