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Colonic Massage & Hydrotherapy

Updated on January 11, 2017
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Susette has a practical, lifelong interest in good physical & mental health, including the environment that sustains us all.

Cleaning your colon is an essential first step to increasing the health of your digestive system and the healing of most diseases. Eating a healthy diet is one way to keep it clean. But if it's already clogged, the most effective and gentle way to clean it is with water - a hydrocolonic.

The practice of cleansing your colon with water, reading the results, and giving counsel on how to increase the health of the colon is known as "colonic hydrotherapy." Specialists to look for are those with formal training and certification in hydrotherapy, who have the right equipment, and who know how to administer the treatment in a sensitive manner. Here is a description of how the colon works, why it's important to keep it clean, and how to find a good hydrotherapist.

Colon Function

The colon is the last part of a body's digestive system. Its main functions are to:

  • Digest the hardest, last portions of food

  • Receive and eliminate toxins collected by the liver

  • Recover most of the water to send back into the body

  • Send out of the body everything that can't be digested

Gastro-Intestinal System

Large intestine (colon) is green. Note how many organs are around it. Those behind and touching it are kidneys, pancreas, spleen, appendix, adrenals, and bladder.
Large intestine (colon) is green. Note how many organs are around it. Those behind and touching it are kidneys, pancreas, spleen, appendix, adrenals, and bladder. | Source

When undigested food reaches the colon it's mostly liquid, which it's the colon's job to remove. The colon's walls are like a subtle vacuum that suck water out as it moves the wastes along, sending the water through tiny vessels of the bloodstream back into the body for reuse.

In the meantime, the liver is busy sorting through nutrients just digested to take out anything toxic - like artificial chemicals and medications, alcohol, harmful viruses and bacteria - before releasing nutrients into the bloodstream. It neutralizes the toxins it removes and sends them to the colon, which forwards them out of the body, along with leftover food wastes. If the colon is blocked near the point of arrival, it blocks the ability of the liver to release toxins. When toxins are backed up in the liver too long, they end up causing cancer.

By the time waste material in the colon reaches the rectum for elimination, it should be a semi-solid glob that's easy to push out. If it's anything other than that: rock hard, liquidy, or not at all, there are problems. Relieving these problems are what a colonic is for. Oncologist Douglas Brodie, M.D. has noticed that liver cancer, especially, responds well to colonic hydrotherapy. (Walker, Medical Journalist Report, link below)

Problems with Colon Function

From the chart below it's clear that a healthy colon keeps a body healthy, while an unhealthy one creates multiple problems. The toxins recirculated through the body, via water reabsorbed from an unhealthy colon, create a general feeling of malaise and weakness, which can lead to active disease when other factors are added (e.g. over-acidity that creates an environment in which harmful bacteria thrive). "Seriously ill patients tend to be chronically constipated which results in generalized toxemia," wrote gastrointestinal surgeon Dr. Leonard Smith, who refers patients for a colonic massage and hydrotherapy in his practice. (Walker, Medical Journalist Report)

Colon Problems
Walls lined with sticky matter
Can't absorb water - wastes too liquid.
Compacted wastes
Accumulates, grows, pushes against organs nearby.
Moves too slow
Too much water absorbed - wastes harden.
Contents too acid
Harmful bacteria multiply, causing disease.
Compacted and acid
Turns into sewage - toxins reabsorbed with water.
Wastes too liquid
Body dehydrates - can't absorb enough back.
Wastes too solid
Pushing it out hurts and causes ruptures in blood vessels (hemorrhoids).

Colon Hydro Cleansing Procedure

So you know what it's like, here is a description of my first hydrocolonic. I really liked the therapist, who was warm, sensitive, and knowledgeable. When I first went into her office I was a little nervous, not knowing what to expect, but she patiently explained everything that was going to happen and answered my questions, while I filled out medical history forms.

This video shows two therapists, one simulating a patient, answering questions commonly asked by their patients and describing what the procedure feels like.

The treatment room was small and cozy, the bed of similar comfort to a massage bed. There was a machine at the foot of the bed with a clear window in it. The therapist went out of the room, while I changed clothes into a hospital-type gown she had provided and lay down on the bed on my back.

When she came back in, she massaged my stomach a little to relax me and find out if there were any serious blockages (there weren't). Then she greased a sterile, disposable speculum, attached it to the machine, and inserted it gently into my rectum an inch or two. She turned the machine on, telling me what she was doing, and it slowly filled me with warm, filtered water. When I told her I was full, she switched the machine to slowly drain, and described to me the things I could see coming out of my colon and passing through the clear window.

