Our body has an awesome built-in detox system.
Our skin pushes out sweat, our lungs expel carbon dioxide, our kidneys filter our blood, and our intestines remove and excrete waste out of the body.
Still, our body depends on us to take care of it so that it can function correctly. Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and a healthy lifestyle help it to detox properly, to keep toxins and bacteria out for good.
But sometimes our detox system needs a little help. If you’re suffering from digestive issues like constipation, gas, or diarrhea, colonic hydrotherapy might be just what you need to get your body back on track so that it can do its job efficiently.
What is Colon Hydrotherapy?
There are toxins pretty much everywhere and, unfortunately, many wind up finding their way into our bodies.
Our food, water, and environment all harbor these harmful bacteria and can cause unpleasant symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress.
While our digestive system is equipped to expel these toxins, colon hydrotherapy can help with natural process and improve the function of your colon, especially if you suffer from digestive issues.
Colon hydrotherapy is also commonly referred to as colonic irrigation or colon cleansing. And yes, it’s similar to an enema, but uses more liquid.
Also, colon hydrotherapy can use special herbs, enzymes, or probiotics to boost the medicinal properties.
How Colonic Hydrotherapy Works
Essentially, fluids are poured through a tube that has been inserted into the rectum.
The fluid is then released as a normal bowel movement, expelling with it mucus, bacteria, and toxins. The process can be repeated several times and the entire process from start to finish can last up to an hour (1).
So what are the health benefits of colon cleansing? And is colon hydrotherapy safe?
Colon Hydrotherapy Benefits
1. It get things moving.
If you’ve never experienced constipation, count yourself lucky.
An estimated 4 million individuals in the United States suffer from frequent constipation and an astonishing 900 people die annually from diseases linked to the condition (2).
Ideally, you should be going to the bathroom at least once a day. Going a few days without moving your bowels can lead to some seriously unpleasant symptoms like bloating, gas, and weight gain.
Historically, colon cleanses have long been used as a treatment for constipation. In fact, ancient Egyptians were among the first to pioneer the use of colon cleanses thousands of years ago.
Evidence suggests that the use of colon hydrotherapy can help alleviate constipation and get bowels moving (3).
This works through two mechanisms: the fluid helps soften stool while the nozzle of the enema works by loosening the rectum, quickly and easily treating constipation.
2. It helps detoxify the colon.
Our body does a pretty incredible job at detoxing itself. But over the years, toxins and bacteria can start to build up and take a toll on the body.
Many toxins that enter our body, regardless of the source, will end up making it all the way to the colon.
Colon hydrotherapy is a great way to help the colon do its job and remove any harmful bacteria.
Ridding the body of toxins and waste can help with digestion while promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal flora. Removing lingering toxins can also help improve nutrient absorption and overall health.
3. It boosts weight loss.
If weight loss is your goal, colon hydrotherapy might be what you’re looking for to kickstart the process.
Colon cleanses work by essentially clearing your colon of all the build-up and stool, so it’s no wonder that you’re going to be shedding a few pounds in the process.
Colon hydrotherapy can also help with continued weight loss by clearing up constipation, deflating bloat, and increasing nutrient absorption.
Paired with a high-fiber diet and plenty of hydration, colon hydrotherapy can be an effective tool in revving up weight loss.
4. It improves the immune system.
The intestines are just one of our body’s natural defense systems. In addition to the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system, the intestines are responsible for keeping us healthy by excreting dangerous bacteria.
Colon hydrotherapy helps with this process by pulling out built-up toxins, which helps give our immune systems a boost.
5. It promotes colon health.
High-fiber diets have been repeatedly linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the protective effect of fiber can be attributed to its ability to add bulk to the digestive system and shorten the travel time of waste through the colon (4).
Colon hydrotherapy performs a similar mechanism by cleaning out the intestines, preventing waste from building up, and speeding up transit time by spurring a bowel movement.
It also softens stool and makes it easier to pass, keeping the colon clear and blocking the build-up of toxins that can lead to the formation of growths, cysts, and polyps.
6. It can increase fertility.
Obese men can also have decreased fertility. This is attributed to the effect of excess weight on hormone and semen production.
Cleansing the colon helps shed extra pounds and jumpstart weight loss. This can lead to an increase in fertility as well as alleviate problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome that can affect hormone balance.
7. It maintains pH levels in the blood.
Acid-forming foods like meat, sugar, refined grains, and processed foods are the most common culprits when it comes to causing blockages in the colon.
Not only does this lead to inflammation and a general feeling of fatigue and sluggishness, it can also keep the colon from doing its job.
If the digestive system isn’t working properly and can’t efficiently remove waste and bacteria, it can cause toxins and bacteria to escape into the bloodstream. This can cause alterations in the pH balance of the blood, leading to a condition called acidosis.
Common symptoms include drowsiness, headache, confusion, and shortness of breath (6).
8. It boosts our digestive system.
Removing built-up toxins and bacteria that may be coating your intestines can help streamline the efficiency of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Cleansing the colon allows for greater nutrient absorption, clearing the path so that your body can get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs from the foods we eat.
It also helps to ease the burden on the colon so that it can work even better by removing blockages, relieving constipation, and keeping the GI tract totally clear.
Is Colon Hydrotherapy Safe?
While colon cleansing is a generally safe practice, it should be practiced with caution to avoid potentially harmful side effects.
Some of the most common problems experienced include nausea, vomiting, bloating, and cramping.
When undergoing colon hydrotherapy, you are also at an increased risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can be especially harmful if you have underlying health issues like kidney or heart problems.
Bowel perforation and risk of infection are two other potential risks as well.
As always, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before trying a colon cleanse, especially if you’re taking any medications or have health problems that could be affected.
Tips for Colon Hydrotherapy
1. Stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water is a must if you are doing colonic hydrotherapy. Because you are at an increased risk of dehydration and electrolyte balance due to the large amount of fluid used, make sure that you are taking extra care to stay hydrated.
2. Prevent infection.
Any time you are inserting a foreign object into the body, you’re at an increased risk of infection. This same principle holds true for colon hydrotherapy.
To reduce the risk of infection, make sure that your practitioner is using disposable equipment only that has never been previously used. This is crucial in staying safe from potentially harmful bacteria that can cause some serious health issues.
3. Talk to your doctor.
If you’re using an herbal solution, you should get a list of ingredients that will be used in your colon cleanse to take to your doctor. Some ingredients can interact with medications or might not be the best choice for you depending on your medical history.
Your doctor will be able to take your health concerns into consideration in determining what the best fit is for you to keep you safe.
A Healthy Lifestyle
Colonic hydrotherapy can be a useful tool to maintain optimal digestive health, but it can’t replace the foundations of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables to up your fiber consumption, minimize your intake of processed foods and junk foods, and drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
You’ll be well on your way to a healthy digestive system in no time.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.