After 5 years, tomorrow is my last day as a Colon Hydrotherapist. As colon hydrotherapy is a topic that a lot of people are intrigued by, I thought then whilst I reflect myself on what I’ve learned from it over the last 5 years, I’d put together a post with my take on it.
My Background Into Colon Hydrotherapy
How I got into colon hydrotherapy was after having the seed of it planted in my mind some 14 years ago doing a 7 Day Fasting Retreat at Dharma Healing International in Koh Samui, Thailand. Self administered enema’s were part of the program with the rationale being that as you flushed out toxicity from the cells, you needed to enhance their elimination through the various elimination channels (colon, kidneys, skin and respiration). Colon irrigation supported elimination via the colon. Other things we did daily such as yoga, breathing exercises, massage and sauna served to assist the other elimination channels.
Certainly in the context of detoxing, colon irrigation made perfect sense, so when my partner Tara and I decided to start our own urban retreat, Boda Wellbeing years later, it had to be part of our centre.
Since then I’ve seen on average about 100 clients a month, so I would have done in the vicinity of 6000 procedures.
What was it like as a Therapist?
I’m sure many of my family and friends thought I’d lost my mind when I first told them that I was leaving my corporate career to become a colon hydrotherapist. Whilst they knew I had a background in health education and a passion for natural therapies, it still would have come as quite a surprise that I chose this path.
Certainly at times it tested me. Most people come in nervous the first time and the experience for some people can be more intense. As a male therapist with 90% of my clients female, I also occasionally had to overcome some extra nervousness related to being a guy. It tended to bring the best out in me though, because to establish trust and rapport, I had to find a way to connect.
I also had to maintain a strong sense of purpose and self belief. Certainly there were times when people would pass judgement on what I do. I got used to reminding myself not to take things personally, because the truth is that when someone tries to make you feel inferior, it’s never actually about you, it’s always very much about them.
Overwhelmingly though I found these last 5 years as a colon hydrotherapist to be a richly rewarding experience. Apart from being able to help a lot of people, there was something about this therapy which enabled me to makes strong connections with people. I learned a lot from clients.
For the Same Reasons you go to the Dentist..
“What is the benefit of colon irrigation”? This was among the most common questions clients would ask me. For me I always took a very pragmatic view of colon hydrotherapy. I often thought it was a therapy either undervalued or overvalued. The truth though, (as with most things in life) lies somewhere in the middle.
I saw clients from all walks of life and all levels of health. For some, colon hydrotherapy provided relief from a troubling system, such as chronic bloating or sluggishness. Others were drawn to it as a way to “start afresh”, whilst others incorporated it into their “detox” as a means to support and enhance that process.
I believe drawing some parallels to going to the Dental Hygienist is appropriate when considering the merits of colon hydrotherapy. Most people would agree that an annual trip to your Dental Hygienist for a “scale and clean” makes sense. If you’ve got issues with plague build up or gum disease then your initial treatment plan works to overcome it, with subsequent follow-ups as appropriate. I treated my clients much the same way because after all, aren’t we just dealing with the other end of the alimentary canal?
If things can go wrong with your oral hygiene then why wouldn’t the same be truth at the other end?
Indeed, if medical science can uncover that with dental disease there is an increased risk of coronary heart disease then given that things can get a hell of a lot more unhealthy at the other end, shouldn’t we be more proactive about keeping that area of our alimentary canal clean and healthy?
We know already that an unhealthy colon become a fertile environment for pathogenic yeast, bacteria and parasite build-up, leading to dysbiosis or IBS. It also increases our risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) i.e ulcerative colitis, crohns disease or more seriously, colon cancer.
The above risks aside though, I believe a more compelling reason to maintain a clean healthy colon is to provide the right environment to house our beneficial microflora. We are only just beginning to touch the surface of just how significant the state of our gut flora is to our greater health. Ground breaking research such as that being conducted by the Human Microbiome Project may in fact some day prove that nothing is more important to our health than preserving a healthy inner ecology. Our colon is the seat of our microbe colony.
Dispelling Some Myths..
