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Colonics


Posted by Kenna M.

I just wrote an article on how to get a colonic. I have never had one, but it appears quite beneficial for those who want to clean themselves out. The benefits are reportedly amazing -- cleaner skin, more energy, better digestion and anti-aging. The therapist even discusses your diet with you as you watch the "stuff" come out. It seems like it might be little embarrassing or uncomfortable at first, but once you past that threshold, the benefits out weight the uneasiness. Have you ever tried a colonic? If so, how many have you had?
 
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ps. Thank you for shining the spotlight on Stephen Barrett. He is a suspect resource in the extreme.
I did a series of 10 colonics years ago, in conjunction with a 30-day abstinence of all refined sugar products. Major, major life-changing decision for me. Once cleansed of the sugary yeast, and backed up waste, I never went back to binging on sugar again and that was at least twenty years ago.

Not to beat this issue to death, but a prestigious medical journal, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, takes a much harsher view on what the author calls "colonic quackery": From J Clin Gastroenterol. 1997 Jun;24(4):196-8

Colonic irrigation and the theory of autointoxication: A triumph of ignorance over science.

Autointoxication is an ancient theory based on the belief that intestinal waste products can poison the body and are a major contributor to many, if not all, diseases. In the 19th century, it was the ruling doctrine of medicine and led "colonic quackery" in various guises. By the turn of the century, it had received some apparent backing from science. When it became clear that the scientific rationale was wrong and colonic irrigation was not merely useless but potentially dangerous, it was exposed as quackery and subsequently went into a decline. Today we are witnessing a resurgence of colonic irrigation based on little less than the old bogus claims and the impressive power of vested interests. Even today's experts on colonic irrigation can only provide theories and anecdotes in its support. It seems, therefore, that ignorance is celebrating a triumph over science.

In response to Stephanie's comment, I did a medline search for studies of the benefits and or hazards of colonic irrigation. It seems there is not a great deal of medical literature on the alternative medicine practice of colonic irrigation. There is one review of colonic irrigation in a journal that is "Pro" alternative and complementary medicine -- It documents the evidence of benefits (there is no evidence) and of possible risks (no good studies have measured how high the risks are), see J Altern Complement Med. 2006 May;12(4):389-93. The bottom line remains that the claims of benefit of colonic irrigation are anecdotes only, and there do not appear to me to be any documented benefits - but who knows what a properly designed study might show. There are at least theoretical hazards, and those hazards may be amplified if non trained and non licensed practitioners are giving the treatment.

Re: Previous Comment: ebm-first.com is a Biased Source. I have no opinion on colonics either way, but I would caution anyone following that link that the previous commenter provided, as it is a site put up for the sole purpose of debunking alternative health methods. It is therefore one-sided and quite biased. That the first article listed on that page is by Stephen Barrett of QuackWatch, who is notorious as being a biased crusader against anything alternative, is your clue to be wary. Barrett's credibility is very suspect, as he lost his medical license many years ago. Additionally, a judge found Barrett's testimony to be biased due to the fees he gets for appearing as an expert witness. Therefore, be careful of anything you read that is associated in any manner with QuackWatch.
Colonics are a bad idea. I have to say I'm very skeptical of the claims for the benefits of colonic irrigation. Take a look at the summary of evidence of risks and benefits of colonic irrigation at http://www.ebm-first.com/?cat=12 Bottom line is that there are well documented hazards for colonic irrigation, and no documented benefits. We have an evolved system to manage the waste products of our metabolism. Which is to say that the healthy colon does its job well, and we do not need therapeutic colonic irrigation for good health (I'm not including the use of enemas to relieve constipation). Here are some interesting quotes from the above article: "Significant dangers include: perforation of the colon, infection from improperly cleaned instruments, electrolyte imbalances, and fluid absorption and overload leading to heart failure. Deaths have been reported from both perforation and infection." "Holistic practitioners believe the colon is a sewage system and if it's not kept clean, waste products won't be cleared out and toxic substances will be absorbed into the body. They believe that the typical person may have as many as several pounds of fecal matter in their colon, which causes mucus to build up and harden on colon walls. Science says this is not true. Your colon knows how to do its job, constantly shedding old cells, absorbing nutrients and keeping a delicate balance of bacteria and natural chemicals. Interfering with this process can hurt or destroy these relationships, meaning the colon won't work as well as it should. Colon cleansing is unnecessary, and medical doctors do not advise you to do this." Article by Melissa Tennen, Health A to Z (16th August 2005)
What's the URL to the article?. I want to read your article before I answer.
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