by Dr. Andrew Dickens, NMD
The practice of using water to cleanse the colon dates back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. The world over, people discovered and adapted the enema. The first modern colonic machine was invented about 100 years ago. Coffee enemas were recognized as a valid medical therapy as early as 1917 and the practice was published in the Merck Manual until 1972; enemas were standard practice during that time frame among most physicians and a common treatment in hospitals.
The best use of a colonic is not to replace the body’s function to empty the bowel, but to detoxify.
Let’s say that last night you ate a dinner of steak, beans, and salad. Here’s the really short explanation of what happens to that: Enzymes in your saliva will start to break down the carbohydrates in the beans and salad. Stomach acid will break down the proteins. And the release of bile from your gall bladder will start to break down the fats. Your intestines will extract the nutrients from the food and send them through the blood stream to where the body can use them. What your body can’t use moves down to the trashcan.
What’s leftover? Mostly:
- Indigestible fiber
- Bile that is not reabsorbed
- Sloughed off cells and bacteria
Our digestive system is built to expel the leftovers through the bladder as urine and the rectum as feces. Yet many people struggle for years to have regular, complete bowel movements. We can thank what and how we eat, and our stressful lives in great part for that. The standard American diet is full of inflammatory foods (think sugar, starches, gluten, pesticides). A constant onslaught of inflammatory food is often responsible for an impaired digestive system which commonly looks like acid reflux, leaky gut, allergies, constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Impaired digestion affects “transit time,” meaning the time it takes for that bite of steak to enter our mouth, get processed in the digestive system, and leave, well, you know, with the poop. In a perfect world, last night’s dinner would be eliminated with the next morning’s poop. But that often doesn’t happen in our society.
The natural mucus layer that lines the colon’s walls can envelop stagnant particles, creating a highly toxic fold in the colon.
Colonic Versus Enema
“Colon” is just another word for the large intestine. (Medical books named it the large intestine because it is bigger in circumference than the “small” intestine.) The colon is about 5 feet long, and the last section of it is the rectum/anus.
A colonic is intended to reach almost all 5 feet of the colon. An enema reaches only into the rectum and a small distance into the colon.
Colonic irrigations involve much more water. While you lie on a table, a low-pressure pump or a gravity-based reservoir flushes almost a gallon of water through a small tube inserted into your rectum. The water makes its way up the colon and when you are ready to release it, the pressure is released, and the water flows back out. During a one-hour session with a “closed system,” you might fill and rinse 4 to 8 times.
Colonics/enemas are like a helping hand for people with weak immune systems because they keep the colon’s pathogenic burden at a minimum while their bodies are trying to heal. For example, if you have an overgrowth of candida, you may see it depart looking like beer foam. Parasites can also make their departure, as well as impacted material that loosens up as the water hydrates the colon walls.
What can colonics do?
- Colon hydrotherapy has long been used in conjunction with other therapies to cleanse and detoxify colon, liver, kidney and lymphatic systems. As patients repair and rebuild, large amounts of metabolic wastes and stored toxins are released and rinsing the colon is helpful to deal with the extra load.
- Peristaltic action – muscle contractions – move food down the esophagus to the stomach. Peristaltic action is also what moves feces through the colon. Sometimes people lose muscle tone in the colon; colonics strengthen the natural muscle reflex.
- Seriously ill patients tend to be chronically constipated which results in generalized toxemia. Colon hydrotherapy is the gentlest and most effective treatment to address a constipation problem.
- The rinsing stimulates congested bile ducts to support that all-important organ of detoxification, the liver.
Coffee’s effect comes from contact with the colon’s hepatic vein which drains into the liver.
When the Merck Manual advocated coffee enemas, it said, “when you take coffee rectally the caffeine stimulates the liver to release toxins.”
Dr. Max Gerson made coffee rinses famous when he introduced them into cancer therapy in the 1930s because they enhance liver function and in turn, eliminate toxic residues that the body tries to expel through the rectum. Cancer patients often have a very large tumor burden. As the body repairs and rebuilds, and tumors break down, enormous amounts of toxic debris can be produced, much of which must be processed in the liver. Coffee enemas enhance this processing of toxic metabolic waste.
For detoxification to occur, the coffee must get to the colon’s hepatic portal vein and deliver the caffeine to the liver. That causes the bile duct to dilate and dump stored bile in the gall bladder, prompting the body to make fresh bile.
Simultaneously, the liver’s portal veins dilate. Alkaloids in the caffeine stimulate the production of glutathione-S-transferase, which is an enzyme that facilitates the liver detoxification pathways. This enzyme system is responsible for grabbing toxins, free-radicals, and bilirubin (breakdown product of red blood cells) and delivering them to the bile where they are carried out in the bile acids. The mopping up of free-radicals effectively inhibits the formation of carcinogens.
There is no better natural stimulant for bile production and its subsequent flushing out than caffeinated coffee.
Did You Know…
- An average colon, during a colonic, can hold up to a gallon of water.
- Since the coffee does not enter the body’s general circulation system, most people do not get the usual “java jolt” from the caffeine as you might when you drink coffee. The liver enzyme, CYP1A2, is responsible for detoxifying caffeine and some people have a genetic SNP where they are missing that enzyme and they do not process caffeine well.
- In 1971, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg reported in the Journal of American Medicine that more than 40,000 of his patients with gastrointestinal disease improved remarkably with the simple treatment of diet, enemas, and exercise.
Professional colonics use only organic coffee and filtered water, nothing containing herbicides or pesticides. The final rinse is done with water so as not to leave acidic residue in the colon.
Click here to read Dr. Morton Walker’s article, “The Value of Colon Hydrotherapy Verified by Medical Professionals Prescribing It.”
 Kellogg JH. Should the colon be sacrificed or may it be reformed? JAMA LXVIII (26): 1957-1959, June 30, 1917