She continued to put water in, take it out, put it in, take it out for a little longer than half an hour until nothing substantial was showing anymore. We talked part of the time and I dozed part of the time. Then we were done. I changed clothes, we talked about future sessions and I paid her, then I left feeling lighter and well pleased.

Benefits of Colonic Hydrotherapy

In addition to the light, clean feeling that comes with having a colonic treatment, there are a number of concrete health benefits:

  • Constipation - A massage and hydrocolonic opens up any blocks you might have. Although the first treatment will not necessarily remove all of the wastes that have compacted against your bowel walls over the years, it will start the process. You may need a few more treatments to remove everything, so your bowel walls are clean and flexible again like they're supposed to be. It also does not remove whatever bad habits got you constipated in the first place. Those will change with dietary changes you make.

  • Detox - A normally functioning, healthy colon does not need to be detoxed - nothing stays in it long enough to become sewage. But for people who eliminate wastes only once a month or more (I've heard of someone only going twice a YEAR), this procedure can have a detoxing effect as it washes out that sewage. Detoxing will give you more energy, because your body will not have to fight against the toxins your colon was sucking back into it with the water.

Bloated Stomach - This person clearly has blockage somewhere and has had for awhile.
Bloated Stomach - This person clearly has blockage somewhere and has had for awhile. | Source
  • Weight loss - Everything you eat carries weight to a degree, as does whatever accumulates in your colon. For most people that's not much, but for those who are really impacted, especially in more than one place, having a colonic can actually make you lose weight. You can tell by how big your abdomen is compared with the rest of your body (unless you're pregnant). I have heard of people with big stomachs losing up to 15 pounds in fecal matter alone.

  • Flexibility - When wastes cling to the colon walls for a period of time, they begin to harden. That stops your colon walls, which are mostly muscle, from being as flexible as they need to be. What the muscles normally do is expand and contract in a rhythmic motion that moves the wastes along (peristalsis), but in places where they've hardened they stop working. This makes the wastes stop when they get there and start piling up. This is why it's important to continue treatments until the walls are clear too, otherwise you just keep getting constipated in that same stiff spot.

  • Flatulence and Bloating - These are caused by discards from parasites that have accumulated in an unhealthy bowel. When the parasites are removed, the flatulence stops as well.

  • Improved organ function - The colon touches almost every organ in your abdomen. Whenever matter compacts in the colon and grows, the colon expands to accommodate it and pushes against whichever organ is near that spot. This causes great pain - which can explain unexpected back pains, since there are major nerves and arteries that can be pressed against too.

    It can also, over time, cause the neighboring organ to malfunction. If a person is so used to being constipated that they don't realize what's causing the malfunction, they often go to a doctor for treatment of the organ. The doctor gives them drugs. They go home, the bowel blockage goes away, but they're still taking the drugs, which can really mess up a person's body.

    This happens to a lot of people. If you are one of them, be sure to tell your hydrotherapist what drugs you are taking before you start treatment. Tell your regular doctor that you cleaned yourself out too. Between them, they can tell you whether you can stop the drugs immediately or will need to ease off of them over a period of time.

Pregnancy - It's important to be cautious during pregnancy to keep the delicate balance a growing fetus needs to end up a healthy baby.
Pregnancy - It's important to be cautious during pregnancy to keep the delicate balance a growing fetus needs to end up a healthy baby. | Source

Colonic Irrigation Cautions

  • Pregnancy - To treat a pregnancy with the full respect it deserves, it's a good idea to get a hydrocolonic before getting pregnant, not during. This will make your body healthier during the first crucial trimester. Pregnancy requires a woman's body to keep a delicate balance, since all the nutrients she eats will go to the growing fetus first. It's only after the baby is fed that food goes to the woman. So a sudden change in a woman's health, good or bad, can throw that balance off. If you're already pregnant, talk to your therapist and your gynecologist first to see if a colonic is a good idea. Remember that a hydrocolonic is a lot safer than the other kinds of colonics.

  • Cancer - It probably doesn't need to be said, but if you have cancer of the bowel, it's not a good idea to get a hydrocolonic, until you've had whatever surgery is needed. The water movements can help any loose bits of cancer to spread, and so can speculum insertion, if that's where the cancer is. Certain types of herbal cleanses would likely work better. However, once as much has been removed as possible, then hydrocolonics can help the bowel heal the rest of the way by removing wastes and creating a much more congenial atmosphere for healing.

