Cleansing from the Inside Out: an Historical Perspective—and Mine, by Helene B. Leonetti MD

Helene Leonetti photoIn ancient Egypt, colon cleansing was practiced to cleanse the large intestines from food thought to be purified, a condition called ‘auto-intoxication.’  Beginning in the 1960’s medical journals began publishing articles refuting this concept, essentially calling this practice bogus.  May I offer some thoughts.

One hundred million Americans have digestive disorders, much of which stem from chronic constipation.  When food does not get metabolized with nutrients being absorbed and waste products excreted through regular, effortless bowel movements, disease occurs.  One just has to see the popularity of laxatives, and colon cleanses lining the shelves of pharmacies, as well as health food stores.  One very popular laxative, brand name Miralax, actually is polyethylene glycol, the ingredient in radiator fluid circulating through our car’s engine.    A brief article I came across linked it to cardiac issues, though I have not found it again for corroboration.  Just putting antifreeze in my body gives me pause and passionately  sent me to find safer and healthier alternatives.

The major benefit of colon hydrotherapy (CHT) is to hydrate the colon which encourages peristalsis (the rhythmic movement of digested food toward the anus where it is eliminated).  This benefits gas, bloating, and digestive distress.  If folks are not moving their bowels,  hydrotherapy can soften the fecal matter which the colon can then release.  So many of us are chronically constipated because we are chronically dehydrated, thanks to our love affair with caffeinated drinks and a deficiency in drinking water.  Thus CHT is great for colon motility issues.

Another wonderful use for CHT is as a prep for endoscopy and colonoscopy.  I personally had to consume a gallon of the magnesium go lightly prep for colon surgery in the 1990s.  I was so nauseated and vomited before my surgery that going under anesthesia with an already unsettled digestion did not bode well for my recovery .  This preparation is especially problematic for older patients and can in those with borderline  renal function actually cause kidney failure.  And the vomiting as well as diarrhea creates electrolyte imbalance that has serious implications, especially before major surgery.  Two years ago, despite being ordered to consume this mammoth amount of fluid before my colonoscopy, I instead went for a colon hydrotherapy session and my surgeon was delighted with the pristine colon presented for his perusal.

Another consideration for using CHT: chemo patients sail through their chemotherapy regimen with greatly reduced side effects even if they are only doing one CHT session weekly.  It creates an environment where the body can release toxins: metals, parasites, yeast, undigested food.  There is more and more data confirming that major illnesses can be attributed to hidden food allergies.  CHT provides an outlet for toxins to leave the body rather than coming out through the skin, for example.  Our bodies were not designed to handle the toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis.  Research shows huge numbers of toxins and chemicals are contributing  to our food, water, and air contamination.

Our inner ecology is reflecting the ecology of our planet.  Colon hydrotherapy can, along with nutritional changes, be a life altering method to improve one’s health.  My envisioning herbs and nutrients as first line of defense for patients presenting with illness  has been enlarged as I see colon hydrotherapy being routinely used  before surgery, as well as regular cleansing for our constipated, stopped up colons, more common than we are willing to admit.

Critics of this practice claim it is destabilizing our electrolyte balance and washing out the good probiotics and prebiotics that reside in our intestines.  This has been refuted in studies done by naturopathic physicians whose   motto stresses the body’s innate ability to heal itself when given the right tools.  Practitiioners  of CHT generally suggest 12 sessions for symptomatic patients then thereafter a maintenance session every 1-2 months once the colon establishes a more regular, harmonious elimination schedule.

Visit www.I-ACT.org website and educated yourself about yet another modality for achieving and maintaining vibrant health without drugs.