Frequently Asked Questions on Colon Cleansing
What is colon hydrotherapy?
Also known as a "colonic", "colon irrigation", "high colonic", or "colon lavage", colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective method used for cleansing the colon of fecal matter, bacteria, mucous and other toxins by repeated, gentle infusion of purified water into the bowel. For a deeper understanding please read about colon hydrotherapy with the Angel of Water on our home page.
The colon - what is that again?
The colon, or the large intestine, is the end portion of the human digestive tract (food carrying passageway extending from the mouth to the anus), it is a large muscle and connected to the nervous system. A healthy colon is approximately 5 feet long and 2 inches in diameter. As the colon becomes weighed down with excess fecal matter, over growth of bad bacteria and mucous it begins to stretch and loose its shape and muscle tone. Its major functions are to eliminate waste and conserve water. Also, there are good bacteria living in the colon which synthesize valuable nutrients such as vitamins "K" and portions of the "B" complex. As well 70-80% of the immune system or MALT (mucosa associated lymphatic tissue) resides in the bowel. You can appreciate why colonics are so important to maintaining our overall health.
What is the purpose of having colon hydrotherapy?
Well, waste material, especially that which has remained in the colon for some time (i.e. impacted feces, dead cellular tissue, accumulated mucous, parasites, worms etc.) pose several problems. First, this material is quite toxic (poisonous). These poisons can re-enter and circulate in the blood stream making us feel ill, tired or weak, and can lead to cardiovascular disease, fatty liver, gallstones, constipation, acne etc. Second, impacted materials impair the colon's ability to assimilate minerals and bacteria-produced vitamins. And finally, a build-up of material on the colon wall can inhibit muscular action causing sluggish bowel movements, constipation, or IBS (irritated bowel syndrome), as well as allergies.
How can I tell if I have toxic material in my colon?
This condition is prevalent in all civilized societies, particularly in North America. Common signs include headaches, backaches, joint pain, constipation, fatigue, bad breath, body odour, irritability, confusion, skin blemishes, allergies, abdominal gas, bloating, diarrhea, kidney stones, gallstones, sciatic pain and so forth. As you can see, intestinal toxicity is part of many peoples' everyday experience. Your bowel is your sewage system for your entire body, if it is not clean the rest of the body suffers also.
Is intestinal toxicity a common condition?
Yes it is, but toxicity is not limited to just the colon. Toxic material is found throughout the body, particularly in fat tissue, joints, arteries, muscles, the liver, etc. Colon hydrotherapy effectively eliminates large quantities of toxic waste, taking pressure off the rest of the body organs, thus allowing the whole body to work more effectively. This is why people often comment on joint pain relief, or a glow in their skin, decrease in acne and improved overall energy after having colonics.Your bowel plays a central role in the effective functioning of all systems in the body.
But the colon is not the only organ of elimination. What makes colon hydrotherapy so important?
While the lungs, skin, kidneys and liver also serve to eliminate toxins, people throughout history have experienced that when the colon is cleansed and healed, the well-being of the whole body is greatly enhanced. Colon hydrotherapy has been found to be the most effective process available to accomplish this work quickly and easily. In any cleanse or detoxification program you must always start by cleaning the colon and opening this channel of elimination. Otherwise the other organs of elimination can become over taxed and further congested. Your colon therapist is trained in the appropriate and safe introduction of whole body detoxification, in the proper order for enhanced health.
Okay, it appears to be important to cleanse the colon, but why not use enemas, suppositories or laxatives instead?
Well, everything has its proper place, but those things really are not substitutes for colon hydrotherapy. Enemas are useful for emptying the rectum (the first 6 to 12 inches of the colon) with only 1-2 L of water, where as a colonic cleanses the entire 5-6 feet. Suppositories are intended to accomplish the same task. Laxatives, particularly herbal laxatives, are formulated for constipation but can be extremely irritating to the intestinal walls. They irritate along the entire digestive tract because they are taken orally. This can greatly impair the absorption functions of the small intestine. This is also why laxatives are never recommended for long term use; their side effects are awful, and eventually they stop working, making the problem worse.
What makes a colonic so special?
In a 40-45 minute session, as much as 16 to 20 gallons of water are used to gently flush the colon. Through the appropriate use of massage, and acupressure points which your colon therapist will show you, you are able to work loose and eliminate far more toxic waste than any other short-term technique. The second, and subsequent colonics, will remove more. How many you may wish to have will depend upon your personal objectives and the recommendations of your therapist.
What will colon hydrotherapy do to the colon?
