Colonic irrigation, also called colonic hydrotherapy, involves the cleansing of the colon with the injection of water and certain medications into the rectum. This method is used to remove accumulated fecal matter and unspecified toxins, yet very little research has confirmed its toxin-cleansing benefits. Anecdotal evidence from individuals who swear by colonic irrigation claim increased energy, improved mood, and weight loss.
The process uses medical equipment to flush the colon, filling and evacuating the area numerous times during the 45- to 60-minute therapy. There are many proposed health benefits related to colonics, making it a popular cleansing method for many people seeking to enhance health and decrease toxic load.
5 Colonic Irrigation Facts
While colonic irrigation is growing in popularity in many natural health circles, it still remains a fairly low-sought cleansing method. Check out these following 8 facts and possible benefits of colonic irrigation.
A Centuries-Old Cleansing Method
The idea of colonic irrigation originated in ancient Egypt, as many physicians of that time believed that disease originated via rotted food material located in the intestines. During the 19th century, physicians seemed to support and promote this idea to patients.  The term for disease resulting from rotting food and fecal matter was coined “auto-intoxication,” and the belief that fever or disease could be caused through this mechanism still persists today.
A Potent Depression Fighter?
Research into the connection between intestinal health and depression has shown interesting results. A great deal of research involving intestinal micro-bacteria and mental health is showing that a healthy colon may be associated with a healthy mood.  The majority of the body’s serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for balancing mood and mental clarity, is contained within the intestinal system. The buildup of environmental toxins, bacteria, and other harmful organisms may directly affect mood stability, and some researchers believe colonic irrigation may be helpful for keeping depression, anxiety, and psychosis at bay. Current studies have yet to be conclusive on this topic, however, making it an exciting area of research for many natural and conventional medical professionals.  
An Effective Therapy for Functional Bowel Problems
Functional bowel disorders often make evacuation of wastes difficult, and patients diagnosed with bowel issues (such as chronic constipation) may find colonic irrigation a suitable therapy for keeping the colon clean.  Colonic irrigation may also be helpful for those with multiple sclerosis, many of whom suffer from persistent and painful constipation.  The goal of the therapy is to aid in the elimination of fecal matter; unfortunately, colonic irrigation doesn’t necessarily offer a long-term approach for bowel disorders. That being said, it is very important that patients do not become dependent on colonic therapy.
Diet May Be Equally Effective
A diet that lacks fiber, adequate water, and probiotics can decrease bowel motility and increase constipation issues. Dietary amendments, such as adding more water and fibrous vegetables, could provide a cleansing effect that equals colonic irrigation. Typically, a proper diet and exercise routine should produce, on average, two to three healthy bowel movements per day.
Herbs: A Natural Colonic
While most colonics are administered through the use of medical equipment, people may be surprised to know that some herbs may also provide equally-effective results. Herbs with laxative effects, such as senna, have been used for centuries to remedy constipation. One study found that senna was just as effective as colonic irrigation and produced less nausea and vomiting symptoms among participants. Excessive use of senna can be harmful, making moderation crucially important. Based on these results, researchers determined that senna would make an effective alternative for those who do not respond well to traditional colonic therapy. 
Risks and Considerations
As with any medical procedure, potential risks associated with colonic irrigation do exist. All tools should be carefully sterilized before the procedure, an action that will help reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Excessive colonic therapy can interfere with the body’s natural flora (probiotics) balance and even increase the chances of suffering from an electrolyte deficiency. Also, dependence can occur in individuals who use colonic irrigation on a consistent basis. To decrease risk, always make sure the therapy is being administered by a trusted medical physician specialized in colonic irrigation. Also, decrease the need for irrigation by increasing dietary fiber, water, and probiotic intake as well as exercise.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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