Colon Therapy

In this lesson we will address colon therapy and how to cope with it to assure better health and general well-being.

A healthy colon is essential for the absorption of vital nutrients and the natural elimination of bodily waste and toxins. Colon therapy promotes healthy colon function and can ease a range of problems from headache and backache to arthritis and hypertension.

The colon, along with the skin, kidneys, and lungs, is a major organ for eliminating bodily waste. The healthy function of the colon is essential for good digestion and the proper absorption of nutrients. If bowel movements are not consistent, waste products and toxins are not eliminated in a regular manner, and health can be compromised. Colon therapy uses a series of colonic water flushes to clean and detoxify the lower intestine and aid in the reconstitution of intestinal flora.

According to Drew Colins, N.D. of Prescott Valley, Az, " The therapeutic goals of colon therapy are to balance body chemistry, eliminate waste, and restore proper tissue and organ function." Ideally, colon therapy also involves integration of appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. These include, along with the irrigation of the colon, an analysis of fecal structure and chemistry, an evaluation of environmental, immunological, and psychosomatic influences, and often, a recommended program of exercise.

The Colon's Role in Health and Disease

The colon ( large intestine, rectum, and anus ) is a key component of the gastro-intestinal ( GI ) system, the largest system in the body. The length of the gastro-intestinal tract is between 28 and 30 feet, with a surface area of nearly 6,000 square feet.

The porper functioning of the colon is essential to overall health. When the colon is unable to function efficiently, an accumulation of toxins can build up in the lymph, blood stream, and intestines. It's proper function is dependant on :

A whole foods diet : Especially recommended are such high-fiber foods as grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit.

A Balance of Favorable Bacteria : A healthy GI tract contains nearly 60 varieties of bacteria or micro-flora which aid digestion, promotes the manufacturing of vital nutrients, helps to maintain proper PH ( acid-base ) balance, and keeps harmful bacteria in check.

Health Colonic Mucosa : The mucosa, or surfacecell layer lining the intestine, allows for the passage of nutrients into the blood stream, secretes hormones and lubricants, and prevents the absorption of toxins.

Proper Muscle Tone : Approximately 15 contractive movements occur in the colon per minute. Known as peristalsis, this action moves food through the intestinal tract and helps to maximize absorption of valuable liquid and nutrients, while eliminating the stool.

Timely Evacuation of Waste : Regular bowel movement and elimination prevents the buildup of toxic substances that result from putrefaction and excessive fermentation. According to Joseph Vargas PHD, founder and director of the Wholistic Health Center in Houston Texas, " Bowel movements should be thorough and frequent, two or three daily, to prevent toxic residues and by-products from forming or remaining in the body."

Bowel Toxemia

Doctor Colins states, " when the colon becomes burdened with an accumulation of waste material: impacted feces, bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, and dead cellular material, the result is termed - bowel toxemia - . This condition causes inflammation and swelling of the bowel surface, and can lead to a host of other health problems. Normal absorption of nutrients, secretory functions, and normal muscular function of the colon are disrupted. Irregular and inefficient bowel movement is the result, further surppressing recovery and encouraging other problems."

Bowel toxemia and improper digestion can cause a buildup in the intestines of pathological bacteria, viruses, and fermented and putrefactive gases that become dangerous to the body and can lead to other illnesses.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

When toxic matter and undigested food, collected in the intestines as a result of bowel toxemia, are absorbed from the bowels into the blood stream the result is a recognized medical condition known as " leaky gut syndrome".

The undigested food molecules act as antigens, foreign substances that provoke an immune reaction. Many of these antigens are similar in structure to normal body components, and the anti-bodies produced to fight them can destroy healthy tissues. Recent studies suggest this immune reaction contributes to, or may cause, rheumatoid arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

Bacteria and their toxic by-products can also be absorbed from the bowels into the blood stream. A deficiency of secretory IgA, an anti-body in the colon that binds food and bacterial antigens, can cause an influx of antigens from the bowels into the blood stream. These antigens can induce autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disease, myasthenia gravis ( a disease characterized by great muscular weakness ), and some forms of meningitis.

Toxins that enter the blood stream from the colon also burden the liver, circulatory system, lymphatic system, and excretory organs such as the lungs and kidneys. Because the liver plays such a vital role in clearing the blood of toxins, any impairement of liver function may aggravate the damage already done by bowel toxemia. " Foreign chemicals in the body, whether produced from ingestion or chemical interaction, chemical breakdown, or putrefaction of foodstuff in the fermentive processes, can alter RNA ( Ribo Nucleic Acid ) and DNA ( Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid )", says Dr Vargas. " RNA and DNA contain the blue print for cellular manufacturing and, if tampered with, abnormal cell reproduction can occur. Many scientists believe this provokes cancer and other autoimmune diseases. All these factors make a properly functioning colon imperative to the maintenance of good health.

