What Is Colonic Irrigation? | Colonic Cleansing

Published: Jan 30, 2022 | Revised: Jun 17, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Image of the intestines and abdominal region

Colonic Irrigation, also called Colonic Hydrotherapy, Colonic Cleansing, or Bowel Cleansing, involves flushing the colon (the main part of the large intestine) with large volumes — about sixty liters — of water-based fluid.

The procedure is done by using a tube that’s inserted into the anus to bring in the fluids and another tube to let out the fluids with wastes. Additionally, it’s usually combined with a light Abdominal Massage to help remove waste and gas pockets.

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In modern medicine, colon cleansing may be used to improve the success of a colonoscopy (a medical procedure to investigate your large intestine), or to get immediate relief of severe constipation.

In alternative and complementary medicine however, it’s thought that the practice removes digestive wastes and toxins, which is believed to bring a range of health benefits, such as relief of bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, cramps, colitis, constipation and indigestion.

Some Abdominal Massage practitioners advise to do a colonic irrigation after one or more abdominal massages to help expel wastes.

Apart from the health benefits mentioned above, some practitioners claim that irrigation can also lead to weight loss (slimming), increased energy, clearer thinking, healing skin conditions and allergies, and such.

Nevertheless, most of the health benefit claims have only very moderate scientific evidence. Besides that, colonic irrigation can have some risks, such as dehydration, a sore anus, punctured bowels, diarrhea, abdominal pains, or infections. As such, it’s advised to only let a professional health practitioner perform a cleansing.

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