What Is a Colonic? The Pros and Cons of Colonic Hydrotherapy
A Colonic is a treatment for cleaning out leftover waste from the colon by using water or other liquids to flush out the waste from the colon. Colonics are also called colon hydrotherapy (hydrocolonics), colonic irrigation or high enemas, and are used to cleanse the colon. Proponents of colonic treatments say that a colon flush pulls out built-up toxins and it helps to detox your body to promote weight loss and better health.
Colonics have been advocated by many famous people and health practitioners. Naturopathic practitioners say that colonic irrigation promotes better health by getting rid of waste and toxins that accumulate in the intestines. However, many doctors say that colon cleansing provides no benefit at all.
In this article I will look at what colonic is and if the hype of colonic procedures should be believed. I will also look at any health benefits of colon cleansing that can be achieved without using colonic irrigation.
What Is a Colonic and How Does It Work?
The theory behind colon cleansing is that a buildup of waste in the colon can produce toxins, which enter the bloodstream causing health problems. Therefore, removing these toxins through colonic procedures is said to help a person feel better and improve overall health.
One of the most popular ways of cleansing your colon is by having a colonic (also called colon hydrotherapy). But you should also be aware that there are other ways for cleansing you colon. For example: you can consume certain foods or certain herbal infusions to cleanse your colon and your body.
A center specializing in colonic irrigation says that during a colonic procedure, a tube is inserted into the rectum and filtered, sterilized water is flushed through a small tube. Waste matter along with the water gets released the same way as it does in a bowel movement, just this time it goes out through a tube.1
Sometimes colonic therapists massage the abdomen to help release the waste and get it moving quicker. Some colonics may use herbs and other natural additives to help pass the waste more effectively.
The colon hydrotherapy process is odor-free and the procedure is done in complete privacy.
Colonics and Weight Loss
Weight loss is a one of the reasons for having a colon hydrotherapy. However, there has been much discussion if regular colon cleansing can help a person to lose weight.
A study published in the journal Diseases of the Colon & Rectum found that colon cleansing before a colonoscopy removed on average 2.6 lbs. (1.2 kg) of waste.2 However, you should remember that this is just water and stool. As soon as you eat again, your colon will fill up until the next bowel movement.
Regarding weight loss and colon cleansing, natural health consultant Janice Doochin told Fox News that usually her patients’ colonic procedures coincide with a diet consultation. She recommends that these procedures are used as part of a healthy diet and regular exercise regime.3
To lose weight healthily it’s important to eat properly and exercise regularly. Dr. Tim Kenny on Patient.infosays about fad diets that they are very rarely useful because a person usually returns to old eating habits after the diet. He recommends making lifestyle changes by eating less and exercising more.4 Even just having a glass of water before every meal, or when you feel hungry, can help you lose weight.
I have already written about 12 simple tweaks for weight loss and great health that can help you to shed some pounds and keep them off for good.
Colonics and Detox
It is thought that colon cleansing helps you feel better by removing toxins from your body.
Many people use colonic procedures to detox the body from toxins, poisons, and other impurities.
Our digestion system plays a key role in keeping us healthy. The digestive system comprises of various organs which break down food so that we get the needed energy, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep us healthy and feeling good.
There is much discussion about the benefits of colon cleansing to get rid of toxins. Doctors point out that our body does an effective job of getting rid of toxins in the body.
For example, Dr. Brunilda Nazario on WebMD says that the bacteria in the gut detoxifies food wastes, the colon prevents a buildup of bacteria, and the liver neutralizes toxins.
However, Janice Doochin, quoted earlier, says that the diet many people have means that the digestive system doesn’t work effectively and the outcome is colon dysfunction. This results in irregular bowel movements and a buildup of waste in the intestines.3
A study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics reported that over 17% of people in the United States suffer from chronic constipation.7 Constipation clogs up the intestines and over time it can cause discomfort and other complications. Of course, with a colonic you immediately get a relief from constipation and it can help to make bowel movement more regular, but you can also use other natural remedies to get rid of constipation at the comfort of your home.
