Colonic Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest techniques of natural medicine there is, used by the Egyptians as far back as 1500BC. The principle is very simple - that of an internal bath to help cleanse the colon or large intestine of poisons, gas, accumulated faecal matterand mucus deposits. These, if not properly eliminated, can prevent the body absorbing nutrients from new food, and poison it by retaining waste matter which should have been 'flushed' away.
The colon comes at the end of the body's digestive system and is designed to handle both food and other body waste. It is made of smooth muscle which moves the waste through itself during the 24 hours after the time of eating. It is normally inhabited by billions of friendly bacteria which help to detoxif)£_the waste and synthesise the vitamins. However these bacteria cannot perform effectively if the waste load is too high.
Even in a healthy body, the colon may not be entirely cleansed by normal bowel action. Foods such as dairy products, eggs, sugar and flour promote the formation of mucus which can accumulate in the colon and hinder proper elimination.
If waste matter is not moved through the bowel on a regular basis - as happens in cases of poor digestion, yeast overgrowth, spastic colon, IBS, chronic constipation and diarrhoea - then the colon can 'auto-intoxicate'. Literally, poison itself by re-absorbing soluble wastes back into the bloodstream, thereby placing a huge burden on the kidneys, skin and lungs, the body's other cleansing organs. In due course, such a toxic overload will cause secondary problems both in the bowel (diverticulrtis, haemmeroids, prolapse, colitis or even bowel cancer) and elsewhere in the body.
In colonic irrigation warm filtered water (usually just below or above body temperature) is introduced under gentle gravitational pressure to the colon througha small instrument which protrudes no more than an inch and a half into the anus. Justifiable medical fears of tubes perforating the colon if mishandled are thereby eliminated. The water, whose pressure is less than that needed for a barium meal, gradually softens faecal matter and compacted deposits. Massage on acupressure points and meridiens is used during the treatment to stimulate the
colon thereby improving the elimination of waste. The treatment takes approximately 30 minutes and, far from being unpleasant, most people find it relaxing and even enjoyable.
However, colonic hydrotherapy on its own, as any therapist would quickly point out, is not enough. For a start, the water which washes away the waste deposits from the colon, also removes the good gu t floja (Lactoba-cillus acidophilus) which need to be replaced as soon as the.therapy is complete. This can be done either by implant direct into the colon or orally, thereby allowing the flora to work their way through the small intestine on their way to the colon. Secondly, cleansing the colon of waste matter is of little long term use unless dietary and general lifestyle changes are made to prevent it becoming re-toxified. Nutritional assessment and advice are therefore intrinsic parts of colonic therapy.
Nonetheless, the mere cleansing of the colon can have an envigorating effect on the whole system allowing better absorption of nutrients from food. Thiscan be very beneficial for those suffering from allergies or other immune related problems, intestinal Candida or more specific digestive problems.
Colonic irrigation has also been found helpful for stress management and weight loss although the Colonic International Association emphasise that weight loss only occurs as a side effect to a dietary change undertaken in conjunction wi th a course of colonic hydrotherapy. (Toxic build up prevents the body accessing the nutrients in the food, so the patient feels permanently hungry and eats continuously - often the wrong kind of foods which are hard for the colon to eliminate, thus building up further toxic overload. Colonic hydrotherapy combined with a change in diet and dietary habits - for example, chewing food more thoroughly so as to slow down the eating process and make the nutrients more easily available to the body - will often lead to weight loss in the obese.).