COLONICS aren’t for everyone. In fact, the process of having your colon cleansed and essentially ‘flushed out’ with water, which is released down a tube inserted into the rectum… well, it sounds pretty horrific, let’s be honest.
But in the words of Victoria Cooper, a Colonic Hydrotherapist at EF Medispa (efmedispa.com), a colonic is “not a torture chamber, it’s a gentle session”.
There has been some backlash over colonics – also known as colonic irrigation – thanks to a lack of research that proves any real benefits.
Plus, there’s a lot that can be discovered by analysing what comes out of the plastic tube…
The colon, the longest part of the large intestine, is larger than you think, at a pretty impressive five to six feet in length.
A key part of the digestive system, it’s the colon that essentially turns food waste into stools, before it’s excreted through the anus when we go for a number two.
Constipation typically occurs when food moves very slowly through our digestive system, which makes stools dryer, harder and tougher to push out.
If you’ve experienced constipation – which one in seven UK adults supposedly are at any one time – then you’ll know how debilitating it can be.
Victoria says the colon also has “pockets along the length”, which can store trapped waste.
The water gently released up the colon via a plastic tube during a colonic, “encourages the movement of trapped waste and the body to start releasing”.
Before a session, which can last up to an hour, Victoria discusses the client’s medical history, after this, it’s up to the body to give away what’s going on inside.
“There’s not a lot you can hide from your hydrotherapist; in fact, the body doesn’t lie,” says Victoria.
So what is a hydrotherapist thinking as they flush out the colon…
I know if you’re constipated
“I had a client who didn’t go to the loo properly for six months,” says Victoria.
She adds that in a scenario like this, or even general constipation, the body is unable to release the waste and the person may have to come for several sessions before the body relents and lets it out.
Before this, it might just be gas that is released or ‘diluted sludge’.
“If a client tells me they only go for a poo once a week, I’ll be very happy if we can get them to once a day,” says Victoria.
Victoria says the optimum time for a poo is 46 to 60 minutes after a meal.
“If someone does not eliminate daily, there is likely to be a constipation issue.
“For some, that is a temporary situation: for others, a pattern has taken hold, for one reason or another.”
I know you’ve been ill
“I could get an idea that someone has had an infection lately,” says Victoria.
“The stool formation is very particular; it’s scrambled eggy.”
I can tell what you’ve been eating
The colour of the waste that comes out during a colonic can reveal someone’s diet.
“Generally if their diet is high in carbs and sugar I can tell by the texture and colour. Carbs are a high tan colour,” says Victoria.
White carbs such as white rice and pasta look ‘milky’ and can clog people up.
If a client has been eating a high amount of protein, Victoria says this tends to come out as “darker, white, sticky solids”.
She adds that green coloured water is indicative of a high vegetable intake, while discoloured water can be a sign of old and recent food waste.
In saying this, there is no ‘ideal’ colour for waste, as it is dependent upon your diet.
“However, if there were abnormalities – chalky white – then I would be flagging that,” says Victoria.
If that’s the case, it’s advised that you see your GP to investigate further.
How hydrated you are can influence what comes out
“I can tell if a person has had insufficient fluid.
“The body won’t release much during the colonic, unless it’s much further into the session or immediately after, when they go to the toilet,” says Victoria.
The UK’s Eatwell Guide recommends six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day.
Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.
A lack of fluid can cause dehydration in the colon, leading to hard stools and constipation.
“People should have enough for their particular needs; don’t drown yourself, but have an adequate intake and include watery fruits and veg in your diet too,” says Victoria.
I’m checking for you peristaltic response
The peristaltic response is “the wavy worm-like movement of the digestive tract”.
“Some people have strong peristaltic responses whereas others have practically zilch,” says Victoria.
“This could be down to a range of reasons such as some medications having an effect on the nerve supply, stress, negative emotions, bile insufficiency if the liver isn’t working, it could be tiredness, or even inactivity.”
Being well hydrated and regular exercise can help improve your peristaltic response.
Stress has an impact
“If clients are going through an emotional time or any situation that’s causing stress, this can heavily influence their ability to release,” says Victoria.
“The peristaltic muscle function can be compromised, and work less efficiently; and digestive secretions can be reduced, which reduce both efficiency of the digestion itself, and also gut motility.”
She adds: “If we hold onto things emotionally and physiologically, the body will echo that pattern.”
Constipation can be long term
“Some people have an extra long colon and will generally have a life long problem with constipation,” reveals Victoria.
The colon may have extra loops and the food waste has to get around and through all sorts of different nooks and crannies.
“Some people with an extra-long colon opt to have regular colonics to prevent uncomfortable accumulations of trapped waste.
“The extra length presents a challenge for the body in terms of both the length of time needed to expel, and often there are extra loops and corners which can attract accumulations and in time, become blockages which can then trigger other adverse bowel conditions.”
Including pain and discomfort.
Gas can be a real problem
“The biggest clogger in the colon is the gas,” reveals Victoria, who says that people can end up in A&E with too much gas.
“The body reads it as fibreless food and can’t move it along very easily.”
She adds: “Gas comes from digestion or poor digestion. Some foods are naturally gas forming, like onions and broccoli.
“Under chewing can also cause gas, as can fizzy drinks, chewing gum and inactivity,” Victoria adds.
Staying hydrated, exercising and ensuring you eat in a stress-free environment (away from work!) while chewing food properly, can help reduce the amount of gas produced.
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