Colon Hydrotherapy Machine
Other common name(s): colonic irrigation, high colonic, detoxification therapy, colon hydrotherapy, coffee enemas, enema irrigation, hydro-colon therapy, high enema
Scientific/medical name(s): none
Colon therapy is the cleansing of the large intestine (colon) through the administration of water, herbal solutions, enzymes, or other substances such as coffee.
Available scientific evidence does not support claims that colon therapy is effective in treating cancer or any other disease. Colon therapy can be dangerous and can cause infection or death.
How is it promoted for use?
Proponents of colon therapy consider it to be a method of detoxifying the body through the removal of accumulated waste from the colon. Because they claim detoxification increases the efficiency of the body’s natural healing abilities, it is sometimes promoted as a treatment for illness. It is often promoted as a general preventive health measure or as part of a routine internal hygiene regimen.
Coffee enemas have been promoted as part of several controversial cancer treatment regimens. People who promote the use of coffee enemas to detoxify the body claim that an “unpoisoned” body or a “clean” colon has the ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Practitioners claim coffee enemas can stimulate the liver and gallbladder into releasing toxins and flushing them from the body, allowing the body’s immune system to battle malignant cells (see Gerson Therapy and Metabolic Therapy).
What does it involve?
Colon therapy is given by a colonic hygienist or colon therapist, through the use of plastic tubes inserted through the rectum and into the colon. A machine or gravity-driven pump sends large quantities of liquid (up to 20 gallons) into the large intestine. In contrast, regular enemas only flush out the rectum, and generally use about a quart of fluid. After filling the colon with water, the therapist massages the abdomen to help the removal of waste material from the colon wall, and then fluid and waste are carried out of the body through another tube. The procedure is generally repeated several times, and the average session lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. Coffee enemas may be included in the treatment program.
What is the history behind it?
As far back as the ancient Egyptians, enemas and other “cleansing rituals” were commonly used to rid the body of toxic waste products believed to cause disease and death. In the 19th century, proponents described the large intestine as a sewage system and claimed stagnation caused toxins to form and be absorbed by the body, which led to the theory of “autointoxication.” Laxatives, purges, and enemas were routinely recommended to prevent the accumulation of waste
Colon therapy became very popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, when irrigation machines were commonly found in hospitals and physicians’ offices. Although the procedure became less popular when advances in science and medicine did not support its founding theory, colon therapy has recently shown an increase in popularity.
In 1985, the California Department of Health Services issued a statement that listed some of the potential hazards of colon therapy, including infection and death from contaminated equipment, death from electrolyte depletion, and perforation (puncture) of the intestinal wall leading to life-threatening infection or death. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers colonic irrigation machines to be Class III devices which means they cannot be legally marketed except for medically needed colon cleansing (such as before an x-ray or endoscope exam). The FDA forbids practitioners and sellers from making unsubstantiated claims that have not been proven in scientific studies about their services. The FDA has warned several companies to stop making such claims. No colonic irrigation machine or system has been approved for routine use.
What is the evidence?
Available scientific evidence does not support the claims on which colon therapy is based. It is known that most digestive processes take place in the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed into the body. What remains enters the large intestine, where it passes to the rectum for elimination after water and minerals are extracted. Available scientific evidence does not support the premise that toxins accumulate on intestinal walls or that toxicity results from poor elimination of waste from the colon.
Are there any possible problems or complications?
The machines used for colon therapy are illegal unless used during conventional medical treatment. Colon therapy can be dangerous. Illness and even deaths have resulted from contaminated equipment, electrolyte imbalance, or perforation of intestinal walls. People with diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, severe hemorrhoids, rectal or colon tumors, or who are recovering from bowel surgery may be at higher risk of bowel injury. People with kidney or heart failure may be more likely to experience fluid overload or electrolyte imbalances. In addition, many substances can be absorbed into the body from the colon walls and cause toxic or allergic reactions. Colon therapy can also cause discomfort and cramps. Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences.
More information from your American Cancer Society
The following information on complementary and alternative therapies may also be helpful to you. These materials may be found on our Web site (www.cancer.org) or ordered from our toll-free number (1-800-ACS-2345).
Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation
*Do not eat for two hours before colonic appointment. Clients typically can return to normal activities within 15 minutes after session. Sessions are private with limited staff intrusion.It is generally suggested that Clients have two back to back sessions (two days in a row), to get things started;followed by changes in diet with subsequent sessions scheduled one a week for three weeks.