- See the uses for colonics.
- Learn how it benefits your colon – and your health.
- Discover alternative ways to cleanse your system.
Colonics cleanse the colon by flushing it with water or with a specially formulated solution. You may see the term refer to a procedure required before a colonoscopy or surgery. It can also describe the alternative cleansing therapy that promotes good digestive health.
What is a colonic treatment?
A colonic refers to a medical treatment designed to cleanse residual, built-up stool and toxins from the colon. You may see the therapy called colon therapy, enema, or colonic lavage. It is also sometimes called colonic irrigation, colon hydrotherapy, or colonic hydrotherapy.
Colonic irrigation typically describes bowel preparation before a medical procedure like a colonoscopy. In addition to its use before a colonoscopy, many people use the treatment for the health benefits of regular cleansing.
Regardless of the reason for your colonics treatment, you must not eat for at least 3 hours before the procedure. However, if you are preparing for a colonoscopy, your doctor will likely give you detailed instructions. You also want to avoid consuming beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, as they cause gas for at least 24 hours. Also, avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours.
What are high colonics?
High colonics involve the injection of large amounts of fluid to cleanse the entire colon, not just the lower half. It aims to eliminate accumulated digestive wastes, toxins, bacteria, and parasites.
A licensed hydrotherapist performs the treatment. This person uses specialized medical equipment classified by the FDA as Class III medical devices. This classification applies to devices used for general health improvement or alternative therapies. If you plan to try any form of colonics, confirm that it is performed with sterile tools in a clean environment.
High colonics differ from enemas, which only flush out the lower part of the colon. You might find some home DIY kits that add infusions that contain coffee, herbs, iodized salt, mineral oil, and other substances. An enema only requires a one-time injection of the fluids or solution.
What comes out during colon hydrotherapy?
The water or lavage solution comes out, hopefully with any digestive waste that had built-up in your colon. This includes accumulated toxins and even trapped gas.
Immediately after the initial flush, you will probably have to go to the bathroom to empty your bowels further. You can expect to go several more times over the next 24 hours. From there, your bowel movements should return to normal. Your stools over the next few days might be looser than normal.
You must hydrate immediately after a colonic and for the next several days. You will also have to stick to a limited diet until your bowel function returns to normal.
What does a colonic do for your body?
Colonics performed for cleansing and detoxing flush out accumulated wastes and toxins from your system. The health benefits go beyond simply improving digestive health. Many people find a cleanse:
- Helps with weight loss
- Boosts the mood
- Leads to better-looking skin
- Improves immune response, decreasing “sick days”
- Promotes clearer thinking
A well-cleansed colon also appears to reduce the risk of serious digestive problems and colon cancer.
Additionally, regular colonic therapy can help exercise and tone the colon as it stimulates contractions, called peristalsis. A toned colon is beneficial for sufferers of frequent or prolonged constipation.
Special solutions used in the colonic may also help balance the gut microflora. This is because it eliminates harmful bacteria and boosts the good bacteria that support digestion and your overall health.
Often, people will do colonics every few months. The therapy can help maintain a healthy colon and regular bowel movements. Long-term benefits may include improved nutrient absorption and better health.
It’s important to note that there are risks involved in colonic therapy. This is especially true for home procedures. The most common risks include:
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Infection from contaminated equipment or facility
- Tearing in the lining of the bowel
Alternative options to colonic irrigation
While colonics are popular with many people, you can find safe, gentle options for regular cleansing. These options relieve constipation, promote regularity, and maintain healthy digestive function. By functioning at its best, your body is also more efficient at eliminating wastes and toxins.
Drinking warm water before bedtime and in the morning can stimulate bowel regularity. You can also infuse the water with fresh lemon juice, as the acid in lemon juice is a natural laxative.
When taken in the morning, the fiber in smoothies adds bulk and softens your stool so it’ll be easier to pass. Added size and weight will also increase the likelihood that you’ll feel the urge to empty your bowels.
Ideal sources of dietary fiber are fresh fruits and vegetables. Ideally, you want to eat sprouted whole grains, nuts, and seeds for maximum nutrient value. Again, it’s best to take your fiber during breakfast for regular morning bowel movements. Eating fiber with all your meals further supports your colon health.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics introduce more good bacteria to the gut, while prebiotics provide food for your gut’s existing good bacteria. A healthy balance of good gut bacteria helps the body better maintain efficient digestion, nutrient absorption, and digestive waste elimination.
To get either, you can:
- Eat foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, pickles, and other fermented foods.
- Eat prebiotic foods include apples, artichokes, asparagus, and bananas. Chicory, cocoa, dandelion greens, garlic, and onions are also good choices.
- Add probiotic supplements to your daily regimen, like Flora Infused, that feature a wide variety of essential probiotic species, prebiotics, and enzymes.
Some teas have natural laxative properties. Herbal teas are a good option for constipation relief or occasional colon cleansing. You may find laxative herbs like senna, psyllium, aloe vera, marshmallow root, and slippery elm used in teas.
You do want to keep in mind that laxative teas can stimulate more powerful bowel movements. You may experience cramping, watery stool, and frequent visits to the bathroom. This is why you should only take herbal teas occasionally or as needed.
Colon cleanse supplements
You can find a wide variety of cleanse supplements in stores and online.
Many supplements contain laxative herbs, which can be harsh. While effective for constipation, they do not work well for daily use.
The best supplements contain a combination of enzymes, soothing herbs, probiotics, and other beneficial substances that work gently and effectively. Some supplements like Cleanse Infused Plus feature oxygenated magnesium. The oxygen supplies the body with a natural element that softens waste, neutralizes toxins, and breaks up hardened stool.
Gentle cleansing supplements can be taken daily to promote regularity, eliminate toxins, and support better digestive function. In this way, they help reduce the chance of constipation and help provide relief from constipation if it does occur, along with other mild stomach upsets.