Colonic irrigation or colon hydrotherapy, is a naturopathic treatment that is sometimes used to treat people who suffer from bowel conditions or digestive problems. The process involves removing waste from the colon, and it is a procedure often carried out before colon surgery.
It is believed that food left undigested in the colon over a period of time, can cause poor health throughout the body which manifests in symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, weight gain and low energy. Colonic irrigation, can help to effectively remove this waste and alleviate some of these symptoms in the process.
The History of Colonic Irrigation
It might seem like a relatively recent health fad, however, colonic irrigation dates right back to Egyptian times when it was used to promote good health and to treat illness; it was often used as a treatment for a whole host of diseases during the 20th century.
What to Expect at Your First Appointment
At the first appointment, the therapist will record any personal information about their client and will ask about their general health. If there are any issues with the general well-being, or if there are any concerns about the person's health, they will be referred to a doctor before treatment. The therapist will then explain how colon cleaning works and what is involved.
What Does Colon Cleansing Involve?
Before the cleansing procedure begins, a tube will be placed into the anus. A tubing system containing warm, purified water will be turned on and the colonic irrigation will begin. As the water flows through the colon, it will cleanse away any stored up waste.
Colonic irrigation should not cause pain, and the patient should tell their therapist if they start to feel any discomfort.
Some people find it to be a relaxing experience after undergoing the treatment – which can last anything up to 45 minutes, but the first session can be much longer, lasting up to 90 minutes.
Some therapists also use massage techniques to help aid relaxation during the cleansing procedure, and afterwards diet advice is offered to the client to help maintain the health of the colon. Other therapists also offer on-going advice and support if it is needed.
Further treatments may be required; the therapist will decide how many courses will be needed on a case-by-case basis.
Colon Cleansing and Detoxing
Many people rely on colon cleansing or colonic irrigation for detoxification. However, medical experts don't recommend this and most would argue that the body has its own way of detoxing itself and that colonic irrigation is not necessary.
Health Benefits of Colonic Irrigation
A lot of people say that they feel better following this type of cleansing. They claim that they feel lighter and healthier, and colonic hydrotherapy has been suggested as a treatment for everything from arthritis to diabetes. However, experts still maintain that there is not enough evidence to back up these claims.
Is colonic Irrigation Safe?
Colon cleansing is considered safe for most patients. Although it is suggested that anyone considering undergoing this form of therapy see a doctor or physician first.
There can be some problems, which are usually digestive in nature. Symptoms can include gas and bloating. It is also essential to drink plenty of water if undergoing colonic irrigation as the body can become dehydrated during the process.
While some therapists advise it is acceptable to eat as normal before a colonic irrigation treatment, others advise that people avoid consuming food or water prior to a colon cleansing to prevent some of the possible side-effects.
Who Shouldn't Have Colonic Irrigation?
While many patients with digestive problems say it is beneficial to them, experts advise that people with bowel conditions should not have this form of therapy.
If a patient has had any type of inflammatory disease that affects the colon, or if they are being treated for an infection, then they should not undergo this process.
Anybody who has suffered from a long-term illness or who has had a recent illness should seek advice before using colonic irrigation.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid colon cleansing treatments, and anyone with any underlying concerns for their health should speak to a doctor first.
Colonic Irrigation Costs
The costs of colonic irrigation vary from country to country. As an example, in the UK a general assessment can cost from £35.00 and a full treatment session can vary from £95.00 to more than £100.
Updated: April 24, 2018 CET
Updated: November 14, 2019 CET