Friday, October 25, 2013

My experience with colonics, or colon hydrotherapy

Firstly, I would like to begin this post by saying that I will be updating it as I gather more thoughts, information, questions, etc. I feel a sense of urgency to write this post, though, because many new and old friends have raised many questions important concerning what a colonic, or colon hydrotherapy, actually is, among many other questions. I will not define what a colonic is in this post, but rather tell you about my experience with colon hydrotherapy to date. As I am pursuing colon hydrotherapy training this coming December/January, I hope to have a clearer, more scientific-based definition for you in the near future. Either way, I hope that this entry may be helpful to those individuals who are looking to better understand how I have come to understand colon hydrotherapy, what it has meant to Colon Powell and me, and and how it has helped me manage symptoms of what is commonly known as Crohn's disease.


I have recently moved back to the East Coast, or what I view as the "I-want-results-now" part of the United States. Here, the majority of the people I have come into contact with are not only unaware of natural, alternative, holistic and/or traditional medicinal practices, but appear to be very much intimidated--and seemingly defensive--at the thought of using alternative treatments before utilizing prototypically Western methods (i.e., prescription medication). Alongside this group of individuals, I have found vibrant, open minds who sincerely want to hear about alternative methods as well as their questions answered. Among those questions lie concerns related to what colonics, or colon hydrotherapy is. At this point in time, I can only give my personal experience.

What I knew about colon hydrotherapy before I started doing it

On-line scholarly dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as non-scholarly, free encyclopedias offered me little, questionably erroneous, superficial, or no information as to what a colonic, or colon hydrotherapy is. I was unsure, at first, if I would feel discomfort or pain, or anxiety from embarrassment of lying bare-butt on a table with some probes of some sort. I am pretty sure that this image, or similar ones, is what runs through many people's heads today. Some people even consider it as way to purge or cleanse your body, but that is absolutely not how I have experienced it.  

Confirming my suspicion, I ask my housemate who tells me that he imagines:

"A tube going in your butt and sitting in an awkward bathtub. Someone with white gloves and asks 'Are you ready for this?', after snapping his gloves, and then shoves the tube right up your butt."

I haven't experienced any such thing, but I have experienced very different approaches to colon hydrotherapy to date. I understand more and more that--just as with every person in life that we meet--each therapist has a different approach as to how they do what they do. The following is a summary of the steps I have found to be regular in colon hydrotherapy sessions, comparing and contrasting when I can according to my personal experiences. 

What is my experience with colonics?

The colon hydrotherapist I have seen the most always seems happy to see me (he always says ("Yay! Casey!"), and always asks me how I am feeling and what is going on in my body and mind that day as I enter the room or when I first lie down. This has become an important step for me, as it has become increasing noteworthy to me how mentally detached one becomes from their own physical body when they involve themselves in daily routine and/or the routine of one's professional occupation. I have also experienced being asked in a more formal setting, while sitting at a desk, taking notes. 

Once I make my feelings clear, I am invited to change into a gown in the restroom, where I additionally find socks, leggings and arm warmers if I want extra comfort. (Everything, from the clothes, to the bathroom is fresh and clean, with all natural cleaners.) The natural cleaners are unclear in the case of one of the therapists, and there are definitely no other articles of clothing besides the gown. Afterwards, when I exit the restroom and walk into the colon hydrotherapy room, I am asked whether or not I am ready to do a session. (I find it very comforting that my colon hydrotherapist has never once pressured me into a session, but rather invites me to consider whether or not a session feels right for me.) I have found that not all therapists emphasize how important it is to be aware of these feelings. 

It becomes increasingly clear to me that my therapist's mission is to simulate or create an atmosphere of utmost comfort and relaxation in order to provide me a positive, safe and healthy experience. In this environment, healing has taken place in me. I think that this has happened because this pleasant, warm, quiet and safe environment allows no space for stressors. It seems to me that, if I were stressed, my thoughts or reactions would compromise elimination. In fact, I have found that when I am uncomfortable, elimination does not happen (comfortably or completely).


After I say I want to do a session, one of my therapists always instructs me on what materials are located on the table/bed before me: they include 1) a mat to go between my back/butt and the table, 2) a sealed bag--which also include a a) large, long waste hose/tube, b) speculum and c) small inflow hose/tube--. Presenting all items still sealed before the colonic assures me that the items are sterile and unused, every time. I love this instruction because I want to know everything that is used in order to better understand the whole process.

It's colon hydrotherapy time

After I confirm that I understand all of the items are sterile and of good condition, I am invited to lie down, which I do. The therapist then puts on a new pair of gloves and pieces all the tubes and speculum together. Afterwards,  the speculum is placed appropriately in my hand. From there, I insert the speculum gently, taking as long as I need. I am instructed to relax and breath. This procedure is not always the same: there are some colon hydrotherapists who choose to insert it themselves, which, for me, is very awkward. So, I tell them that I prefer to do it and therefore do so.

Once the speculum is inserted, I am informed that the therapist will re-position it so that it is in the correct place. It is done slowly and gently. Afterwards, I am informed that I did a great job and that everything is set. I am usually reminded that, now, all I need to do is relax. Relaxing, breathing and communicating are my only jobs during the entire session. Relaxing is always emphasized by one of my therapists.

