Fans of colon hydrotherapy maintain that regular treatments are able to treat their specific complaint, whether this is constipation or a sluggish bowel, or merely as a preventative measure that ensures that their bowel is toxin free and they remain in optimum condition. Most first-timers are however unsure how the procedure is likely to feel, or how safe it is, which is why we took the time to speak to Dr. Debra Lawson from Crackenback Clinic, for a more detailed insight into this process.
Where exactly is the colon situated?
"The colon is the end point of digestion. It is connected to the small intestine. The ileo-cecal valve allows liquefied digested food to pass from the small intestine to the colon. This one way valve stops waste in the colon from getting into the small intestine. It is also this valve that stops the water in the colon during a colonic from passing into the small intestine."
What is the primary function of the colon?
"The colon is where the water is extracted from the digested food and compacted for elimination. They call the colon the second brain and it accomplishes all that with the same tools as the big brain - a sophisticated nearly self-contained network of neural circuitry, neurotransmitters and proteins. New understandings of the way it works and the interactions between the two, are helping to treat disorders like constipation, ulcers and Hirschsprung's disease. The colon is also responsible for the production of serotonin - the feel good neurotransmitter, as well as playing a major role in immune system functioning and production of vitamin K and biotin (a B vitamin). The colon also houses over 700 species of bacteria that perform a variety of functions."
How would I know that my colon is not functioning properly?
"The most common problem with the colon is constipation or a sluggish bowel. Other indications of your bowel not being 100% "happy" are bloating and wind, which can indicate an over abundance of bad bacteria and not enough of the good ones. When someone embarks on a colon cleansing program these problems generally fall by the wayside."
How does colon hydrotherapy work?
"Colon hydrotherapy or colonics is a safe and effective process that works by gentle flowing warm water into the colon to assist in the break down of wastes for elimination. When using the open system colonic the client pushes the water out. It is rather like being on a lay down toilet. When using the closed system the therapist releases the waste for the client. I personally have worked with both systems for many years and I can assure you that both systems give you a great treatment. There are just some differences in the delivery and privacy aspects."
Is colon hydrotherapy painful?
"No, it is not painful. This is probably the most frequently asked question. I won't say it feels lovely though. The closest description would be that it feels rather like diarrhoea or having a bowel movement, because you are! The water in the colonic stimulates the peristalsis or contractions of the colon which pushes the waste out. Better out than in I always say."
Is it safe and is the equipment regulated in any way?
"All commercially produced colonic units whether open or closed are safe. Depending on where it is manufactured, the local regulation body certifies the equipment. The open system we use is Australian made and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved. The closed system is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved device manufactured in the USA."
Describe a typical session.
"We schedule a new patient in for one and a half hours on the first visit. This allows a half hour for the consultation where I discuss with the client their particular situation and determine whether or not they are a candidate for colonics. The remaining hour is for the treatment which around 30-45 minutes. Subsequent visits are scheduled for one hour."
How do I prepare for a session – do I need to follow a special diet?
"There are a few ways to approach this. Some people change nothing and get colonics. Some people fast and get colonics and pretty much everything in between. In my experience you will get good results either way but obviously if your goal is to detoxify then the healthier your diet is the better results you will get. I discuss this with a new client during the consultation to determine what I can do to support them in achieving their health goals. No two people are alike and there is not a one size fits all cleansing program."
What diseases commonly affect the colon?
"There are numerous diseases of the colon the most horrific being colon cancer.
Since colon cancer can grow for years without causing any symptoms, it's best to get regular colon cancer screening. Examples of colon cancer symptoms include thin stools, stomach cramping, unexplained weight loss and fatigue. Being 50 or older is the number one risk factor for colon cancer, with alcohol, smoking, inflammatory bowel disease andobesity as some of the potential causal factors."
What health benefits does colon hydrotherapy offer?
"The old timers of the colonic movement (no pun intended) maintain that "Death Begins in the Colon". This may seem rather melodramatic but it isn't far off. If your colon is not eliminating waste appropriately there is no way you are going to feel your optimum. The process of ageing and disease involves the body becoming more toxic and more acidic with time. In my opinion anything we can do to decrease our toxicity and acidity will improve our health. We teach all of our patients about the benefits of detoxing and alkalising. It's intelligent health."
How many treatments will I need?
"The number of treatments required can vary from person to person depending on their present state of health or lack of health as the case may be. I personally believe that having a series, meaning several consecutive treatments gets the best results. I base this opinion on my experience with literally thousands of colonics at this point since 1983."
Is the procedure going to harm the good bacteria in my colon?
"The sad fact is very few of us have sufficient good bacteria to start with. I believe the thing to do is to flush the toxins and mucoid or old waste that may be in the colon with the colonics and herbs then re-install friendly bacteria. Taking probiotics or friendly bacteria is an important part of any health program and especially so along with colonics."
Ongoing, what can I do to ensure I have a healthy colon?
"I think that a good diet and plenty of water, preferably alkalised or ionised water, is vital to good colon health. I think too it is important to listen when your body let's you know it's time to "go". If you listen you can avoid creating constipation. Once you have experienced how great it feels to have a cleansed colon and how light you feel and how amazing your energy is it is difficult to accept anything else. Bloated is out/ cleansed is in! I think colon cleansing comes very close to being the fountain of youth!"
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