You've probably heard about colonics by now; you may have even seen it on TV as a "red carpet treatment" for celebrities. Search it on YouTube and you can watch someone having it done. It's an alternative way of eliminating waste out of your body without the conventional means of using the toilet.
What is it?
The formal name for the treatment is colon hydrotherapy, and it removes waste from the large intestine without the use of drugs. There are no fire hoses, no sharp metal objects and no suction devices.
Who's doing it?
Celebrities known to like their colonics include: Avril Lavigne; Sylvester Stallone; Pamela Anderson; Madonna; Woody Harrelson and Alicia Silverstone.
Kelly Callas, who runs Intestinal Fitness, a successful colonics clinic in LA, has been doing it since 1997. She became a colonics convert for personal reasons.
"I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, poor digestion and had tried a lot of traditional treatments, which didn't work. So I tried colonic irrigation and it really was a cornerstone in my recovery," Callas explains.
"Warm filtered water gets infused into the colon through a disposable rectal tube and your waste material is softened, loosened and eliminated.
"Just like going to the chiropractor for an adjustment, this is a 45-minute colon workout that leaves people feeling relaxed, happier and with a sense of well-being."
She says the reason many celebrities have colonics is because they're very sensitive and have intense, demanding careers they turn to it as an alternative therapy and stress reliever.
"What I've noticed is celebrities are very affected by stress. They work intensely hard, and they relax hard too," Callas says.
"Because your emotional shockers sit over your colon, stress is held in that area. So while there are a few who like using colonics to achieve a flat stomach even though I don't promote it as a weight-loss solution having a colonic de-stresses them."
When not to do it…
According to Callas, when practiced properly, colon hydrotherapy sessions are extremely safe. However, there are some situations (called contraindications) in which you should not have a session for example, if you have any of the following: congestive heart failure; uncontrolled hypertension; aneurysm; severe anaemia; intestinal bleeding or perforation; colon cancer; recent surgery; Crohn's Disease, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, cirrhosis, abdominal hernia, fissure, fistula and severe haemorrhoids.
First- or third-trimester pregnancy, liver or kidney insufficiencies, undiagnosed abdominal pain or the use of certain medications may also prevent you from receiving colon hydrotherapy.
A good therapist will pre-screen your health history for any possible contraindications, and a prescription from your doctor may also be required.
For more information, Callas recommends checking out the International Association for Colon Therapy, which lists more than 2000 practicing colon therapists from around the world, including Australia.
How often to you recommend getting a colonic?
Colon hygiene is just as important as dental hygiene. For health maintenance, I usually suggest colon hydrotherapy once a month.
Is it for everyone?
Some people think if their bowel movements are regular, it's not necessary, but today we live in a world with more than 70,000 man-made chemicals, so we're continually exposed to toxicity not only in our environment, but also in our food and water supply as well. The best protection is to have a strong immune system. Recent research suggests as much as 70-80 percent of immune tissue resides in the intestinal tract. As our knowledge increases, I believe colon hydrotherapy will emerge as an important factor in longevity.
What are some recommended tips for having a happy, healthy colon?
- Breathe. The breath is our basic life-force. Deep breathing not only relaxes you, but allows your diaphragm to work on your intestines like a rubbish compactor.
- Reduces stress. Stress creates constriction and compression in the intestines and is acid-forming in the body. Even in the busiest situations, you should take three deep breaths and stretch.
- Drink plenty of clean water. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half and drink that amount of water in ounces each day.
- Eat more fibre. A balanced diet includes a blend of soluble and insoluble fibre, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
- Add essential oils. Oils, such as olive, coconut, fish, and flaxseed, help lubricate the colon and nurture the hormonal system.
- Take probiotics daily. Good bacteria, or probiotics, are a vital part of the intestine's ecosystem. They act like fertiliser for the garden, keeping out the weeds (bad bacteria) and letting it flourish.
- Supplement with digestive enzymes. You are not what you eat, but you are what you digest. Enzymes help your food break down and assimilate for optimal nourishment.