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Colon Hydrotherapist

What does a colon hydrotherapist do? What health claims does a colon hydrotherapist make? Does the physiology of the digestive system give credence to the potential benefits of visiting a colon hydrotherapist? Patients should learn the answers to these questions before opting to see a colon hydrotherapist.

Potential Benefits of Seeing a Colon Hydrotherapist
Colon hydrotherapy involves sending fluid into the colon through the anus. The fluid mixes with stool, and the mixture is then expelled. The colon hydrotherapist uses small quantities of fluid for each cycle and repeats several cycles over the course of a session that lasts 30 to 40 minutes. A total of 60 liters of fluid is used during a typical session. The fluid used by a colon hydrotherapist can be water, or it can be an infusion made from water and possibly another ingredient such as coffee. Colon hydrotherapists generally believe that fecal matter accumulates along the lining of the large intestine and that hydrotherapy can help remove it. This may allow the body to better absorb nutrients and avoid exposure to toxins.

The Physiology of the Intestines
Critics argue that the potential health benefits of colon hydrotherapy are not consistent with the physiology of the intestines. A colon hydrotherapist might use a metaphor about the large intestine as a drainage pipe.  While both a large intestine and a drainage pipe are tubes through which waste passes, the similarities end there. A pipe is an inanimate object. The large intestine is a living organ. The tissue that lines the intestines is similar to skin. It has a base layer of cells that continually divides. Cells of the lining get pushed to higher layers as new cells form below them. When cells reach the highest layer, they slough off and join the stool. The turnover of cells in the lining of the intestine makes it unlikely for matter to stick to it. There is little to no research observing fecal matter spackled to the lining of the large intestine. The concept is still theoretical.

Critics may also dispute colon hydrotherapist claims that colon hydrotherapy helps the body absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. They state the claim of absorbing nutrients is largely implausible, because most nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, not the large intestine. Only water and salts are absorbed in the large intestine. Similar arguments are made regarding the removal of toxins.  As the large intestine desiccates the stool, toxins typically get locked away into the solidifying feces. It is possible, however, that introducing water to the last section of the colon would unlock toxins when the water breaks up the solid stool. These unlocked toxins would be more likely to enter the body.

Research Involving Colon Hydrotherapy

Again, the number of studies is extremely small. One survey of 91 patients who tried colon hydrotherapy for detoxification found that two suffered rectal bleeding.  The National Cancer Institute has listed electrolyte imbalance, bacterial infections, tears in the bowels, and fluid overload as side effects of the colon hydrotherapy.

Colonic treatments have their ardent fans and detractors. The science is far from settled, although many would argue actual physiology defies the potential benefits of colon hydrotherapy. 

Colon Hydrotherapist Advocates

Colon Hydrotherapist Critics

The colon is like a pipe.

The lining of the colon continually renews.

Colon hydrotherapy aids nutrient absorption.

The vast majority of nutrients get absorbed in the small intestine.

Colonic hydrotherapy removes toxins.

Colonic hydrotherapy may facilitate the absorption of toxins by unlocking toxins from the stool into water.

Patients may wish to consider the possible benefits and side effects of this procedure before seeing a colon hydrotherapist.



1. The Physiology of Colonic Hydrotherapy

2. Colonic Detoxification among Patients Attending General Surgical Clinics: An Epidemiological Study. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand

3. Researchers Urge Caution, Greater Scrutiny of Colon Related CAM Treatments. NCI Cancer Bulletin
National Cancer Institute