Colonics 101: Here’s What You Need To Know

Liz Smith

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Colonics are far from a new detox trend – in fact, they’ve been around for hundreds of years. colonic benefits

For those new to the subject, colon hydrotherapy – or a colonic irrigation – is the use of a water solution to expel waste from our 5-foot-long intestinal tract. Similar to most “cleanses” and “detoxes”on the market, colonics are often highly debated. Proponents argue that it’s a fantastic practice for detoxing the intestinal tract, since modern life toxins can cause our detox organs to become sluggish. On the other hand, critics claim that the colon is perfectly capable of cleansing itself on the regular. But as we all should know, how well your body detoxes is 100% based upon bio- individuality. 

We spoke to colonic expert Rachel Ellis from San Diego’s Longevity Lounge, our go-to wellness lounge for detox, to offer some professional insight for those looking to get an internal deep-clean.  colonic benefits

Why do we have buildup in our gut lining?

I’m kind of famous for my analogy of the “lasagna pan” that gets all these gooey goodies baked inside of it and by the time its time to wash it requires much more than a rinse, often it takes soaking and even scrubbing to get those sticky particles to dislodge. Our bodies are giant 98ish degree filters that remove moisture from food as it gets digested, we literally process every seen and unseen molecule that we breath, that touches our skin (think lotion, makeup, sunscreen, detergents, fragrance, etc) that we ingest intentionally or not (think whatever chemicals/drugs are in our city water that we shower in, whatever smog/pollution in our air) and of course anything we eat and drink. 

To my knowledge, there are no other filters that are put through daily use that don’t either get routinely cleaned or replaced. Our liver, kidneys and lungs have to work 24/7 to keep our blood and lymph clean and the bi-product is waste that needs to be removed via exhalation, regular bowel/bladder emptying and sweat. It’s a lot of work and we don’t even have to tell our bodies to do this! Now, add to that workload a sedentary routine where the bodily fluids get thick and hard to move, a little daily dehydration from caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and less than ideal water intake, lots of screen time and emf exposure it makes all of our detox organs and elimination pathways have to work harder.

How do colonics differ from colon cleanse powders & supplements?

Cleanse products typically stimulate a reaction via herbs or minerals that can help hydrate the bowel by using some of the body’s hydration or in some cases have a laxative-like effect that causes the body to purge. There are some wonderful herbal blends that are gentle and safe for long term use to help keep things lubricated. But there are also some very aggressive herbs that should only be used as needed on occasion for severe constipation as they can be so stimulating that they cause inflammation and/or dependence. Colonics gently rinse and soak the interior of the large intestine and as a side benefit they hydrate the entire body. They also trigger muscle activation in the colon so your digestion aka metabolism gets stronger and works more efficiently after a series.

What are some benefits of colonics?

The most common feedback from clients is just generally feeling better, lighter, able to think clearer, in a better mood, able to maintain their weight etc. For people who struggle with digestion and bloating colonics can be a total game-changer. I have seen so many people find freedom in their body and health again just by healing and strengthening their digestion. It’s also been a secret beauty trick of models and actors since it is so cleanings for the liver and hydrating and clearing for the skin.

How much -let’s call it “gunk”- comes out during an average session?

This is truly unique to each person depending on their diet, hydration habits and history of constipation but experts in the field typically assume there’s 8-10lbs or more of “:buildup” in the average person, I’ve had clients lose 4-7lbs after one session although that is not at all the expectation or goal of a session. Colonics trigger a domino-effect of cleansing in the body in real time and over time so as a person loses weight as a side effect that weight is coming from liver cleansing, fat releasing, and lymphatic and blood cleansing.

The awkward part… how far up the rectum is the tube inserted?

This is such a commonly feared part of the process, and everyone is always happily surprised how easy and painless it is! The disposable speculum gets inserted about 2” or around the length of your thumb. It takes a few seconds and is totally painless.

Why should we consider colonics as part of a detox protocol?

Colonics and coffee enemas are super safe and gentle and they restore balance to the body so your daily functions work better. I don’t think everyone needs them but if there is a tendency to fall out of balance with food/drink/life they can be an incredible reset that empowers healthy habits. During a cleanse/detox the body goes into a deep search and recovery of old and abnormal cells, residue from medication, heavy metals, parasites, and other things that can weigh a person down. When this stuff gets mobilized into the blood during a cleanse it can cause symptoms of headache, nausea, brain fog, rashes, mood swings, depression, and other unpleasant sensations. These will subside as the body is able to process and purge the offending toxins typically 1-3 days. Colonics and other treatments like saunas that help literally move stuff out of the body can eliminate or significantly reduce these common detox symptoms. It is also pretty well established that supporting nutritional cleanses by opening the elimination pathways actually enhances the effectiveness of the cleanse.

What’s in the solution?

Colon Hydrotherapy always uses super-pure filtered water and in addition, I use an organic alkaline coffee during the session to enhance the liver cleansing benefits. It’s essentially a coffee enema and colonic in one session. Google Gerson coffee enemas!

Do colonics hurt?

They do not hurt. If there is any discomfort it can feel like the first day of a menstrual period or a slight tummy ache. It is typical to feel bloated and can sometimes feel crampy as waste is releasing. These sensations are very tolerable and only last a few moments at a time during the session. colonic benefits

Will I feel any pain?


How long does a colonic session usually take?

45-55 minutes, plan on an hour total

How should I prepare for a colonic?

Refrain from eating for at least 2 hours prior to your appt, some people fast for the day prior to their appointment and have great results with that.

Hydrating extra with green juice, bone broth, electrolytes, lemon water, smoothies is a great idea.

What should we expect immediately or days after?

Most people feel really great after a colonic and the goal is to maintain that light feeling as long as possible by eating lightly and avoiding large quantities of gluten, dairy and animal protein. Lots of water!

What do you recommend people to eat after a colonic treatment?

Healthy light easy-to-digest food. Some people crave smoothies or something warm like bone broth. The good news is that most people want to eat healthy after a colonic because they feel so great.

How often do you recommend people to get them done?

There is something magical about 3 sessions within 3 weeks, that is the standard recommendation given by Colon Therapists so get maximum benefit. After the initial few sessions it is very individual but a typical cadence would be once a month or every few months unless there is a chronic issue that is trying to be reversed, in that case it would be more frequent.

What would you say to those who are extremely hesitant to get a colonic treatment done?

I would say to talk to trusted friends who have experienced the benefits first hand and do your own research. There is a lot of scary misinformation out there about colonics so a personal referral is always comforting. I don’t think everyone needs colonics, it’s a very personal decision and one where finding the right fit by finding a therapist who will give a free consultation to answer any questions is also super helpful. 

The views expressed in this article may not necessarily represent the views of The Hive, and are for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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Editor’s Note: This article does not contain medical advice. We encourage you to consult with your trusted healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health & wellbeing.


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