Colon Hydrotherapy is an ancient form of cleansing the colon with water. It is a drug-free, safe, effective method of removing waste from the large intestine (colon). By gently introducing purified, filtered warm water into the colon, fecal material is softened and loosened, resulting in evacuation through natural peristalsis (muscle contraction). This process is repeated many times during a therapy session.
Why is colon hydrotherapy useful? Cleansing the colon opens pathways for cellular cleansing throughout the body, thereby improving the function of other vital systems. Our bodies are exposed toxins daily. These toxins can be seemingly innocent, like the byproducts of food digestion, or excess hormones created in the body. And of course there are the ever present environmental exposures and poisons, which our body is continually filtering.
Our bodies are brilliant. The liver, lungs, bowels, kidney’s and skin/lymph cleanse internally generated waste products (carbon dioxide, urea, nitrogen, hormones) food and fecal wastes, bacterial generated wastes as well as dead or diseased cells. Contaminants from external sources such as pesticides and herbicides, hydrocarbons (gasoline derivatives), plastics and styrofoam, medications, antibiotics, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), paint and glues, and household cleaning solvents, all have potential deleterious effect on our bodies. Our cells, endocrine, nervous systems are more sensitive than many of us know to these chemicals.
Toxins are cleared by the kidneys (urine), respiratory system (breathing), the blood/lymph (sweating), the liver(bile) and then eventually, out through the bowels. However, a person with weakened detoxification capabilities can re-circulate and accumulate toxins, which negatively affect enzyme pathways, glands, nerves and the immune system, which can result in a number of health problems.
Even with “conscious living,” with an organic healthy lifestyle, we are still have a total toxic burden that is difficult for the body to eliminate. Many of us have chosen as adults to live a cleaner life, but we still have the toxin burden of our pasts, and even from our ancestral family lineage.
Anatomy of the Intestines
From the tube that begins with the mouth and ends with the anus lies 28 feet or more of digestive tract. Within its many folds are thousands of little fingers (villi). These fingers also have even smaller fingers on them, called or microvilli, spanning more than 2000 square feet of surface area…that is as large as a tennis court! These little villi, grab and absorb particles of digested food as it passes through, that is, if they are functioning at their optimum level.
Amongst these microvilli in healthy persons live billions of good bacteria that act as the first line immune defense against the unhealthy bad bacteria and allergens found in our foods. The good flora, or probiotics, crowd out the unwanted bacteria and strengthen the lining of the intestines, so more unwanted bacteria, yeast, viruses, parasites, and fungi do not over populate and create illness. The good bacterial also make many essential vitamins, such as the B vitamins, niacin, folic acid, pyridoxine, cobalamin, biotin, and vitamin K that are important for proper health.
If the digestive track is in an inflamed state due to unhealthy food choices and/or environmental chemicals, mucous may be produced in excess, which can be the beginning of poor health. On the cellular level this mucous coats the microvilli fingers inhibiting proper nutrient absorption. Without the proper nutrients being absorbed the entire body suffers as symptoms slowly emerge sending warning signals that can look very different in each person.
All inflammation is a preliminary marker for future disease if not relieved and resolved.
Constipation is the most common digestive complaint in America. It is also the most preventable digestive complaint if adequate water, ample vegetables, and physical activity are in proper balance, along with not ignoring the urge to defecate. Medical studies show that up to 27% of the American general population suffering from constipation. This would be constipation as defined by the conventional medical model, which considers a stool every three days as regular and normal. In other words, 27% of America is having less than one or two bowel movements a week! Constipation and other irregularities can lead to diverticulosis, or “pockets” of fecal waste in the colon wall, which can become progressively irritated and lead to diverticulitis or irritated bowel. Advanced forms of chronic constipation can also lead to hemorrhoids, fissures, prolapses, diarrhea, appendicitis, and the degenerative states of irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowel disease, and cancer.
Hippocrates said, “All disease STARTS in the gut” but often times, patients report that they have no problems with digestion, but they have recalcitrant psoriasis (example). Many find Colon Hydrotherapy useful for chronic immune system dis-regulation and chronic illness in general, as a toxic bowel prevents the immune system from working at its best. 80% of your immune system is resides in your gut. Amazing!
A colonic session aims to cleanse and hydrate the colon, exercise the colon muscles, release toxins, cleanse the blood, empower the immune system and restore the PH balance in the body, as well as re-hydrate the whole body. Colonics also have been used to assist the detoxification treatments of drug, alcohol, caffeine or nicotine addiction, and pharmaceutical drug residues.
