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The Controversy surrounding Colon Hydrotherapy and Colon Cleansing: Is Colon Hydrotherapy Science or Scam?

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Colon Hydrotherapy: A Description

So what is the exact procedure involved in colon hydrotherapy? Nowadays, practitioners of colon hydrotherapy must be certified by the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy (I-ACT). To be certified in any one of the four levels, one has to complete between 100 and 1,000 hours of approved colon-hydrotherapy training and must have one to three years of hands-on practice in the field. One must also pass various levels of I-ACT exams. This procedure is typically performed by people without medical degree (a M.D. or D.O.).

The theory behind colon hydrotherapy is that the colon is the body's "septic tank" and that when waste and toxins are not expelled properly, the colon will be filled with waste and blockages, which will lead to serious digestive-tract problems. Because these hardened, dried feces are stuck to the lining on the colon wall, they can only be expelled out of the body with help of hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is supposed to cleanse the colon and "hydrate the lower colon."

According to the I-ACT, the hydrotherapy procedure involves pumping several gallons of warm, purified water into the colon, which will soften and loosen the hardened and dried feces stuck to the colon wall. Clients are often asked not to drink water two hours before the procedure. Clients will disrobe from the waist down and put on a gown. Clients lie in the bed and the therapist lubes the anus and then inserts a speculum. One therapist explained that "colon hydrotherapy can be taxing on the nervous system," so that clients should be as relaxed as possible. Inserting the speculum may be the most difficult part of the entire procedure; but once the speculum passes the sphincter muscle near the anus, it can't be felt.

The speculum has two hoses: one for pumping in the clean water and another for pumping out the wastewater. The two tubes are run through a lighted panel so that people can see for themselves what is clogging their intestine. Initially, the therapist will run the water for a while to get the client used to the procedure. Then the soaking will occur. The therapist will fill the client's intestine as much as the client can handle. During this time, he or she will have a sensation of desiring to urinate. Then after several minutes, the water will be released. This process is repeated two to three times. During each filling, the client will receive an abdominal massage with lavender-scented oil (with the objective of calming the nerves and of physically loosening the hardened feces inside the colon).

After the procedure, the client goes into the bathroom to empty whatever hasn't been flushed out during the cleansing process. Some liquid wastewater may come out instead of solid waste. In another variation, the "open system," the rectal tube is the size of a pencil, and when the water is turned on, there is no need to interrupt the cleansing to release the injected water. The client will be filled with water and when she or he needs to push wastes out, the tube will stay inserted so that whatever wastes expelled from the colon will pass around the tube and down the drain. In this system, there is no odor and the client will have as much privacy as he or she wants.

In short, colon hydrotherapy is a procedure to physically flush out the old dried, hardened feces stuck to the intestine-presumably due to the lack of dietary fiber in daily diet and chronic constipation. According to the therapists, as one gets older, one will see better results with the treatment. It is recommended one signs up for at least three sessions during the initial treatment. Each treatment session can cost from U.S.$60 to U.S.$200.

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