Once all of the protocol is communicated and I make clear that I am mentally and physically prepared, I am asked whether I am ready for water to be introduced into my colon (the water comes from the "closed system" on the wall, goes through the attached tube, the speculum and then into colon and so on). When I say that I am ready, it is confirmed that he will do so, and begins thereafter. To do this, there is an closed system (which I will explain more in detail after my training in December/January) on the wall--that has dials, lights, a clear section where I can watch material exiting my body! The one therapist situates himself so that he can easily and comfortably reach both me and the system. He pays close attention to both during the entire session. I found, though, that he places most importance and attention to me (how I breathe, the words I say, my tone of voice, my questions, my movements, etc.): This is so comforting and shows me that he is a fantastic listener and careful observer who encourages me to voice how I feel and to voice what it is that I feel going on in my body.
 My other therapist never sits with me and has farm more room in between Colon Powell and the closed system. She also does not talk about the breathe.

Sometimes the therapist will ask you at what temperature you would like the water. This, to me, is a bit awkward considering that I am not a specialist. I have learned that body temperature temperature is where I want it. It just seems safer to me as I do not want too cool or too warm of water.

During my colon hydrotherapy sessions, small amounts of water are slowly introduced. I am taught that this is done to gently encourage the large intestine to distend, but not beyond its natural ability. Apparently, the natural response of the distention of the large intestine is a contraction. This contraction induces the movement of material through the entire intestine. I am told that using a smaller amount of water has proven to provide a more pleasant experience and allows the body to work, rather than the water. (One therapist emphasizes the importance of getting one's body to function properly versus using something else as a crutch, which makes total sense to me.) 

One of my therapists does body work to move things along. So, as I lie there, pillows of a variety of sizes are used to prop me into different--comfortable--positions, so that body work (applying pressure or attention to pressure points, for example) may be done. My whole body is attended to; the therapist looks for different reactions, tender spots, etc. all while watching my breathing as well as the pressure gauges on the closed system. (And, man, oh, man, are some of these spots tender!) He asks me to open my eyes sometimes. I think that he asks me to do so, among other things, to maintain communication and to know that I am alright. His words make it clear to me that communication is key to his method. 

Another therapist does not do this at all. She only tends to the digestive tract (gently "massaging" the different sections of the colon). Her approach is very hands-off. I don't find it to make much of an impact in comparison to body work. It makes me realize just how connected the entire body is, really. I have found that, when body work is not done, my legs feel asleep or have a difficult time relaxing. 

I have been told that squeezing the tube is absolutely not what therapists should be doing, but I don't know why yet, so I need to learn during training  I did have this done to me once, though! (I did not speak up and so no, though, which I hope to do next time.)

Throughout the session, I usually experience a series of bowl movements. I do not push, but breathe, rather, through the movements. When I feel pressure, I tell him or her and I tell them that I would like them to release the pressure. When I say yes, s/he does, and then the direction of the water is reversed; now going in the opposite direction--opposite the rectum--, and back towards the system, material exits, all while the therapist attends to my body. Me being curious by nature, I always want to find my glasses so that I can see the waste that is exiting. (My vision is so poor! Which reminds me that I really need to read this book about vision and the colon... .) In many cases, my colon hydrotherapist recognizes this and hands them to me. But, I learned that it is best to just let things happen and relax. In the waste, you can see all the items that your body does or does not absorb/digest/whatever! It's pretty cool! This physical evidence has taught me so much about what has been going on in my body and why certain foods have proven difficult to digest. It's no wonder to me now when some foods (and medication) have even come out whole! (Sometimes you don't see it all that clearly in the toilet bowl.) Some may choose to go the easy route and react by saying "gross", but I say "noteworthy"!

Anyways, after I am ready, water is reintroduced (again, and as always, my permission is asked first), and we do it all again. This goes on for approximately an hour. After colonics, especially ones with body work, I usually feel, well... awesome. Those who know me know that I love the word awesome, but seriously, I feel truly relaxed and rest, my mind is clear, I feel healthy, free of bloating or any other symptom which leads to me to discomfort. I just love being so aware and calm. 

Ah, so relaxed. Awesome!

Lastly, my therapist sits down with me and asks me how I feel and what is happening in my body. I feel like a completely strong, level-headed and balanced individual every time. I find that the depth of my strength, level-headedness, etc., reflects how deeply relaxed I was in the session. Sometimes this feeling of enlightenment and balance has brought me to tears of joy and contentedness. It is such a relief to feel whole again. This can all be a very emotional experience. 

Thanks to supporters of Colon Powell's health

I am so thankful that healthy colonics are available to me and practiced by responsible individuals who truly want us to better understand our bodies and the way we react to the world in and around us: I have been enjoying sessions since November 2012 and have taken no medication for symptoms of Crohn's disease since.
Pretty awesome, if you ask me! So awesome, in fact, that it has encouraged me to explore colon hydrotherapy more and pursue official training this coming winter. I am excited to share with you what I learn as well as more of my and Colon Powell's personal experiences! 

Thanks so much for reading!

Casey from the Colon Powell Diaries

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