Colon Hydrotherapy (also called colonic irrigation or lavage) is a safe and effective method of gently washing the large intestine with purified water. The main purpose of this “irrigation” process, which is combined with abdominal massage, is to break up fecal waste matter that has accumulated over time within the intestines. When this waste matter is eliminated, health and vitality can dramatically improve. The greatest success is realized when Colon Hydrotherapy is done in conjunction with fluids, exercise and a high-fiber diet with very few animal products. If you have constipation or other intestinal disorders, please consider making these other lifestyle changes in order to amplify and reinforce the benefits of Colon Hydrotherapy.
Colon hydrotherapy is an ancient method of cleaning the colon dating back to Egyptian medical texts of 1500 B.C. The famous Greek physicians, Galen and Hippocrates, were major proponents of colon cleansing. In these earlier times, people performed an enema in a lake or river using a hollow reed to allow water to flow into the rectum. Until the rise of the American Medical Association, the use of enemas was a widely accepted method for reversing the onset of illness. With the development of sophisticated colonic irrigation machines and the public’s growing interest in natural healing methods, colon therapy is making a comeback. It is estimated that there may be as many as 2,000 colonic therapists presently practicing in the United States.
Everything you put into your mouth and swallow comes in contact with the walls of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and has the potential to affect GI health. When these substances or their byproducts are toxic, they damage the intestinal tissues, as well as the nerves and glands in and around the GI tract. Toxins can then be absorbed through the walls into the blood and lymph and ultimately to other body cells, tissues and organs. In addition, many dietary and lifestyle habits can result in a sluggish colon. This means that waste products are not moving smoothly out of the body; the slower movement or “transit time” means that there is more fermentation and putrefaction of undigested food by bacteria and yeast. These microbes produce toxic waste in the form of acids and gasses, which in turn cause inflammation and damage to intestinal tissues. Studies have shown that these toxic substances can promote abnormal brain function, as well as cognitive, mood, and behavioral problems.
The most obvious reasons are (1) to get your gastrointestinal (GI) tract working properly, and (2) to remove a major source of toxicity for the body. When the colon is not functioning well, health and vitality tend to decline, and susceptibility to disease increases. Many people—about one in every three Americans—have chronically sluggish colons, or what is called constipation. Constipation mainly refers to any one or combination of three interrelated bowel situations: (1) incomplete emptying, such that some waste material remains in the colon; (2) reduced frequency of movements, such that the colon carries more toxic waste for extended periods; and (3) not being able to evacuate the bowels at all. All three situations may result in the build-up of toxic materials in the intestines and re-absorption of toxins into the bloodstream. This puts a strain on many body systems and results in fatigue, weakened immunity, cognitive challenges, and other signs of declining health.
Each session hydrates the intestinal tract while also breaking up the impacted and dehydrated fecal, mucoid, and other waste materials that layer the walls of the intestine. By washing these materials out of the intestines, your body is more capable of disposing of waste products of digestion; also, further buildup of toxic materials is prevented. At the same time, your body’s assimilation of nutrients is enhanced, and liver health and energy levels may dramatically improve. Colon Hydrotherapy also exercises the muscles in the wall colon to improve peristalsis and effective elimination, thus retraining these muscles to function properly. Finally, colon cleansing can help promote healthy immunity. About 60 percent of the immune system is found in the GI tract, which makes sense, since microbes are most likely to enter the body through the mucus membranes of the GI tract (as well as the lungs). By removing a huge source of toxicity, colon hydrotherapy enables your body to thrive and maintain good health for the indefinite future.
Holistically minded physicians often recommend Colon Hydrotherapy as a way to accomplish the following: (1) hydrate your body, (2) remove waste from the gut, (3) stimulate peristalsis (rhythmic movements of the intestine, to ensure optimal GI health), (4) reposition and reshape the intestines; and (5) rehabilitate the nerves, muscles, glands, circulatory and immune systems that are integral to the GI system. But the most important benefit for many people is that they feel better and enjoy a better quality of life. After a few sessions, people frequently report feeling “lighter” and having a feeling of well-being in the belly. In addition to relieving digestive discomfort, they also note improvement in many other health problems.
Most of the people who seek out Colon Hydrotherapy are those who have frequent digestive problems or digestive discomfort. Signs and symptoms of intestinal distress may include constipation (sluggish bowels), carbohydrate indigestion, diarrhea, gas and bloating, hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diverticulosis, colitis, intestinal toxemia, parasites, skin conditions such as psoriasis, shingles, and eczema, inability to loose weight, and scar tissue and adhesions from surgery. Other groups who are excellent candidates for Colon Hydrotherapy include the following: (1) individuals who have chronic sinus and respiratory problems; (2) people motivated to relieve chronic pain (e.g., abdominal pain, continuous headaches and migraines, back or shoulder pain, aching joints, gout); (3) athletes seeking to improve metabolic efficiency; (4) people with compromised or disordered immunity (e.g., lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue, Epstein-Barre, candida, or other infections); (5) people who are working on emotional issues which they feel may be linked to their digestive problems; (6) patients who are pre- and post-surgery or barium x-ray; and (7) anyone who is in a period of life-style change or who desires to use the Colon Hydrotherapy for general cleansing, health promotion, or as a preventive measure. Regarding this last point, many people come in for Colon Hydrotherapy during a fast, a cleansing program, a raw food diet, a liver and/or gallbladder flush, or recovering from an operation or accident.
