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.
Total Toxic Burden
Why is colon hydrotherapy useful? Cleansing the colon opens pathways for cellular cleansing thoughout the body and improved function of other vital systems. Our bodies are exposed to daily toxic waste byproducts from the digestion of food, the breakdown of our dead cells, and environmental exposures and poisons, which our body is continually filtering. Internally generated waste products such as carbon dioxide, urea, nitrogen, food and fecal wastes, as well as bacterial generated wastes and excess hormones (like estrogens) are a few of the common harmful byproducts that the body creates. Contaminants from external sources such as pesticides and herbicides, hydrocarbons (gasoline derivatives), plastics and styrofoam, medications, antibiotics, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde, paint and glues, and common household cleaning solvents can all have a very deleterious effect on humans.
Even consciously living, with an organic healthy lifestyle, can still contribute to a total toxic burden that is difficult for the body to eliminate.
When a healthy individual is exposed to harmful chemicals, there are 5 ways that the body can detoxify them. 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 resulting in a number of health problems.
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 sq feet of surface area…that is as large as a tennis court! These little fingers, or “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 lining of the intestines, so more bacteria, yeast, viruses, parasites, and fungus won’t over populate and create illness. Probiotics 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 can 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 dysregulation and chronic illness in general, as a toxic bowel prevents the immune system from working at it’s best. 80% of your immune system is residing in your colon right now!
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 can also be used as a means to detoxify stored emotions. As Candice Pert says (Molecules of Emotions), “your issues are in your tissues.”
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.
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
- Weight imbalance
- Prostate complaints (BPH and prostatitis)
While most patients report feeling more energized and lighter post treatment, there can be common detoxification reactions. These side effects 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.
What to expect during a treatment?
As warm 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.
After your colonic, it is recommended to increase your intake of electrolytes and probiotics. The Windhorse staff will gladly answer your questions with recommendations to support greater tissue cleansing, healing and balance.
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 more relaxing, safe and more comfortable treatment session. 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 protected at all times, since the specially designed bed allows you to easily insert the lubricated thin rectal tube by yourself. Your therapist will re-enter the room after you are draped.
The LIBBE is a form-fitted table with a basin set into it, on which you rest comfortably. 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 and colon hydrotherapist at 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. Some cramping may occur as the colon contracts to expel waste. After the major impaction is removed, you should find the session pleasant and relaxing. Our colon hydrotherapist has been a massage therapist for over a decade, and she is trained to give gentle abdominal massage during the treatment, as that can help to relieve some 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. 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 to have a treatment, although if you are already on a fast or cleanse, it is a great time to have a colonic! We strongly suggest that patients consider increasing 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.
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.