Colon Health

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Colon and Liver Cleansing

Feb 2007

Hi- I am considering doing some type of body cleansing and am overwhelmed by the mass amount of products, processes and literature out there. I am thinking about a liver and or colon cleanse but also hear that they can be to harsh for your body. Anyone know anything that might make my decision easier? I am hoping, in addition to cleansing my body for general health reasons, I also want to help alleviate sugar/food cravings, take off a few pounds and just feel good. I do not do drugs and don't drink much but just want to rid my body of any toxins that I can. I enjoy exercise and healthy eating, but feel like I need to take things to the next level if you know what I mean. Wanna be Clean

I highly recommend Anne-Louise Gittleman's book ''The One Day Fast Track De-tox Diet''. It's not actually one day, it's really 11 days. 7 days of preparing for a one day fast, one day of a particular juice fast, and 3 days coming off the fast. I do this periodically to ''clean out'' and get back on track. The book is interesting, fast reading, easy to understand and do- able. She has recipes, easy to follow meal plans, suggestions for supplements to take during the 11 days. I never find it difficult...lots of vegies, some fruits and protein. She specifies which vegies/fruits are for liver, kidney, blood etc. You eat certain amounts of portions per day. No special products (except unsweetened cranberry juice) no things that are hard on the body. When I do this I try to plan the fast for a day when I'm not busy (not working) but out of the house so that I''m not idle at home where food is available...that works for me. This is a great detox that will leave you feeling clean and energized. Good luck anon

A short fasting diet probably won't hurt you, but please educate yourself about these detox treatments first. It's a big money-maker for the people who want you to buy their teas and herbs, and it has no scientific basis, none. Here's a quote from :

It can be terrifying to believe that one's body is being poisoned by toxins from within. But if this were true, the human race would not have survived, says Vincent F. Cordaro, M.D., an FDA medical officer. A person who retained wastes and toxins would be very ill and could die if not treated. The whole concept is irrational and unscientific. The detoxification theory can enable con artists to gain great power over their customers by diagnosing and curing potentially fatal (but nonexistent) illnesses. They have to invent the idea of toxins, says Peter Fodor, president of the Lipoplasty Society of North America, because that gives them something to pretend they can fix.

Practical Mom

Colon hydrotherapy?

Feb 2006

What are people's thoughts/experiences with colon hydrotherapy - - or high colonics, or whatever the proper term is? I have mostly regular bowel movements -- and am pretty good about eating fiberous fruits and vegetables -- but I read once in a while that the average colon is carrying or impacted with more matter than is eliminated. Is this true? If so, is it actually a problem -- that is, does it all move through eventually anyway? One friend is a devotee of regular colon cleansing; other friends think it is nonsense. Advice? Thanks! Wondering

Hi, I had colon hydrotherapy once, several years ago. Exercised fairly regularly then but did not have a great diet. It was an interesting experience - I found out just how sluggish my digestive system was. I never went back because of the cost but I would say try it just once for yourself and see how you feel. The person I went to was a nurse and I think that helped me feel better about the process. Anon

I'm a proponent of research-based decisions about products and services, and find the ''Quackwatch'' website to be useful, in that the person who runs it does refer to current research. For information about colonics, see

I recently had a colonoscopy. To do that, you don't eat for 24 hours and take a powerful laxative. Then, as they put a little camera through what seems like miles of your innards, you get to watch on a little tv. It is ''fascinating''. I can tell you that there is NOTHING COMPACTED IN THERE. And I eat lots of meat by the way, along with fruits and vegetables. It was clean as a whistle. I assume that when you are eating a normal diet, things just move along through your system, as they should. Save your money and buy some really good vegetables instead. Seen it All

hi! I plan on doing the colon detox offered by blessed herbs because, like you, although I eat a lot of fiber and stuff, I just think we need to clean out the system. People used to fast periodically for spiritual/cultural reasons and we don't really do that anymore. I am waiting for my baby to wean before I do this--but I can let you know how it goes, if you'd like. best,l

I have had about five colonics and have to say, while they couldn't be described as enjoyable, they seemed to be very worthwhile. Part of it was the emotional component, the level of trust with the practitioner (meaning, if he or she seems like someone you don't trust, DONT DO IT - it can be very emotionally intense). I felt so clean and clear afterward. I keep doing them about once a year. They can diagnose some things like mild liver stress as well, which I found helpful. Elizabeth

I've worked in western medicine as a registered nurse for 30 years. I've always believed strongly in complimentary/alternative medicine and, since it was related to my nursing specialty, I became certified in colon hydrotherapy in 1997. I worked at an alternative clinic in the Bay Area and also traveled to Sydney Australia to intern at a colon hydrotherapy clinic there that had six tables. As with many alternative therapies, the science of colonics and detoxification has not caught up with the evidence. I have seen the effect of cleansing and detoxification on the body - the eyes and skin get clear, people feel ''better'' in general and their general health often improves - fewer colds, more energy.

The colon however, while it may be misshapen with narrow areas from contractions or dilated areas from chronic constipation - does not hold pounds of waste that never leave. Look at a colonoscopy on an 85 year old that has only had an oral clean out - it looks like pink and clean from top to bottom. The pressure of chronic constipation and the effects of a poor diet can, however, harm the condition of the lining, the musculature and therefore, the functioning. So what does the colonic do?

It has a systemic cleansing effect. Putting all that water up there and washing the colon out definitely ''lightens the load''. It hydrates (enemas were a way of hydrating people before IV's) but it does more than that - is it osmosis? I don't know, but colonics would not be around for all this time if there was nothing to them. A word of caution: I met a woman who now has a colostomy because her colonic practitioner pushed the speculum through her colon and dumped a liter of water into her peritoneal cavity. I haven't heard many horror stories but that one gave me pause. I am no longer practicing colonics because there were too many questions, but I would still get one from a trusted practitioner. A true butt specialist