A Typical Colon Therapy Session

In a typical session, a trained colon therapist gently guides a applicator, or speculum, into the anus. Filtered water, and occasionally herbs or oxygen are gradually introduced into and released from the colon in order to remove fecal material and gas buildup. Colon therapy helps to dislodge fecal material trapped in the pockets and folds of the colon. In this way, conditions that favor normal flora are restored.

A single session lasts from 30 to 45 minutes and uses 2 to 6 litres of water. Colonic irrigation cleans the entire 5 feet of the colon, unlike an enema which cleanses only the sigmoid colon, the lower eight to twelve inches of the bowel. It is advisable to eat and drink lightly prior to colon therapy. An enema beforehand will empty the rectum and increase the efficiency of the colon therapy. After colon therapy, gentle nourishing food should be taken, such as vegetable soups and broths (
click here ) . One colon therapy session may not be enough to produce major benefits. It may be necessary to have several if you have long-standing complaints or a serious problem with constipation.

Dr Colins points out that very often toxic residues are released into both the blood stream and lumen ( inside the bowel ) during colon therapy. Although colonic irrigation is usually a soothing and refreshing experience, a release of these toxins into the blood stream can bring about a temporary " healing crisis". There are certain contraindications for the colon therapy, including ulceratide colitis ( ulceration of the colon lining ), diverticulitis ( imflammation of a sac or pouch in the intestinal tract causing stagnation of feces ), Crohn's disease ( in the acute inflammatory state ), severe hemorrhoids ( spasms in the muscles surrounding the prostate ), and tumors of the large intestine or rectum. Patients in a weakened state should avoid colon therapy treatment, without direct medical supervision.

Conditions Benefited by Colon Therapy

"Colon therapy releases toxins, cleanses the blood, stimulates the immune system, and aids in restoring the PH balance in the body", says Connie Allred, President of the American Colon Therapy Association. Colon Therapy can help relieve a wide range of symptoms related to colon disfunction, including :

backache, headache, bad breath, coated tongue, gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, sinus and / or lung congestion, skin problems, loss of concentration, fatigue.

Colon therapy also helps to re-establish regular bowel movements by restoring muscle tone and normal peristalsis. According to Dr. Colins, as the squeezing action of peristalsis moves the blood and lymph in the region of the colon, the cells lining the colon excrete toxins and waste products into both the colon and blood stream for elimination. Peristalsis also stimualtes the liver to produce more bile. Inceased bile production aids the absorption of lipids ( liquid fats ) and fat-soluble vitamins, aids in the removal of immune complexes ( substances formed when antibodies attach to antigens ), and assists in the breakdown of cholesterol. Increased bile production also induces proper blood clotting and helps prevent the production of gall stones.

" Colon therapy is most effective when used in conjunction with special exercises and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy ", says Dr. Colins. He uses colon therapy as an adjunct treatment for a wide range of conditions, including hypertension, arthritis, depression, parasites, and lung problems. In the case of hypertension, the muscular movements initiated by colon therapy help to control blood pressure by regulating the autonomic nervous system. Arthritis patients benefit because of the direct stimulation of the immune system, states Dr Colins. This may help to remove immune complexes from the joints, a major factor in rheumatoid arthritis.

Colon therapy can also help rid the body of parasites without a need for the heavy drugs usually prescribed to treat them. Dr. Colins reports of a patient who had a case of Giardiasis ( a form of parasites ). She received colon therapy treatments and an ayurvedic oral flush with salt water. After several treatments that included pancreatic enzymes she tested clear of the parasites.

Choosing a Colon Therapist

When choosing a colon therapist, be certain he or she has received proper training, and that the facility is clean and well cared for. Dr. Colins points out that because fecal matter can transmit disease, it is imperative that not only the equipment, but the facility be thoroughly sterilized. Disposable tubing and speculums have become the standard for modern colon therapy. Additionally, each operator is responsible for making sure that contaminated equipment is never used from one patient to the next. It is recommended that the therapist take test samples from various areas of the colonic machine to insure sterility. Colon therapy equipment manufacturers are currently addressing the dangers of disease carriers, including protozoa, viruses, and bacteria.

History of Colon Therapy

As a treatment for disease, colon therapy was recorded in the earliest known medical documents. 80 years ago, natural health pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, MD of Battlecreek Michigan, used colon therapy to avoid surgery in all but 20 of 40 thousand of his patients afflicted with gastro-intestinal disease. The popularity of colon therapy reached it's zenith in the United States in the 1920's and 1930's. At that time, colonic irrigation machines were a common sight in hospitals and physicians' offices. Although interest declined with the advent of pharmaceutical and surgical treatments, colon therapy is once more gaining in popularity and is now commonly used by alternative health practitioners.



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