It is FDA regulated for use prior to a colonoscopy (as an alternative to the standard bowel prep), but only if your gastroenterologist approves.
How do you feel after the colonic?
Many patients report that their chronic, life-long symptoms improve. Radiant and vibrant is common feedback. While most patients report feeling more energized and lighter post treatment, there can be common detoxification reactions. These reactions can be: headaches, gurgling in the gut, or feeling tired or depleted. These symptoms almost always go away after having a second session. Sessions build on one another creating greater ease and comfort as tissue health improves.
Here is a list of conditions that may be helped by a colonic:
- Digestive complaints like constipation and irregularity
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain and joint pain,
- Chronic yeast
- Bladder infections
- Menstrual irregularity
- Uterine complaints
- Immune depression or elevation
- Chemical sensitivities
- Mood and memory related issues
- Lymph gland swelling
- Excess or deficient sweating
- Skin (psoriasis and eczema)
- Body odor
- Anxiety (written twice on purpose!)
- Weight imbalance
- Prostate complaints (BPH and prostatitis)
What to expect during a treatment?
As warm filtered water is gently introduced into the colon, fecal matter soaks up the water and becomes soft and loose. The introduction of water into the colon stimulates the natural movement of the bowels, called peristalsis. It exercises the muscles of the intestines as the water squeezes back out of the colon. This exercise improves the sluggishness of the bowels and helps the muscle tone for elimination of future bowel movements. As water is able to work its way further through the large intestine, it stimulates the liver and gall bladder to secrete bile. Congested bile is released into the intestines for elimination. The content of bile consists of numerous toxic chemicals and waste products that the liver has filtered. This is considered the most important aspect of colon hydrotherapy- the final elimination of toxic wastes. Once these channels are renewed, cells throughout the entire body are better able to cleanse. Some patients may even chose to have a coffee enema after their colon hydrotherapy treatment, to further promote the creation and release of bile.
After your colonic, we recommend to increase your intake of electrolytes and probiotics.
The LIBBE device open system is considered to be the “best of the best” of colonic treatment devices, providing more privacy, dignity and efficacy while offering you a relaxing, safe and more comfortable treatment. This system allows you or your therapist more refined control of your treatment. One advantage with the LIBBE device is the very thin rectal tube, which patients find considerably more comfortable than other models.
Your privacy is respected at all times, especially since the equipment’s form fitted table/bed allows you to easily insert the lubricated rectal tube by yourself. Your therapist will re-enter the room after you are draped.
Water flows from a tank gravity system set in the cabinet on the wall along side the table. Temperature controlled water flows through a carbon filter, which removes sediment, rust and chlorine, before the water is used for your treatment. The water flow from the gravity-fed tank is controlled by a flow control knob, which is operated by either YOU or the colon hydrotherapist (this is up to the patient) The water is purified before it passes through the small rectal tube by an ultra-violet light filter.
Your colon will gently take in as much water as it can tolerate. When you feel the need to evacuate, you simply release. Because of the continuous water inflow and release during your treatment, your body’s own muscles are used to provide a more natural, gentle release. At the same time, the peristalsis (action of the muscles of the colon) is greatly stimulated and this provides an excellent workout for the colon. Because of the nature of the LIBBE device, the therapist does not need to be there with you all the time. This affords you as much privacy as you desire.
How many treatments will I need?
Most commonly, we recommend 2, back-to-back treatments. Most clients eliminate as much (if not more) during the second treatment. This is because the first colonic helps to loosen up feces and toxins that don’t always come out until the second treatment. The International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy (I-ACT) recommends having 2 sets of “back-to-back” sessions two weeks in a row. A back-to-back treatment also helps to alleviate any toxic detoxification reactions that might have occurred after your first treatment.
The number of treatments really depends on your purposes and reasons for having the treatments. Perhaps you are constipated and want to use the colonics to turn around your cycle of incomplete eliminations. Several colonics in a short period of time might prove helpful. Or perhaps you want to augment a detoxification or nutritional program. In this situation, you may want to have 2- back-to-back treatments each week during your cleanse. The doctors at the Windhorse Naturopathic Clinic will help you devise a program that is ideal for you. For clients choosing a several session program, discounts are available.
Will I be running to the bathroom all day after the treatment?
