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

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Criticisms of Colon Hydrotherapy

Critics have charged that colon hydrotherapy is nothing but a scam, an expensive enema. (An enema is a procedure to introduce liquids into the rectum and colon through the anus. Enemas are usually performed as a treatment for constipation.) Critics have focused on the potential harms of colon hydrotherapy, as follows:

  • Abscesses caused by too much water injected into the colon
  • Rectal perforation as a result of speculum and other tubes inserted into the anus
  • Electrolyte imbalance due to water washing out the colon's electrolytes
  • Unnecessary washing away of the beneficial bacterial living in the colon (these bacteria are required for food digestion)
  • Using too much water for the procedure
  • Unnecessarily costly

Critics have suggested that people should simply try enemas or oral laxatives if they do not want any invasive procedure done on them. Colon-hydrotherapy critics have encouraged people to drink more water and eat more food with dietary fiber (e.g., fruits and vegetables). Critics also argued that since people lose electrolytes during the flushing out of wastes in the colon, one must replenish the lost electrolytes after colon hydrotherapy.

The critics of colon cleansing often challenged the idea of "autointoxication" and that they argued "still to this day, direct observations of the colon through surgery and autopsy find no hardening of fecal matter along the intestinal walls." Another critic said that this colon-cleansing idea is based on treating the intestines as a "sewage system, and that constipation, although never specifically defined, resulted in a cesspool within the body where food wastes would putrefy, become toxic, and get reabsorbed through the intestines. Some scientists also claimed that constipation caused fecal matter to harden onto the intestinal walls for months or years, blocking the absorption of nutrients (yet somehow not blocking toxins)."

Contrary to some critics, according to National Institutes of Health in the United States, there is a legitimate medical problem called fecal impaction, or impaction of the bowels, which is a large mass of dry, hard feces that can develop in the rectum due to chronic constipation and that this hard mass is so hard that it cannot exit the body. Watery stool from higher in the bowl may move around the mass and leak out, causing soiling. As we know, one of the primary functions of the large intestine is the absorption of water and salt; if there is hardened residual fecal matter in the colon, then it is likely that water reabsorbed by the intestine will be that of somewhat toxic and putrefied liquid which has the hard, dried feces soaked in it.

Alternatives to Colon Hydrotherapy

The practitioners of colon hydrotherapy believe that chronic constipation and a lack of dietary fiber in daily diet can result in accumulated, hardened and dried feces in the colon. This buildup mass of toxins in the body can adversely affect one's health—especially in older people. Therefore, it is important to regularly flush the colon to eliminate the rock-hard feces stuck to the lining of walls of the large intestine. Mainstream medicine, however, has mocked this belief.

Regardless of who is correct in this medical debate, experts believe that a generally healthy lifestyle can reduce chronic constipation and the need for colon cleansing. For example, the simple lifestyle changes can eliminate the need for colon cleansing, as follows:

  • Exercise—Regular exercise is extremely important in estabilshing regular bowel movements. Walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, weight training, martial arts, and any other type of physical exercise is beneficial to regular bowel movements. For wheelchair-bound and bed-ridden people, regular physical movements, especially abdominal-contraction exercises and leg raises can still be done.

  • High-Fiber Diet, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables—A high-fiber diet is critical to building bulk to the stool, thus promoting regular bowel movements. One should also eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables can also promote other aspects of health, in addition to promoting regularity.

  • Drink Plenty of Pure Water—One must drink approximately 2 liters of pure water daily. A primary function of large intestine is to reabsorb water; if the body is dehydrated, then the colon will reabsorb large amount of water from pre-feces, drying and hardening the feces. Dried and hardened feces will be difficult to expel from the body. Hence, it is important to drink plenty of water to facilitate the elimination of metabolic solid wastes from the body.

With these three simple lifestyle changes, one will not be afflicted by chronic constipation, thus eliminating the need for expensive colon hydrotherapy altogether. In short, one doesn't have to pay hundreds of dollars to cleanse one's colon in three to five colon-hydrotherapy sessions. The best colon-care product is free: pure water.

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