  • Hernia, hemorrhoids, recent surgery - These are all good reasons to wait on a having a hydrocolonic until the condition has healed.

  • Does not replace health - Those who are relatively healthy already don't need to worry about this item. Those who are often constipated or have regular diarrhea, though, should note that dietary and exercise changes will be necessary in order to maintain and build on the good, fresh way you feel after a hydrocolonic.

Traits of a Good Colonic Therapist

Here are some things to look for when choosing a good therapist. In addition to the recommendations of friends, you can ask questions over the phone before scheduling a session, or see if they are willing to give you an introductory appointment first. Then ask these questions, along with whatever else you want to know:

This video shows instructions for therapists in how to conduct a session. There's a little commercial for the center at the end.

  • How recent is your training and what kind of certification do you have?

  • Have your premises passed a health inspection test?

  • Do you carry full public liability insurance?

  • How long is a treatment session? (Must take at least 30 minutes to be effective.)

  • Do you use sterilized and disposable speculums and tubing? How do you clean the machine?

  • Do you massage during treatment, and what happens if it's necessary to take a toilet break?

  • Make sure they take a health history first, and also discuss lifestyle and diet.

To find a good therapist anywhere in Great Britain check the 2nd and 3rd links below. To find one in the United States and internationally check the 4th link below.

Supplemental Colonic Treatments

Having a once in awhile colonic does not make up for lack of physical care. It can clean out your bowels and make you feel good for a short while, but then it's up to you to keep yourself feeling good long term. This means giving yourself regular treatments of a minor sort - like coffee enemas for liver health, herbal treatments, abdominal massages - with a hydrocolonic two or three times a year, more often if you're prone to constipation.

Most important of all is keeping yourself exercised so all your organs move regularly, drinking enough water, and eating a good balance of foods with lots of fiber - more alkaline than acid (veggies and fruits more than meat, coffee, or alcohol).

Colon Hydro Treatment Detractors

If you look up "colon hydrotherapy" in Wikipedia (which refers you to colon cleansing) you will find a slightly mocking definition written by a doctor who claims to represent the American Medical Association (AMA). But his definition shows that he has little experience with colonics.

One of the links below is an article with statements from several AMA doctors who do have experience with colonic hydrotherapy, who support the practice of it, and who refer patients for treatment whenever necessary. Hydrocolonic treatments are popular for a reason - because they work.


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    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very informative and well presented hub! I have never heard of Colonics before. So I found your hub educational, and learning stuff is good!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I have to say, I love this hub. The subject is actually something which really interests me! I even posted a question about colonics a couple of months back to see if anyone recommends them. I've always wanted one, but somehow get a bit worried. I guess it's whether it's safe or not - although after reading this, I know what to look for in a good therapist.

      Voting this one up and useful :)

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      Anything related to the colon can be a turnoff for many people, but colon health is so-o-o important! I've seen quotes by doctors who say that the majority of illnesses we have can be directly traced back to an unhealthy colon and stuffed liver (i.e. it's run out of storage space for toxins it can't send to the colon, so they get passed on through the blood). Thanks for your comments.

      Emma - did many people respond to your query? Perhaps they would like to read this too.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      A couple of people did - they were more curious about what it is. I should point them in the direction of this hub!

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago

      That would be cool, thanks!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      You explained the function do the colon very well. While I was reading this I was thinking that people need a better education about the colon and what it does. With that understanding they might focus better on being good to their colon in order to have a healthy body. Your article comes in very handy for that.

      I can't imagine that person you mentioned who eliminates only twice a year. How unhealthy that person must be.

      That hydrocolonic treatment is interesting. I once became constipated and I just went on a liquid diet for three days. That works just as well, completely cleanses the colon and allows healing.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 3 years ago

      That must be why so many mystics recommend fasting, Glenn. Do it on a regular basis and it will keep you clean. I'm guessing you don't eat much cheese or white flour though, as compared to fresh vegetables and fruit, am I right? Those are usually what gunks up a person's colon.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Yes you're right. I like to be healthy and I never eat anything made from white flour. I use whole wheat items that have fiber. As for cheese, I rarely eat cheese for the same reason. And I stay away from processed foods. That's why I usually never have problems. Thanks for asking.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 3 years ago

      Good for you! That's good validation for other people who are thinking of changing to a better diet.

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