No. Most people are able to get all of the water out of them before they get off of the equipment. We recommend sticking around the office for a few minutes, have a hot cup of peppermint tea, however, it is rare to keep eliminating post session.
Is Colon Hydrotherapy painful?
No. That being said, it is not like a massage: You will actively be taking in warm water and eliminating…the same way you do when you go to the bathroom on a toilet. In the case of an impacted colon, you may experience a slight discomfort, such as cramping. Some patients report nausea, though this is more rare. After the first stool impaction is removed, you should find the session pleasant and relaxing. Dr. Maiella is happy to provide you with some gentle abdominal massage and a hot water bottle to ease any cramping.
How is a colonic different from an enema?
Colonics are easier and much more efficient. When you do an enema at home, you hold as much water or solution in your colon as you can for as long as you can and then eliminate. You basically have one fill of water/solution. When you have a colonic, you have a continuous flow of water in. You do not have to hold the water beyond your comfort level and can eliminate whenever you have the desire, without having to run to the toilet. Most people are able to increase the amount water held throughout the treatment, as they clear out fecal matter and impactions.
Do I need to be fasting?
There is no need to fast, although if you are already on a fast or cleanse, it is a great time to have a colonic. We strongly suggest you to increase your intake of water, fresh fruit, and vegetables before coming in and decreasing processed food, or foods you know to be sensitive or allergic to. Eating well before the treatment begins the process of helping your body to flush away toxins, making your colonic easier and more efficient!
Can I have a treatment if I am menstruating?
Yes! In fact, many patients have reported that having a colonic in the midst of their menses eases menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms. If that is the case, you want to make sure you schedule in some extra rest time.
How can you maintain your bowel health after your session?
You can maintain excellent colon health by consuming plenty of clean water, (1/2 of your body weight in ounces), eating a diet rich in vegetables (60-70% of your diet) and other forms of soluble and insoluble fiber, and avoiding trans-fat and sugar. Be familiar with the medications and herbs that you are taking as many medications change the way your bowels move. Physical manipulation by massage and exercise keeps the peristalsis actions going and encourages lymphatic movement. Periodic cleansing with the combination of herbal cleanses, castor oil packs, skin brushing, saunas, and of course colonics provides a healthful way to maintain good health.
Why are we mentally and emotionally clearer after colon hydrotherapy?
The Metaphysical Colon Hydrotherapy Session….
Research by Dr. Candace Pert, formerly at the NIH and Georgetown Medical Center, and author of Molecules of Emotion has some well informed and researched words of wisdom to help answer this question.
Dr. Pert explains to us how emotions and memories are stored in your cells and tissues. Yes, in every cell, every tissue and in every organ. She famously stated that “your body is your subconscious mind.” Our physical bodies can be changed by the emotions we experience. Her research shows that when there is a feeling in our mind or body, this feeling/experience translates as a peptide, which is subsequently released into the body. That feeling (now a peptide) can go anywhere, because all of our cells, tissues, organs etc, have peptide receptors on them, it is a vast peptide/receptor network!. In short, that is how an emotion is stored in the tissues. And can be accessed from the tissues too! And we thought memories were stored primarily in the brain! Unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the body.
Colon hydrotherapy can be a catalyst to a deep and healing catharsis. The colon hydrotherapy should be used as a time to be mindfully aware of your emotions. And emotions do come to the surface during hydrotherapy, because during a typical treatment, all sorts of new body sensations may arise. These body sensations may give rise to emotions, as body sensations are often connected to particular memories. When these emotions are expressed and tenderly acknowledged, they can be released, even those very ancient memories and feelings. Allow your experience to include vague shapes, noises, smells, or feelings, as memories are not always accessed in clear cut mental forms. Healing can occur when held/stuck memories are brought into conscious awareness, because at that point, you get to decide what you would like to do with them (not your over firing subconscious limbic system!) Allow your mind to flow freely, this will help the colon to release what ever is no longer needed. You can even say to yourself during your treatment, ‘this anger belongs, “ or “this grief belongs.” Place your hand over the area of your body where you are feeling that sensation and try saying “This belongs, I care.”
Each colon hydrotherapy session is different and will provide a different ‘release’ for each person. When you are able to connect physically AND emotionally during the treatment, there is greater potential for a greater mind-body-spirit healing. After your treatment, please rest and journal in the evening (you can even try journaling with you non-dominant hand to awaken a more creative point of reference).
Enjoy the benefits of a cleaner body and mind!