If you don’t want to try colonic irrigation to detox, I have written about 10 simple ways to detox every dayand on how to cleanse your colon with two natural ingredients. You can also find helpful information about detoxifying your body in my e-book The Detox Guide.
Pros and Cons of Colonics
Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of colonic irrigation.
First of all, it is good to know that colon cleansing, whether that is done by colon irrigation or by taking teas, supplements or by consuming certain foods is generally safe for healthy people. In fact, it is often carried out by doctors before a colonoscopy. Also, equipment is approved by the FDA for use in carrying out colonic procedures.
However, even doctors admit that very little research has been done into colon cleansing. Gastroenterologist, Dr. Jacqueline Wolf says that “we don’t know enough about colon cleansing to know the real truth. It’s an area we should learn more about.”8
What are the advantages of colonics?
Naturopathic practitioner, Dr. Edward Group says that colon cleansing can help improve digestion and prevent constipation. Colon cleansing can also help regain regular bowel movements.9
If a person has a diet that is low in fiber, food will pass through the digestion system much slower. Therefore, very often colon irrigation is used as a way to jumpstart a weight loss program. Of course, to keep the weight off it is important to eat healthily. The journal Nutrition recommends having a diet that is high in fiber to improve weight loss.10
A colonic treatment will remove waste from the large intestine, and many people who have had colon irrigation say that they do feel better and have more energy after the treatment.
Of course, removing all waste matter from the colon will also remove healthy bacteria which are essential for a healthy digestive and immune system. That is why colon therapist Janice Doochin, quoted earlier, always put her patients on a course of probiotics after the colon flush.3
Are there any disadvantages with colonics?
What are the cons of colonics?
Many doctors point to some of the negative consequences that some people have experienced after hydrocolonic procedures. In a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine Dr. Rani Mishori, the study’s author, found that some of the side effects of colon flush were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness.11 She also pointed out that colonics can cause imbalances in electrolytes – minerals in your blood that affect some body functions.
Dr. Micahel F. Picco from the Mayo Clinic also says that people with kidney, heart disease or other health problems should not do colonic irrigation.12
There can also be problems with infections if a clinic doesn’t have good hygiene standards.
Of course, most reputable colon hydrotherapists will make patients aware of the side effects and only use sterile equipment. They also make sure that any imbalances in the body’s bacteria and nutrients are addressed.
Should you have a Colonic?
Each person should weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on whether to have a colon flush.
It seems that in general western medicine doesn’t promote colonics or colon detox as a procedure necessary to good general health.
One reason could be that, as Dr. Jacqueline Wolf said, that the benefits of colon detox haven’t been studied. In fact, the American Journal of Gastroenterology says that data supporting colon cleansing and body detoxification haven’t been studied in a systematic manner.13
However, there is much anecdotal evidence from people who have had colonic procedures and colon cleansing to show that for many people this is an acceptable way to keep good general health.
If you choose to have a colonic procedure, what should you keep in mind? The Mayo Clinic offers this practical advice:12
- Check with your doctor first of all that you don’t have any health conditions that could make the procedure risky.
- Only use a reputable colonic irrigation therapist.
- Some colonic procedures use herbal ingredients in the water. Check to make sure that you’re not allergic to any.
- Keep yourself well-hydrated and follow the advice of the colonics therapist.
The Difference between Colonics and Enema
Some people confuse colonic irrigation and enema. What is the difference?
Enemas only flush out the lower part of the colon and can be done at home. Kits can be purchased from the pharmacy and are classed as class 1 medical devices by the FDA. They are usually used to relieve constipation or to cleanse the colon before a medical procedure.
To avoid the risk of infection, you should always make sure that the tube is sterile. You should also keep yourself well hydrated. Remember, that even an enema home procedure can result in nausea and dizziness. People with certain health conditions should avoid colonics and enema, so you should check with your doctor before doing an enema colon cleanse.
Colon irrigation, on the other hand, is always carried out by a health professional and the procedure will usually last from 45 minutes to an hour.