The colon is the longest part of the large intestine, which is attached to the small intestine at one end and the anus at the other. The role of the colon is to eliminate stool from the body that’s made up of a combination of bacteria, water, unused nutrients, unneeded electrolytes and digested food.
There are many different methods for performing a colon cleanse, which sometimes go under the names colonic, colonic irrigation, colon therapy or colonic hydrotherapy. You can also effectively flush the colon doing something like a juice fast, salt water flush or performing an enema. Colon cleanses are split into two main categories: one type requires that a professional perform the cleanse, while the other involves using a solution or supplement at home.
One of the most common reasons someone would have a colonic done by a professional is because he or she is preparing for surgery or a medical procedure (such as colonoscopy) that requires the colon to be completely clear from accumulated waste. On the other hand, cleansing is commonly done at home using an enema, laxatives or herbal supplements (like senna) to relieve constipation, bloating and other digestive symptoms.
Many colon cleanses work by inserting a tube into the rectum followed by large amounts of water, which makes its way through the colon. The water carries out any matter that might be dry and lodged in place. The exact amount of water or other type of liquid that’s used depends on the specific type of colon-cleansing method. Colonics, for example, can use up to 16 gallons (about 60 liters) of water at one time!
What Are the Benefits of a Colon Cleanse?
While there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence, considering colon cleanses have been done since Ancient Greek times, according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology,there haven’t been many well-controlled studies done in humans to prove the benefits of a cleanse. (3) That being said, millions of people over the years have found relief from doing colon cleanses, and when done safely and correctly, they shouldn’t pose many risks. For people who haven’t found lasting relief from things like laxatives or prescriptions, a colon cleanse can finally help bring about regular bowel movements and decrease symptoms.
Studies show that bowel movements are important for removing bacteria, heavy metal detox or eliminating excess fatty acids from the body. A colon cleanse can also impact the nervous system positively, which is why it might help symptoms like anxiety and fatigue.
How Different Colon Cleanses Compare
Colon cleanses and colonics can take anywhere from 20–90 minutes, depending on which kind you decide to try. Some people react more quickly and experience better results than others, but keep in mind that colon cleanses might become more effective and easier the more often you do them. At first, it might seem difficult to insert much liquid and hold it in, but you might find colon cleanses become more beneficial as you learn how to do them properly with practice.
To understand the different options you have in regard to various colon cleanses, it helps to have some background of how different types work and affect your digestive system. First off, keep in mind that water isn’t the only substance used during colon cleansing. Various saline formulas, herbs or acidic solutions are also used to flush waste.