Many people have pre-conceived ideas about Colonic Hydrotherapy (also know as colonic irrigation.) Our aim is to explain how the treatment is performed and give you some ideas as you whether it is something you would wish to undertake.
Colon Hydrotherapy is not a new treatment. In fact, it was used in hospitals until recent times when it was replaced by strong purgatives which are used for emptying the bowel before procedures or treating faecal impaction.
The colonic treatment stimulates bowel activity by using the body's natural nerve and muscular response mechanisms, so is essentially a natural treatment. Laxatives are used to initiate a response by acting in different ways, such as by irritation or reversing the osmotic gradient.
By using the body's natural nerve and muscular activity colonic hydrotherapy may help to tone and exercise the bowel, thus aiding the evacuation of waste both during and after treatment.
Colonic treatment is used as a naturopathic modality and clients who choose this treatment include those who suffer from various bowel conditions. One of the best things about colonic hydrotherapy is that the benefits of the treatment are very personal to the client. This means that as a client you will know how you feel after the treatment. You won't need to be influenced by anyone else.
Many people report an improvement in symptoms, and choose to have colonic hydrotherapy on a regular basis. Others wish to experience one treatment to see what it is like. In an ARCH survey, 96% of people consulting an ARCH practitioner would recommend the treatment. This shows an extremely high level of satisfaction.
As a professional organisation our therapists will not make claims to cure chronic conditions.
You do not need to make any special changes to your diet or lifestyle before a treatment, however many people choose to have a treatment when embarking upon a new health regime.
As registered, professional therapists, we are used to people feeling nervous, especially before a first treatment. Part of our job is to put you at ease and ensure you are comfortable having your treatment.
At your first appointment your therapist will take a full medical case history, and will explain the procedure and treatment process to you. Do not hesitate to ask any questions.
A brief rectal exam must be carried out and then the speculum is gently introduced 1.5 inches (4cm) into the rectum. This procedure should not be painful. If you feel any pain or discomfort please inform your therapist.
An inlet and outlet tube are attached to the outside of the speculum to provide a through-flow of water going in and water and waste going out. The waste is piped away, and since the whole system is closed, there is no odour.
After lying on your left side to allow the speculum to be gently inserted, your therapist will ask you to turn onto your back. To assist elimination of waste and gas pockets your therapist may use gentle abdominal massage techniques.
Sometimes herbal infusions are used during a colonic treatment and a probiotic (friendly bacteria) implant may be given afterwards if indicated. Again your therapist will discuss your treatment with you during the session.
Every treatment is individual, but as a guide we estimate around 60 litres of filtered water is used per treatment. However, only small amounts of water are allowed to enter the bowel at any one time. The water acts as a stimulant to tell the bowel it is full, and the bowel muscle responds by contracting and eliminating waste matter and the water. It acts in the same way as when your bowel is full normally and you have the feeling you want to go to the toilet.
The water pressure is carefully controlled and is in fact lower than is normally generated during a bowel movement.
In all the colonic treatment takes around 30-45 minutes on the couch. (See FAQ's for whole treatment time information.)
Your therapist will discuss with you your individual motivation for deciding to have a colonic treatment. People have different reason for having a treatment so you will be treated as an individual. An ARCH therapist will never pressurise anyone to have more treatments than are desired or necessary. As a professional organisation our therapists are trained to the highest standards and we will always give you our best advice.
Yes. Since they are not self administered but conducted by an ARCH therapist they have a proven record of safety and are effective. The filtered water is administered at low pressure so there is no danger of bowel perforation. All equipment used is either disposable or sterilised using hospital-approved sterliants or regularly serviced autoclaves.
All our therapists are trained to ARCH standards having undergone practical application training along with practical and written exams. The colonic schools that teach to ARCH standards are independently audited. ARCH members are required to undergo continuing professional development and keep up to date with relevant legislation. Furthermore, from 2010, all ARCH therapists are independently regulated by the government recognised CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council) to give you further confidence.
Yes, there are conditions where a colonic treatment would not be undertaken.
These include conditions such as active infections, active inflammation (for example, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, etc) a painful fissure or painful haemorrhoids.
In such cases treatment cannot be carried out until they are healed or in remission.
Some diseases such as congestive heart disease, severe uncontrolled hypertension, severe anaemia, liver cirrhosis, kidney disease, severe haemorrhaging and colo-rectal carcinoma are absolute contra-indications to treatment as are some physical conditions such as severe abdominal or inguinal hernias which cannot be easily reduced.
If you as a client, or our therapists, are in any doubt, we will refer you to your G.P for advice.
Treatments are also not performed during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and not at all during complicated pregnancies.
We always take a full case history before commencing a treatment. If there is any doubt we will refer you to your G.P.
The colon, also known as the large intestine or large bowel is part of the digestive system. It is located at the end of the digestive tract in the abdominal cavity. It is divided into several regions. The appendix, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon and the rectum. The anus acts as a valve under voluntary control.
The function of the colon is to re-absorb digestive juices, water soluble salts and bile back into the blood stream and thence to the liver. It also stores food and other bodily waste products until elimination. The colon acts as host for vast numbers of beneficial bacteria, these bacteria help us with various tasks including immunity to infection, regulation of cholesterol levels, production of a number of vitamins and maintain a healthy colon.
Most diagrams of the bowel show an idealised picture, whereas in reality the length, shape and position vary immensely.
The length is variable and can be anything from around 3 to 11 feet. The path it follows may be very bendy and can have many loops. For some people it may be that they have inherited a very long bowel which slows down transit time and can cause constipation problems.
The bowel structure is made of smooth muscle, which is different from ordinary (skeletal) muscle tissue in so much as it works under the autonomic (or automatic) nervous system. This means we have no conscious control over it. Once we have chewed and swallowed our food, the rest of the digestive process is done for us, until it is time to evacuate our bowel which is partly autonomic, and partly voluntary.
What we eat and how often we eat, depends on how often we empty (defecate) our bowel. It is expected that we will go to the toilet for a bowel movement at least once every 24 hours. Inability to empty the bowel regularly can lead to constipation and people may feel bloated and uncomfortable as a consequence.
Sometimes the colon may become tight (spastic) or go into spasm which is a feature of irritable bowel syndrome. Although the colon muscle is different from skeletal muscles it can still suffer from cramp which can be very painful. The symptoms of an irritable bowel are wide and varied but range from constipation to diarrhoea along with irregular defecation and incomplete evacuation.
The colon forms an important part of the elimination system of the body and waste from the alimentary tract, the lymphatic system and bloodstream are collected prior to excretion. It is therefore important to have a healthy and properly functioning colon in order to help the overall balance of the body.
Many people visit hospitals or doctors as a consequence of a dysfunctional bowel. Waste products that remain in the colon for too long may be reabsorbed and can make us feel unwell.
Here is a video of a colonic consultation and treatment being performed by an ARCH therapist.