Updated: Dec 8, 2022
A lot of people have no idea what colonics is, so if you are unsure of what this treatment is, you are not alone.
Let's start with some history on colon hydrotherapy, also known as colonic irrigation. It is difficult to know the exact time, but research shows that the initial colon hydrotherapy practices, known as the enema (I will get into the difference between an enema and colonic), was used as early as the 14th Century of B.C in Egypt. However, the use was not just limited to the Egyptians, but the Greeks and Romans also contributed to the history of the enema. Hippocrates (4th + 5th Century B.C.), a Greek physician, who is famous for quoting "all disease begins in the gut" was recorded using enemas for fever therapy and was a strong proponent for colon cleansing as a medicinal tool.
The history continues throughout the years, but i'll save you the boring stuff. Unless you love history! Then I will happily provide you resources to read up on the history of colon hydrotherapy. But let's move forward to the current times of colonics, the benefits, the process, and my journey to becoming a colon hydrotherapist!
What is Colon Hydrotherapy? The most common question I get! Honestly, when I heard the term colonics in 2019, I had zero clue what that meant. Even after studying holistic nutrition and working as a nurse for 7 years! Sure, I've heard of an enema, but colonics was a foreign word.
I went for my first colon hydrotherapy session a few weeks after hearing the term, as I had learned it was a cleansing process and can help with digestive issues. I had constant bloat, sometimes severe stomach pain after eating, brain fog and lack of energy, and crazy sugar cravings. I couldn't go a day without sugar, let alone finish a meal without something sweet!
I didn't know what to expect going into my first treatment (which I'm sure a lot of you don't either) so I was a little nervous. Nerves are totally normally, but sometimes nervousness sends a stress signal to your body, which can slow digestion. It is important to be in as a relaxed state as possible during a treatment to ease the process and make it more comfortable.
Easier said than done, but rest assured, almost everyone leaves their first treatment saying "wow that wasn't as bad as I thought!"
Colon hydrotherapy is a gentle cleanse of the large colon. The trained colon hydrotherapist will insert a small speculum into the rectum as you lay on your left side, then roll you back onto your back as this is the optimal position to ensure the water can reach the whole colon, and then the treatment begins!
The colon hydrotherapist will then slowly start to fill the colon with clean, filtered water. All of our tubing, speculum, and shorts provided are disposable, so we don't reuse any equipment! At Sona Wellness, we use an EC-2000 Aquanet, which is a closed system, meaning the waste goes straight through the tubing and into the sewer, versus being collected in a "bath tub" type machine, known as an open system. There are benefits to both. I've tried both and conducted both and personally prefer the closed system.
Over the next 45 minutes, the colon hydrotherapist will continually introduce water into the colon, and then slowly release the water and begin to remove stool + built up toxins. Everyone is different, and sometimes it can take up to 30 minutes before you release anything at all! This depends person to person on how their digestion is functioning to begin with.
Depending on how the treatment goes, the colon hydrotherapist then will discuss with you if more treatments are needed. Typically, people should have an initial 3-5 treatments to get a full release. The first treatment is essentially "scratching the surface" as we are just beginning to hydrate the bowel and start to peel back the layers of hardened stool. After the 45 minute treatment, the speculum is removed, and you get to sit on the toilet and release the rest of the water out, which I always say, is part of the cleanse!
Afterwards, you may want to take it easy and rest, as this is a detox protocol. You may feel tired, experience cramping and have a slight headache. Again, this depends person to person. Bigger detoxes and releases may yield more detox reactions. Typically, you leave feeling a little lighter on your toes, more energized, and less bloat!
Who is colon hydrotherapy for? Well, I may be biased, but I truly believe everyone can benefit from colon cleansing! Between the food we eat, the toxins we breathe, the beauty supplies we use on our bodies, and other toxins we may consume such as alcohol and pharmaceuticals, our liver and other digestive organs are working overtime to detox these substances. This is what can cause digestive disturbances, as toxins slowly accumulate and can cause poor digestion and constipation, slowed metabolism, and poor nutrient absorption.
"All disease begins in the gut" quoted by Hippocrates is of course a controversial term, but I believe spot on. Our gut is our gatekeeper to what we allow to enter into our bloodstream, and the integrity of our intestinal barrier is extremely important to ensure we aren't allowing too many toxins in! If you suffer from leaky gut symptoms (bloating, indigestion, food intolerances, skin issues, poor immune system etc), then colon hydrotherapy can be an excellent treatment to help cleanse the body while also working on repairing your gut, which your Colon Hydrotherapist will have plenty of advice on dietary and supplement approaches to healing leaky gut!
People who suffer from constipation can also greatly benefit from colon hydrotherapy. Colonics help to hydrate the bowel and loosen up hardened stool lining the colon, as well as can break up a possible blockage that has been causing the constipation. When you're constipated, your whole digestive system becomes backed up can affect your liver and gallbladder function.
Colonics also offer a liver/gallbladder flush through the hepatic portal vein connected to the large colon. By flushing out these important digestive organs, they can function better at detoxing the blood/metabolizing fats, and other important roles they have to ensure you are functioning at your best!
You also don't have to have digestive issues to come in for a colonic. You can simply just be taking a proactive approach + come in for a cleanse! You will still feel the benefits of colon hydrotherapy regardless of how you felt coming in. The efforts you put into your health now, will pay off into the future.
Maintenance will also look different for everyone. After your initial treatments you can discuss with your colon hydrotherapist a maintenance program. This could look like coming once monthly to keep your digestion running smoothly, doing a seasonal cleanse (spring cleaning is more for than just house cleaning!), or yearly like some clients prefer (after Christmas or September is usually most popular). Again, we recommend a 3-5 treatment initial within a few weeks to a month to get a complete release, and we will chat about maintenance from there.
After my initial 2 sessions I was already quite blown away by the results. The first thing I noticed was a complete stop in sugar cravings. Now, to be fair, I grew up on sugar. Sugar cereals, chocolate bars, McCain cakes + ice cream every night, which only lead to me consuming lots of sugar from an adult and causing dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut which contributes to consuming more sugar to feed the bad bacteria). I also grew up with chronic strep throat and took antibiotics more times that I could count, further disrupting my gut microbiome.
By doing just a few colon hydrotherapy sessions, I was able to wash out the bad bacteria and then increase the good bacteria by adding in probiotic supplements and probiotic foods. Along with getting rid of my sugar cravings, I experienced less bloat + poor digestion, a stronger immune system, increased energy, and better skin! There are so many wonderful things that can happen to the body when we detox regularly and cleanse our liver. Also note, I made some important dietary changes and a supplement regime to heal my gut that also contributed to these positive changes, but I truly believe colonics was the catalyst to my healing.
I then became trained to be an I-ACT Certified Colon Hydrotherapist 3 years ago, and the rest is history! I am also celebrating 10 years as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse this month, and will forever be grateful for my time working in the hospital and working with acute mental illness, but my passion quickly grew to owning a business in holistic health care + wellness.
We also offer Contrast Hydrotherapy (infrared sauna + cold plunge) at Sona Wellness, so stay tuned for more blog posts all about hot and cold therapy!
Wishing you happiness + health