Cleanses the colon: toxic material is broken down so it can no longer harm your body or inhibit assimilation and elimination. Even debris built up over a long period is gently, but surely removed in the process of a series of colonics. Once impacted material is removed, your colon can begin again to cooperate as it was meant to. In this very real sense, a colonic is a rejuvenation treatment.
Exercises the colon muscles: the build up of toxic debris weakens the colon and impairs its functioning. The gentle filling and emptying of the colon improves peristaltic (muscular contraction) activity by which the colon naturally moves material.
Reshapes the colon: when problem conditions exist in the colon, they tend to alter its shape, which in turn causes more problems. The gentle actions of the water, coupled with the massage techniques, helps to eliminate bulging pockets of waste and narrowed, spastic constrictions finally enabling the colon to resume its natural state. Reshaping the bowel takes time, many colonics as well as guided exercises for you to do at home.
Stimulates reflex points: every system and organ of the body is connected to the colon by reflex points. A colonic stimulates these points, thereby affecting the corresponding body parts in a beneficial way (similar to reflexology, but less painful).
Are there any additional benefits I might expect from a colonic?
Yes, there are several. When working with a skilled therapist, a colonic can easily be a truly educational process. You will learn to expand your awareness of your body's functioning by listening to signals from you abdomen, skin, face and even from your bowel eliminations. You will find that you can spot the early developing conditions before they become serious, through clues from these body regions and functions. You will also get a great education on what foods or diet guidelines are best for you and your long term health.
I go to the bathroom everyday often three times a day. Would I still benefit from colonics?
Many people think that if their bowel movements are regular then they would not benefit from colon hydrotherapy. However what you are neglecting to factor in is the level of toxins we are exposed to everyday from our environment, our foods and water. In a world where we are exposed to over 70,000 man-made toxins, it is impossible to live without absorbing those toxins into the body. In addition 70-80% of our immune system (that which allows us to fend of disease) is located in our large intestine. Colon cleansing allows you to reduce the burden of toxicity so you can be more in control of your own health. If you have regular full bowel movements you may only need to do a few colonics a year to maintain vibrant health and prevent disease from creeping up in your life. You will be surprised at how much elimination you see in your session, even with having regular bowel movements.
What are the characteristics of a healthy, well functioning colon?
Healthy babies, animals and adults not subjected to the "refinements" of civilization (i.e. aboriginal peoples) have bowel movements shortly after each meal is eaten. So, assuming there is sufficient fibre and water available to the colon, one characteristic is a bowel movement shortly after a meal is eaten. Once the urge to eliminate is rewarded by a trip to the toilet, the elimination should be easy and take no more than 10 seconds. The stool will be long, large in diameter, light brown in colour, without offensive odour and should float or sink very slowly. When the toilet is flushed, the stool immediately begins breaking apart by the action of water movement. As incredible as this may sound, it is true and commonly experienced in cultures where people live more naturally and by eating only whole foods, as nature intended.
How can I tell if I would personally benefit from a colonic?
Does your colon now exhibit the signs of a well functioning colon? If not, one or more sessions with a knowledgeable colon therapist may bring you great awareness and cleansing.
Will the colonic be painful?
It rarely is. Usually, painful experiences are the result of resistance, tension or anxiety. A professional colon therapist is skilled at putting you at ease and minimizing discomfort. Most people actually enjoy the colonic and are especially pleased with the unaccustomed sensation of feeling lighter, clean and clear afterward. Sometimes during a colonic, the colon muscles will contract suddenly expelling considerable amounts of liquid waste into the rectum. This may feel like cramping or gas, and may create a feeling of urgency to empty the rectum. Such episodes, if they occur, are brief and easily tolerated. As toxins move from the body it is also not uncommon to feel some nausea or chills. This is a detox sign, and usually means that some heavy toxins are being safely removed from your body.
Is it embarrassing to get a colonic?
No. You will fully maintain your personal dignity. You will be in a private room and able to contact your therapist through a two-way radio. Your therapist will only be in the room at your request and to fill the water tank. Your therapist is aware and respectful of the colonic procedure and will help you feel at ease. Your emotions will be acknowledged and honoured. You are completely covered for your whole session, after you gently insert the lubricated pencil thin nozzle into the rectum, your therapist will return to the room where you will both turn on the water together. The mess and odour sometimes present during an enema or other systems of colon hydrotherapy simply does not exist with the Angel of Water colon hydrotherapy system. Please visit http://www.angelofwater.com/how-it-works/ for a full description, or view the animation on our site.
How long does a treatment take?
