Modern Living versus Human Physiology

We clean our clothes, skin, houses, and cars, but what about our insides? Natural physicians will tell you, “Old age starts in the colon.” And certainly, colon toxicity underlies many commonly reported health problems—not only constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome, but also back pain, PMS, skin conditions, weight gain, insomnia, hypertension, headaches, arthritis, bad breath, asthma, allergies, fatigue, and depression. Americans spend more than four hundred million dollars on laxatives each year, treating symptoms rather than the underlying cause. In 2006 alone, 130,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer were diagnosed in the United States, making it the fourth most common form of cancer among Americans.

As a treatment and preventative measure, we introduced colon hydrotherapy in our clinic in the Caribbean nation of Aruba, where for the past decade, this natural procedure has effected small miracles. Patients once ill and despondent excitedly report, in addition to relief from the symptoms that plagued them, renewed vigor and vitality, softer and more radiant skin, increased sex drive, mental clarity, and even a sense of emotional and spiritual well-being.

What Does the Colon Do?

The physical purpose of the colon is to separate the pure from the not pure. A major organ of elimination, along with the lungs and skin, the colon absorbs water, electrolytes, and nutrients from digested matter passing through the small intestine; it then expels the waste. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes that each organ of the body also has an emotional purpose, and the colon’s is, not surprisingly, letting go of old stuff. Never have I treated someone with an unhealthy colon who was not also grappling with old, obstructing patterns. Colon hydrotherapy works deeply to heal not only physical ailments, but emotional and even spiritual blockages, too.

What Is Colon Hydrotherapy?

Also known as colon irrigation or colonics, colon hydrotherapy was first recorded in 1550 b.c.e. in the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical text. A popular form of treatment in the 1930s and 1940s, it is making a comeback among natural physicians today.

Colon hydrotherapy cleanses the large intestine above the rectum all the way to the cecum, on the lower right side of the abdomen. The client lies comfortably on his or her back or side while the therapist gently infuses warm, filtered water into the rectum through a tube attached to the colonics machine. As the water flows through the colon, it removes excess gas, mucus, and hardened fecal matter. Free of chemicals, the procedure is safe, clean, and comfortable. A typical session takes about forty-five minutes, during which clients often become so deeply relaxed that they “let it all go” and “start anew.” Multiple sessions over several weeks are often recommended to rebuild optimal colon health.

Is Colon Hydrotherapy Safe and Effective?

The medical term for this procedure is colon lavage, which literally means a washing out of the colon with infusions of water or a medicated solution, a practice researchers worldwide have found to be both safe and effective. British researchers report that “on-table lavage of the colon” is “an effective method” enabling surgeons to perform operations “with reasonable safety.” A team of Italian surgeons have deemed colon lavage safer than operating on the colon in the event of obstruction. Physicians in Germany using saline solutions to expand the colon for sonography as well as physicians in Japan using saline irrigation pumped through an endotracheal tube to clear impacted feces have determined that the technique is useful and effective. This past year, in the United States, federal health agencies (the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the Food and Drug Administration) concluded that coffee enemas, found previously to be 20 percent as effective as colon hydrotherapy in ensuring colon health, are “harmless.”

How Does the Colon Become Unhealthy?

An unclean, weak, or impaired colon is a breeding ground for disease. The culprits are mainly a combination of poor diet, dehydration, limited exercise, and accumulated toxins. The standard American/Aruban diet (SAD) of refined, processed foods high in saturated fats, sugar, flour, and preservatives and low in fiber kills healthy bacteria in the bowels, paving the way for intestinal parasites. What’s more, highly refined foods are difficult to digest, and undigested as well as partially chewed food, along with environmental toxins such as heavy metals, stagnate in the colon. Over time, the accumulation of old, hardened feces sticks to the walls of the colon, inhibiting its ability to absorb nutrients. At this point, it is forced instead to absorb toxins from the fecal buildup and fight off the parasites that have been feeding on it.

But the problem doesn’t stop there. The toxins and parasites soon pass into the circulatory system, which then distributes them throughout the body. When these poisons accumulate in the nervous system, we feel irritable and depressed. When they back up into the heart, we feel weak, and when they reach the stomach, bloated. If they contact the lungs, our breath will turn foul. If they try to escape through the skin, rashes, blotches, or acne may develop, or our skin might turn pale and wrinkly, adding years to our appearance. Should the toxins and parasites make it to the glands, we will feel fatigued and lethargic, so much so that our sex drive may cease.

What Are the Signs of an Unhealthy Colon?

The colon signals its distress through many easily identifiable symptoms. The most common symptom is chronic constipation. Contrary to accepted medical standards, a bowel movement every few days is not normal; the digestive system is designed to eliminate waste daily, with no straining. Other telltale signs are excessive gas, bloating, burping, and an uncomfortable fullness after eating. Physical appearance, too, can give clues such as poor skin tone or blemishes; dry, drab hair; or a distended belly. Additional indicators include mood swings, fatigue, depression, irritability, low energy, PMS, and insomnia. Another outcome is congestion. The malodorous chemicals the compromised colon produces, aptly named cadaverine and putrescine, stimulate mucus production in the sinuses, which can result in headaches, frequent colds, sinus infections, allergies, or food intolerances—all of which signal an unhealthy colon.

How Can I Keep My Colon Healthy?

In addition to getting regular colonic treatments, following are some easy ways to rebuild and maintain colon health:

1. Drink plenty of filtered water every day, preferably half your body weight in ounces.
2. Eat brown rice daily, a food rich in B vitamins.
3. Take a magnesium capsule to hydrate the intestinal tract and liberate oxygen, which encourages the growth of healthy (aerobic) bacteria, while inhibiting the proliferation of unhealthy (anaerobic) bacteria and fungi.
4. Take probiotics, friendly microscopic organisms that enhance digestion and aid the absorption of nutrients.
5. Control Candida—a yeast-like parasitic fungus that can cause thrush in the mouth, vagina, or intestinal tract—through diet and supplements. Ask your health practitioner for recommendations.
6. Exercise to the level of your ability.
7. Practice releasing old patterns and embracing new ones.

Think of colon hydrotherapy as a deep cleaning of the house (some would say temple) that is your body. It flushes away bowel toxicities, reducing the burden on the liver. Simultaneously, it hydrates the body, cooling the fire of inflammation. It also removes excess yeast and rids the intestines of dangerous parasites. Ultimately, it helps you eliminate old stuff, both physical and emotional. More than a highly effective treatment for a variety of ailments, colon hydrotherapy is a pathway to vibrant health.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Carlos M. Viana, known internationally as the barefoot doctor of Aruba, founded and directs the Viana Natural Healing Center, the island's only medical provider outside the socialized health care system. An Oriental Medical Doctor, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, certified addiction professional, and age management specialist as well as a colon therapist and colon therapy instructor, Viana views chronic inflammation due to long-standing acidity as the foundation of all degenerative illness. His comprehensive treatment modality, biocompatible medicine, combines the best of alternative and conventional care to guide people back to health. This integrative approach to healing is described in his book Introduction to Biocompatible Medicine: A Holistic Protocol for Today's World (Healing Spirit Press, 2008). Visit his Web site at