Natural colon cleansing flushes out the contents of the colon, clearing the gastrointestinal tract. The colon is the large intestine, and with a strong wall of muscles it helps to move waste material through the body and eliminate it via the rectum. Natural colon cleansing, or colon therapy, is necessary as part of the preparation before certain medical procedures, such as colonoscopy. It is also used as an alternative therapy, believed by some alternative practitioners to rid the body of toxins and provide health benefits.
How is Natural Colon Cleansing Performed?
There are several methods of natural colon cleansing. It can be performed at home, by buying products that encourage elimination, such as laxatives, herbal teas and supplements, which are all taken orally, or by performing an enema at home. For the most thorough cleanse it can be performed by a practitioner who specialises in colonic irrigation (a colon hydrotherapist). During a session with a colon hydrotherapist, you will lie (usually on your side) on a table while a small tube is inserted into the rectum. A large amount of water (about sixty litres) is then flushed through the colon out of the tube. The therapist may massage the abdomen, and afterwards you will eliminate the water as you would a bowel movement. The process is not painful or uncomfortable and is said to be quite relaxing by its advocates.
Theory and Evidence for Colon Therapy
It is thought that natural colon cleansing was used by both the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and has become popular with the rise of alternative medicine in the 21st century. The idea behind it is that over time the digestive tract develops layers of intractable toxins that are not removed during regular elimination, and these toxins are circulated throughout the body causing a host of health problems. There is, however, no evidence behind the claims that have been made about natural colon cleansing. This lack of evidence is a consequence of there having been few studies and little research that has looked into the effects of colon therapy. This means that the claims made by the advocates of colon therapy may very well be accurate, despite the lack of evidence, but it may also mean the opposite, so caution is warranted.
Benefits and Risks of Colonic Irrigation
Advocates of natural colon cleansing claim that it can improve skin problems and fatigue; assist with weight loss, bloating, and the strengthening of the immune system. Although there is little evidence to support these claims, the procedure has a huge following and should not be discredited without further investigation. Although it is highly unlikely that any benefits from the procedure have anything to do with detoxification, it is possible that it may have a positive effect on the nervous system, which would explain why some people experience positive results. Risks include dehydration, nausea, bloating, cramps, infection, bowel perforation, and mineral depletion that may worsen heart and kidney conditions.
If you are considering natural colon cleansing, talk to your family doctor to make sure that you don’t have any conditions that may be negatively affected by the procedure. Be advised that while you may experience some benefits following your sessions, colon therapy should not be continued long-term, as it can interfere with the healthy bacteria in your body.