At a minimum, people need several colon hydrotherapy sessions to begin to experience a benefit, and most people will begin to release of older fecal matter only after six sessions. During the intensive phase of detoxification, it is recommended that you undergo a colon hydrotherapy session at least once a week, and twice a week is ideal during the first few weeks. (Note: Even if you are only able to do one colon therapy session a month, you will begin to see a benefit.) It is preferable not to do colonics on successive days, skipping at least one day in between treatments. For best results, in most cases, the minimum number of recommended treatments is 12, though we may recommend that you undergo up to 16 sessions over a three to four month period. Our experience indicates that if you are able to undergo at least 16 sessions, you are likely to see a major release of toxic matter from the colon, along with major improvements in your overall digestive health.
The CCIM’s Colon Hydrotherapy Program is a comprehensive colon and total body cleanse program as well as digestive care guidance. The basic program consists of 16 colon hydrotherapy treatment sessions, which include teaching and consultation. The first appointment is two hours long and consists of health evaluation and assessment, as well as teaching of colon hydrotherapy procedure and therapeutic effects, cleansing program with digestive care. All other treatment and consultation appointments are approximately one hour and 15 minutes in length.
When you come in, you will be in a comfortable horizontal position. The Colon Hydrotherapy instrument, known as the Hydro-San, facilitates water running very slowly into your colon. As water begins to move through the colon, the therapist decides when the fluid is released and flows out through an illuminated glass viewing tube. Periodically, your abdominal area is gently massaged. The procedure varies according to the individual’s needs. To ensure the highest degree of sanitation, your colon therapist will use disposable tubing and speculum (a medical tool for investigating body cavities), as well as ultra-filtered water. The first session entails a partial cleanse of the colon in order to enable some physiological adjustments. During the session, there is a medical history and physical assessment done, as well as essential teaching by the nurse/colon hydrotherapist.
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Colon Hydrotherapy is very safe; however, there is one side effect, which is that good bacteria is washed out with the bad bacteria. Therefore, you must be taking a probiotic supplement while undergoing Colon Hydrotherapy. Colon Hydrotherapy may be contraindicated for certain medical conditions (e.g., diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease), depending on the severity of the condition. Disease severity would have to be evaluated by Dr. Pittman before deciding if you’re a candidate for Colon Hydrotherapy. If you have a diagnosis of diverticulitis, severe hemorrhoids, or rectal or intestinal tumors, Colon Hydrotherapy is contraindicated.
It is best to eat only a small amount of food at least two hours before undergoing Colon Hydrotherapy; please avoid food within two hours of the treatment. It is best not to have a full stomach when undergoing the treatment. You may drink a small amount of liquid two hours prior to the session; however, try to avoid liquids after that time. Also, it is important that your bowel function is not completely shut down when starting the therapy. So, for those individuals with severe constipation, please start your herbal cleanse and fiber a few days prior to your first treatment to improve response.
Remember that you will be in the hands of professionals, and that this is a very safe and gentle process.
Most patients will be on individualized supplement regimens that may be modified somewhat to improve the effectiveness of the colonic sessions. Those supplements that are particularly important while undergoing Colon Hydrotherapy include:
1. Probiotics. We recommend a high-potency, recolonizing formula that provides a minimum of 30 to 60 billion beneficial micro-organisms per day.
2. Vitamin C. It is recommended that all patients take the maximum dose of vitamin C that results in loose stools, then to pull back from this dose slightly so that they have a daily soft bowel movement. This is especially important for patients with severe constipation.
3. Magnesium. Additional magnesium improves colon muscle function. We recommend different magnesium supplements for different digestive health needs, working up the dose to bowel tolerance as described above.
4. Intestinal Cleansers and Natural Laxatives. There are several formulas we recommend that patients begin prior to and continue during their series of colonics. These will be reviewed by either the physician or colon therapist.
5. Intestinal Cleansing Fibers. A variety of fiber formulas are used to assist with colon cleansing ranging from mild bulking agents to more powerful granular formulas that provide a more aggressive scraping effect against the intestinal walls.
Conclusion. Colon Hydrotherapy is an integral part to a successful total body detoxification program as well as for maintenance of a vibrant and lasting sense of wellness. Many nutritionally oriented physicians require their patients to undergo Colon Hydrotherapy as a requirement for acceptance for treatment. We agree that this is an integral part of the healing process and strongly recommend that all patients of the Carolina Center undergo a series of treatments. Colon Hydrotherapy is never a treatment that is done just once. For any lasting benefit to be obtained, a series of treatments over several weeks is necessary especially when muscular retraining is am important goal.