What is a Colonic Enema?

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  • Written By: Adam Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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A colonic enema, also called colon hydrotherapy, involves the infusion of water into the colon through the rectum of the patient. This is done as a health care procedure, and its practitioners claim that the process removes toxins such as undigested food particles and other debris which can adversely affect colon health. A colonic enema lasts about 45 minutes and cleanses the entire length of the colon.

A typical colonic enema consists of multiple infusions of warm, purified water into the colon. The water dissolves and removes the contents of the colon, while the client lies on a table. The temperature and pressure of the water must be closely monitored as a safety precaution, to prevent rupturing of the colon or other injury. In a properly performed colonic enema, the water is eliminated from the colon through a closed system so that the waste is removed without any unpleasant odors or unnecessary discomfort.

Once the session has ended, the person then uses a toilet to pass any residual water or stool. Many clients report that this procedure is restorative and relaxing, and claim various health benefits as a result of receiving a colonic enema. This procedure must be administered by a health professional, such as a naturopathic physician, in order to be done safely.


The reasons for getting a colonic enema are as varied as the clients themselves, but in general there is a belief that it will rid the body of toxic waste products that can interfere with the normal operation of bodily systems and compromise one’s immunity to diseases. The belief is that stagnant matter builds up and putrefies, as well as blocking the absorption of water and nutrients into the body. Many also believe that modern chemical compounds, due to their increased use in and near food products, can build up in the colon as toxins, where they are re-released into the bloodstream. These toxins are claimed to be responsible for headaches, joint pain, skin blemishes, and digestive disturbances, to name a few.

The claims of health benefits from colon hydrotherapy have yet to be verified in a strictly scientific or empirical manner, and should be considered anecdotal. Critics of colonic enemas consider them to be ineffective and unnecessary, citing evidence that the colon is capable of getting rid of toxins and other waste products on its own. Most mainstream medical practitioners maintain that the best way to ensure colon health is through a proper diet and exercise regimen, rather than a colonic enema.



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