Actual treatment time is about 45 minutes, but you should plan a total session visit of one hour in duration. Your first session will be a little longer as there are intake forms to fill out and your therapist will take time to explain the machine and process to you.
What can I expect afterwards?
Most likely, you will feel great! You probably will feel lighter and enjoy a greater sense of well being. Most people remark that after getting their first colonic, that it was one of the most wonderful experiences of their life. After your colonic you can go about your normal daily activities, you wont be running for the toilet. It's also possible you may feel light-headed or chilled for a few minutes following a colonic. Your therapist will give you guidance as to what foods or beverages will be best suited for you following your colonic.
I have been told that to be beneficial, one needs to "take a series" of colonics. What does that mean, and is it true?
It is important to be aware of your objective when working with a colon therapist. For example, if your objective is to quickly recover from the flu, or lower a fever, or eliminate a lower backache, very possibly one or two colonics may be all that is needed. However, perhaps your objective is to overcome a life-long habit of constipation, to learn to create multiple daily bowel movements and to achieve vital optimum health. To do this may require, in addition to possible dietary, exercise and attitudinal changes, regular colonic treatments for some time. How many depends on the condition of your body and how well it responds to treatment. Having colonics regularly for a while, such as daily, weekly or multiple times a week, is what is referred to as a "series". Many colon therapists believe that to obtain results of lasting benefit, a series of colonics must be undertaken. Again, this can only be properly considered once and objective has been identified.
If colonics are so good, why haven't I heard about them before?
In a way, the answer to that is a commentary on our present-day lifestyle. Historic records show that people have regularly purified their bodies, including cleansing the colon. Around the turn of the 20th century, the present-day colonic machine was developed, providing a significantly improved method of accomplishing colon cleansing. Up to the late 1920's, many medical doctors had colonic machines in their offices, and machines were found in hospitals as well. Articles dealing with colon health frequently appeared in prestigious medical and scientific journals until the early 1930's. At that time the modern man and physician began a love affair with drugs and surgery. These seemed to offer relatively instant relief for body aliments resulting in purification and prevention techniques becoming less attractive. As side effects of drugs and dangers of surgery become more readily known, a resurgence in prevention and natural approaches to health are being explored. Colonics have rapidly been regaining the respectability they have already earned.
Are colonics dangerous in any way?
Being an essentially natural process, there is virtually no danger with a colonic. Skilled therapists will exercise extra care with an elderly person who is severely constipated. Also, colonics are never performed on pregnant women, a person with currently active ulcerative colitis, or following recent surgery. Our intent is to provide a safe and healthy service so that you do not have to worry. The Angel of Water is the only completely non-porous unit, and we only is disposable nozzles for each treatment. Clean blankets are used for each colonic as well. Purified water free of chlorine, fluoride, bacteria and sediment is mandatory. Chlorine destroys good bacteria in the colon. Each machine has its own separate filtration and water purification system. By using the open system for colon hydrotherapy and the Angel of Water there is no risk of building pressure or puncturing of the bowel, because you are able to stop the water at anytime and you are able to push and release water, gas, bacteria and fecal matter. The Angel of Water is the safest method of colon hydrotherapy available.
I am worried that I could become dependant on colonics. If I get too many, the colon may stop functioning on its own. Are colonics habit forming?
The colonic is a tool intended to be used to create a clean and healthy colon, while also improving its strength and tone. A colon therapist who is dedicated to your health will encourage you to set a goal of having a well functioning colon. Our fulfillment comes from assisting you in healing your colon, not making it dependant upon colonics. By improving the strength and tone of the colon muscles, the colon will not perform so sluggishly. Many people have sluggish colons. It may take days for bowel movements to return after a good colonic. This is when people think they are becoming "dependant" on colonics. One good colonic is worth 20 to 30 regular bowel movements, so it may take some time for fecal matter to build up in the colon once again if one has a sluggish colon. If bowel movements do not return for a few (3) days after one colonic, it is an indication that extensive colon work is needed to remove built up debris and strengthen your bowel.
Can I still have a colonic done at the time of my menstrual period?
Yes, in fact it's a great time to receive a treatment, since your body is already cleansing. Your flow will not interfere with the success of the treatment. We simply ask that you not wear a tampon as this can be uncomfortable for you during the session. Colonics during your menstrual cycle can actually easy PMS symptoms and make your period much easier. As toxins are decreased in the body, there is less congestion overall to be released monthly through your period. The Angel of Water allows you to have a mini shower after your session so you will feel fresh and clean afterwards.
Will one colonic completely empty the colon?
