Whether you're looking for a quick and easy way to shed the pounds or you want to flush the toxins out of your colon, colonic hydrotherapy spas and wellness facilities claim they can help you do both. Every year, Americans pay between $50 and $175 for a colon cleanse to improve their health through toxin removal, says Mayo Clinic. The recent popularity of colonic hydrotherapy is due to celebrity endorsements by Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Gillian McKeith, and the late Princess Diana who had weekly treatments, reports the Daily Mail. The colonic cleanse first reached its height of popularity more than a century ago because of its alleged health benefits for the body. However, in 1919, the American Medical Association refuted the claims of colonic hydrotherapy as a treatment for autointoxication, ruling out toxins as the main cause of illness. While unproven claims resurface as colonic cleanses continue to rise in popularity, recent research suggests the side effects of a colon cleanse can be detrimental to your health and even lead to death.

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Colonic Hydrotherapy Procedure

A colon cleansing is viewed as a natural way to improve your health as it removes unwanted toxins in the body. Food and various chemicals that the body is exposed to every day can build up and be harmful to the immune system. Colonic hydrotherapy claims to be able to lessen and prevent the chance that leftover toxins are absorbed by the intestines in the body and cause physical and neurological distress, says Discovery Health.

When you get a colon cleanse, an apparatus, or tube, is inserted inside the rectum while the tube is connected to a machine that is responsible for regulating the temperature and the speed of the filtered water used. Approximately 20 gallons of water will pass by the tube, slowly, into the colon as the body adapts to the filtered water. The toxins and fluids found inside the body are then removed through the use of a different tube and then dumped. Parasites may also be found in the toxins found from the colon cleansing.

Medical Community On Colonic Hydrotherapy

Doctors may prescribe a colon cleansing to patients who may undergo a medical procedure like a colonoscopy, but they would not suggest it for healthy people who solely want to detoxify. "Your digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria - your body doesn't need colon cleansing to do this," said Michael F. Picco, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist. Ranit Mishori, a family medicine physician at Georgetown University School of Medicine, sides with Picco and says that colonic hydrotherapy is "unproven and dangerous."

Findings published in The Journal of Family Practice show that patients who did colonic cleanses often experienced side effects that included cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, kidney failure, and electrolyte imbalance. Mishori, lead author of the study, and colleagues examined 20 published studies on the potentially harmful effects of colon cleanses. "When you flush your colon out with a hose, it's like giving yourself an enema on steroids. You shouldn't put things up there that really don't belong there," said Mishori, reports CNN.

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Tips For Colonic Hydrotherapy

If you do opt to get a colonic cleanse, Mayo Clinic suggests that you take the following precautions:

  • Check with your conventional medical providers first, especially if you take any medications or have any health problems.
  • Make sure your colon cleansing practitioner uses disposable equipment that hasn't been previously used.
  • Get a list of specific herbal ingredients you use, as some herbal supplements can cause health problems.
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.

The century-old procedure of colonic hydrotherapy has yet to be assessed by the medical community as a healthy, natural way to remove toxins from your body.

Mishori believes that a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and frequent doctor appointments all add up to a well-cleansed body.

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