Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 3

By David B. Jacoby; Robert M. Youngson | Go to book overview

Colonic irrigation

Questions and Answers

What is the difference between
colonic irrigation and an enema?

Colonic irrigation is more thorough
than an enema, penetrating farther
into the bowels and lasting longer.
In an enema the water is left in the
intestine, but in colonic irrigation
there is a constant flow in and out.
Enemas tend to be performed by
doctors or nurses, whereas colonic
irrigation is more likely to be part
of holistic medical treatment.

Is the treatment very
embarrassing or painful?

The patient wears a special gown
designed to preserve as much
modesty as possible. There may
be slight discomfort when the
speculum is inserted, but that is
all. Your colon will start to feel full
before the water flowing into it is
released; this is an unfamiliar, but
not unpleasant, sensation. The
therapist adjusts the water
temperature to a comfortable level.

Is the treatment hygienic?

Yes, if it is properly performed.
Equipment is either disposable or
disinfected using hospital-
approved techniques. The piping
system is completely closed so
that there is no smell or external
contact with the water. The water
used is purified or filtered.

Do I need to prepare for the
treatment in any way?

Not really. The more relaxed you
are, the better it works. You can
eat beforehand, but not a large
meal. There is no need to rest after
the treatment—practitioners say
that many people feel instant
benefits in terms of more energy
and a greater sense of well-being
—but you are likely to need to visit
the bathroom as soon as the
treatment is finished, and you will
feel very empty afterward.

This controversial treatment is used by some holistic practitioners for a
variety of bowel and other problems. Although the treatment dates from as
early as 1500 B.C.E in Egypt, it has recently gained in popularity once again
.

The colon is the major part of the large intestine (see Colon and Colitis); it is the last part of the digestive tract, in which the final processes of the digestive system take place (see Digestive System).

In the colon, water and water-soluble nutrients are absorbed, and some vitamins are synthesized. The remaining matter, which consists of toxins, mucus, dead cells from the rest of the digestive system, and indigestible food (roughage), is moved along the colon by the expanding and contracting of its walls (an action called peristalsis) and is gradually dehydrated until it forms a fecal mass. This waste material is then stored in the rectum before being eliminated through the anus as feces (see Anus).


Problems for which
colonic irrigation
may be prescribed

acne
allergies
arthritis
bloating
Candida (thrush)
chronic fatigue
colitis (colonitis)
constipation
Crohn’s disease
diarrhea
diverticulitis (diverticulosis)
flatulence (gas)
frequent infection
headaches
hemorrhoids
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
itching anus
migraine
stomach pains


Inner wall

The colon has an inner wall that consists of a mucous membrane designed to absorb liquids. It also produces mucus that lubricates the waste matter and makes it easier for this matter to pass along the colon (see Mucus). If waste matter accumulates on the walls of the colon, the system stops functioning properly. The waste matter builds up in the colon and causes a variety of problems throughout the body.

Colonic irrigation, also known as colonic hydrotherapy or colonic lavage, is a method of cleaning out this accumulated waste matter and helping the colon return to full working order.


Historical techniques

Colonic irrigation is not new. Similar practices were mentioned in 1500 B.C.E. in the ancient Egyptian document Ebers Papyrus, and again by the 16th-century French surgeon Ambroise Pare. Today, with bowel disorders said to affect one in three people in the West and cancer of the colon second only to heart disease as a cause of death, colonic irrigation has become popular once again (see Cancer).


Colonic health

Much of the work done in the colon is carried out with the help of billions of microbes—bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These produce vitamins, break down toxins, and protect us from infection. However, the delicate balance of this internal ecosystem can easily be disturbed by a number of factors, including stress, pollution, drugs, lack of exercise, and the wrong diet.

When this happens, waste matter builds up, restricting the normal activity of the colon, and the problem may get worse over the years. Not only can this cause minor health problems, such as intestinal discomfort, gas, and constipation, but it can also cause more serious ones, such as colitis (chronic inflammation of the bowel), diverticulitis (in which infected sacs appear in the colon), and even cancer.


Toxins

According to holistic therapists, if toxins are not properly broken down and eliminated, they can be reabsorbed by the body (see Holistic Medicine). They can then cause all sorts of problems ranging from headaches and fatigue to frequent bouts of infection, Candida, and acne (see Acne

-384-

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Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Bronchitis 294
  • Brucellosis 297
  • Bruises 298
  • Bunions 299
  • Burn Center 301
  • Burns 303
  • Burping 306
  • Bursitis 307
  • Calcium 310
  • Cancer 312
  • Capillaries 318
  • Cardiac Massage 320
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 322
  • Cartilage 324
  • Cataracts 326
  • Celiac Disease 329
  • Cells and Chromosomes 330
  • Cellular Telephones 333
  • Cerebral Palsy 335
  • Cervix and Cervical Smears 337
  • Cesarean Birth 340
  • Chat Room 343
  • Chelation Therapy 345
  • Chest 347
  • Chicken Pox 349
  • Child Abuse 351
  • Child Development 354
  • Chinese Medicine 358
  • Chiropractic 362
  • Cholera 365
  • Cholesterol 366
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling 367
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 369
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 370
  • Circulatory System 372
  • Circumcision 374
  • Cirrhosis 375
  • Cleft Palate 376
  • Cloning 377
  • Clubfoot 379
  • Cocaine and Crack 380
  • Cold Sores 382
  • Colon and Colitis 383
  • Colonic Irrigation 384
  • Colonoscopy 386
  • Color Blindness 388
  • Color Therapy 390
  • Colostomy 392
  • Coma 394
  • Common Cold 396
  • Complexes and Compulsions 397
  • Conception 399
  • Congenital Disorders 401
  • Conjunctivitis 403
  • Constipation 404
  • Contact Lenses 406
  • Contraception 407
  • Convalescence 412
  • Convulsions 413
  • Coordination 414
  • Cornea 416
  • Corns 417
  • Coronary Arteries and Thrombosis 419
  • Cosmetics 422
  • Cosmetic Surgery 424
  • Coughing 426
  • Cough Syrup 427
  • Counseling 428
  • Index 431
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