Almost never. First of all, many of us have considerable amounts of impacted feces (hardened, rubbery like matter) in our colons. Substantial work must be done to remove it. Second, there is a subtle learning process involved in receiving colonics. As you become more aware of what is going on in your abdomen, and as your body learns to allow the cleansing experiences, you are better able to release more material. One colonic will remove some of the stagnant waste in the colon. The second and subsequent colonics will remove more. How many you wish to have will depend upon your personal objectives, as well as your dietary changes.
Can colon hydrotherapy be used to prepare for colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy?
Yes most definitely. Colonics are a fantastic and through way to cleanse your colon before these treatments. Following a specific protocol provided by your therapist in combination with recommendations from your physician or GI specialist, you can avoid having to drink the harsh laxatives that affect the entire digestive tract. Colon hydrotherapy can gently and conveniently prepare your body for either a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
Some people say that colonics wash out our intestinal flora and valuable nutrients. Is this true?
The truth is that washing out of putrefied material in the large intestine, which is only partially reached in any colonic treatment, increases the good intestinal flora. Good bacteria can only breed in a clean environment, which has been washed free of putrefaction and it's accompanying harmful bacteria. That is why the intestines of a newborn baby immediately begin to grow good intestinal flora. Each time you clean out the putrefying garbage and make a better environment for the flora, they start to multiply immediately in their natural media. It also stands to reason that valuable nutrients can only be absorbed in a clean environment than a putrefied one. Following each session your therapist will provide you with a probiotic (good bacteria) to help assist the body in rebuilding healthy bacteria. It is also recommended that you purchase and take probiotics during the course of your colonic series.
With all this talk of bacteria, I wonder what effect colon hydrotherapy will have on our immune systems?
The removal of stagnant waste material and hardened, impacted toxic residue could rejuvenate the immune tissue that resides in the intestines. Recent European studies speculate that 80% of immune tissue resides in the intestines. This is much higher than previously thought and makes it logical to believe that this type of therapy could strengthen the immune system. If cleaning the outside of your car makes it look shiny and new, imagine what cleansing the inside of your body will do for you, and especially your immune system.
I've heard that I shouldn't get colonics because it upsets the electrolyte balance. What's that all about?
Electrolytes are the minerals in the body (mainly sodium and potassium salts) which maintain the proper electrical charge and pH balance (acid and alkaline balance) in the various organs and tissues of the body. The majority of material released during a colonic is formed stool that has already had the fluid and electrolytes removed from it. So the amount lost is very minimal and easily replaced by the body from the food and fluids we ingest. If a client feels particularly weak after a session we will provide you with an electrolyte drink to have following your session.
Will a colonic clear up my skin?
Your skin actually "breathes" and is an important organ of elimination of waste material. Sometimes if the colon, liver or kidneys are functioning poorly, the skin will be required to make up the difference. Surface eruptions on the skin of various sorts may occur due to toxins being released. Cleansing and healing the colon diminishes the burden placed upon the skin as well as on the other organs of elimination; the lungs, liver and kidneys. As elimination is accomplished through its proper channels, the skin will very often clear up.
What do you think about having a colonic as a part of a fasting program, and do you think its better to have it at the beginning or end of a fast?
Whenever you do anything that increases the rate at which toxins are released into the bloodstream, it is essential that you eliminate whatever you can through the colon. If you don't, you may unnecessarily experience increased discomforts of toxemia (poisonous toxins in the bloodstream). Instead of being expelled from your body, toxins may merely recirculate and settle elsewhere in organs, joints, muscles or tissues. Whether you use colonics or some other elimination aid, you must do something daily. A knowledgeable colon therapist can be of great assistance during any cleansing program. You may find it beneficial to schedule a colonic at the beginning of your fast and ask the therapist to comment upon your plan. It is often best to do one to two colonics a week during your fast, always start with one at the beginning of the fast. Between colonics you may wish to do enemas to enhance the cleanse effects of your fast program.
The colon therapist is of obvious importance, what is it I should be looking for when choosing someone?
Since having a colonic is an intimate experience and is involved with emotional and mental releases as well as physical healing, you will do best working with someone with whom you can develop trust and in an environment you feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Sensitivity, skill, knowledge and experience are important to consider as they vary widely among therapists. Anyone you contact should be willing to discuss his or her educational background and health philosophy with you. Your colon therapist should be certified and may also be affiliated with the I-ACT (International of Association of Colon Therapists). At Colon Hydro Care we only employ certified colon therapists with a deep understanding of the digestive system and the body as a whole. We believe in the mind-body connection and healing as a whole person, not just the sum of one part.