Thoughts on Colon Hydrotherapy (Colonics) and Enemas - Aspire Natural Health

Thoughts on Colon Hydrotherapy (Colonics) and Enemas

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If there’s one joke I consistently hear from people who know nothing about natural or alternative medicine, it always involves colonics.

Most people know nothing about colonics other than ‘I would never, ever get one’. So let’s change that.

I consider colonics to be one tool in the therapeutic toolbox. They’re not a ‘miracle cure’ for all ailments, and their not dangerous and weird. And when you need them they’re the best tool for the job.

So let’s learn more about them…


A couple of definitions

Enema – Enemas deliver a small amount of fluid into the colon, and typically only get a little ways up the colon  (the sigmoid colon and maybe if you’re lucky all the way up the descending colon).  Enemas come in several different types, ranging from a bag/bottle and tube, to the bottles of premixed solutions you can buy at the drug store (most commonly used by people before a colonoscopy).  Enemas are safe to do on people of all ages and are most commonly done at home by the person themselves.

Colonics – Colonics (or colon hydrotherapy) typically involves more substantial machinery and a trained technician to operate it. Colonics typically flush the entire colon (or large intestine).   Colonics are typically safe with only a few cautions – most of which involve anything that could make the colon walls weak, such as tumors of the colon, UC or Crohn’s, megacolon, etc.

So, are enemas and colonics the same thing? No. They both aim to put water or some other solution through the anus into the colon. But colonics are much more “thorough” or complete than enemas, using a lot more fluid and getting it much farther into the colon.


Why would you do an enema or colonic?

Basically for two reasons:

  1. To put something in – this can range from fluids in a severely dehydrated person who can’t take things by mouth, to medications or medicated oils, to implants (transfusions of beneficial bacteria, either as probiotics or as a fecal implant)
  2. To Flush things out – this can range from straight feces in someone who is very constipated, to assisting in a detox regimen for someone who is in a heavy detox.


What do we use them for?

We recommend an enema or colonic for several reasons

  1. People who are severely constipated. Sometimes by the time people make their way to us they have serious gut dysfunctions and major constipation. Significant constipation, which we consider to be more than about 3 days and becoming much more severe as it gets to one bowel movement every 5-7-10 days, besides making people feel bloated and terrible, also makes them toxic. All of the waste that your body is trying to get rid of in your feces is just sitting there, and some of it gets reabsorbed back into the body. It’s like plugging up your garbage disposal and continuing to stuff things into it, stuff is going to come back out again. Colonics are the fastest (albeit temporary) way to clean someone out, which can provide tremendous relief.
  2. People with disordered peristalsis. Peristalsis is the normal contractions of the digestive tract that keep food moving downwards, and cause bowel movements to happen. Sometimes due to a variety of dysfunctions the peristaltic action no longer works properly. A course of colonics under a skilled operator can be very helpful in retraining the bowels.
  3. People who are detoxing heavily. We don’t like to detox people this fast, as I think it can cause unnecessary suffering, but sometimes you don’t have much choice. If you push people hard and support their kidneys and liver well enough to take it, then the bowels become the weakest link. Like constipation above, if you are dumping a lot of toxicity into the bowels through the liver (bile) and the bowels can’t move fast enough to get rid of it, some / a lot of it can be reabsorbed back into the body. Which defeats the whole purpose of the detox and makes people feel very bad. So, if people are detoxing aggressively combining it with colonics to help them get it out of their system as quickly as possible can be very useful.
  4. People we need to implant. Makes me think of the movie Aliens, but in this case we’re talking about bacteria. Sometimes oral (mouth) administration of probiotics isn’t cutting it. And we can flush and then inject a really strong preparation of probiotics right into the colon, and that will often do the trick. And while I haven’t yet done fecal transplants (I’ve been very close with a couple of patients), if/when I do I would prefer to implant them with a colonic rather than have to send them to have a G-tube (a tube that goes through your nose into your stomach) put in.


Do ‘healthy’ people need them?

While I’m sure at least a few colon hydrotherapists will disagree with me, I don’t feel otherwise healthy people with normal digestion need colonics, and I don’t recommend them to people on a regular basis.

Colonics are one of the ‘big guns’ of ‘alternative medicine’, a very forceful therapy which significantly disrupts the environment of the large intestine. Sometimes we want that to happen, and then we use them.

But most of the time, especially when it’s working well, we’re better off leaving it alone and focusing on the basics for good ‘pooping’: Enough water, enough fiber (from vegetables and fruits), enough fat, fermented foods / probiotics and movement.

I hope that gives you a better understanding of what colonics are and what we use them for.


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Is Diet and Exercise Enough? – Post 42 By: Dr. Tim Gerstmar – 11/4/2011