I mentioned above that colon hydrotherapy often gets not only undervalued but also overvalued. It’s obviously not a silver bullet. That said though, positively impacting the health of any bodily organ is going to have a positive knock on effect, especially so with the colon.
I’ve often said to clients that colon hydrotherapy simply is the first step; by cleaning things up, you give body the opportunity to begin to reset itself. In this cleaner, healthier environment, our beneficial microbes begin to establish healthy balance – the true healing and magic comes after that.
Colon hydrotherapy though does however get held back from being acknowledged as a legitimate health promoting therapy by not only ill-informed, fear based, “conventional medical” thinking but also by ridiculous myths. Here is my view on some of these..
- Are people carrying around an average of 2kgs of compacted, dry stool? (i.e “old stuff” as my clients often referred to it as).. I got asked this a lot because it’s a myth that has been heavily propagated by people 1. either trying to sell you something, 2. don’t know what they’re talking about, or 3. they’ve heard this falsity so many times they assume it is correct. Truth is that a very small percentage of the population may have a degree of “old stuff” accumulated but even among constipated clients I always felt that in at least 95% of cases, stool wasn’t getting permanently “stuck in there”. More likely it was moving through very slowly. For some it might takes days, a week or more even but it does come out (sometimes helped by a good curry) but months, years? – nah. Certainly in doing thousands of colonics, I never saw obvious evidence of removing matter that was years old (heaven forbid)! The pictures people see on the internet of so-called “mucoid plague” (goopy looking stuff) is in 99% of cases, nothing more than the after-effect of consuming herbs, psyllium husk and or bentonite clay etc.
- Did I ever see parasites or something swallowed as a kid i.e coin, chewing gum, barbie shoe, toy car etc)? No I didn’t, but God knows how many times over the years someone said to me that they had “heard about someone” who had removed something like the above. Parasites, that’s possible, particularly after someone does an intensive parasite cleanse, but in my clinical practice I never saw large worms coming out through the viewing tube (doubtless there would have been microscopic ones in stool, but in my experience nothing like a large tapeworm). The rest like coins and toys swallowed years ago will remain to me as just urban myths. Certainly it would have made things more interesting if I did see those sort of things floating by, but no, it never happened!
- Can it be dangerous, and does it not take out all of your good bacteria? I was asked (for good reason) this question often. Administered by a well-trained experienced therapist, you have nothing to be concerned about – the water goes in very slowly and then has a gentle washing action. I did a lot of research early in my practice to find documented cases of ‘bowel perforations” from colon hydrotherapy – I am not aware of any with a therapist administered “closed system”. The “open system” (Libbe) where you do it yourself, I’m not so sure about. I think when you hear about “bad experiences” with colonics, 90% of the time it is when they’ve done a “do it yourself”, “open system” colonic. As for the concern of removing your good bacteria, that untruth simply defies anatomical reality. Our beneficial bacteria is tucked securely into the mucosal lining of the colon. The gentle washing action of colon irrigation removes stool, not the mucosal lining.
In the end regardless of what I say, I know that colon hydrotherapy will remain one of those things that most people are going to remain black or white on. It’s not for everyone, as I often said to clients who were urging their partners or friends to try – it’s not something you can talk somebody else into. If it’s not for you then I suggest looking at alternative ways to flush yourself out periodically. Salt flushes , Herbal Laxatives or self-administered enema kits such as a Higginson Syringe can all be very effective.
So, after 5 years, with my move towards embracing new challenges, I say goodbye to being a Colon Hydrotherapist. I feel that I owe a lot to the unique learning opportunity and growth experience that it has provided. Much of the insight I’ve gained on health has come from working with people through this wonderful therapy. For that I’m most grateful.
The Floor is Now Yours
Colon hydrotherapy can be a pretty polarising subject. Maybe I’ve missed something important in my summary here, or perhaps you disagree with something I’ve written. Maybe you’ve had your own experience that you would like to add to the discussion? Would love to hear from you.
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Aaron Travers is author of “The Boda Fast – a three step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality”. Aaron writes at www.thebodacleanse.com.au and shares his ideas and experiences on health and wellbeing from his personal life and through working with clients clinically and those doing his “supported fasting” programs. Every Friday he sends out his newsletter, fill in below form to subscribe.