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Colon Hydrotherapy

A Forgotten Art
by Tony Centracchio, P.A.

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The indications for colon hydrotherapy as determined by the physician include: acute fecal impaction, constipation, colitus, diarrhea, parasitic infections, atonic colon, mucus colitis, fever therapy, hyper/hypothermia, bowel training in para/quadriplegics, flatulence, bloating, hemorrhoids (mild), intestinal toxemia, nutrient supplementation, diverticulosis, detox alcohol/drug units, and preparation for Barium x-ray, colonoscopy or surgery. Other indications which require direct supervision by physician are: Diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, on site preparation following trauma, and up to 4 months of pregnancy .

The contraindications for colon hydrotherapy include: Severe cardiac disease, (uncontrolled HTN or CHF), aneurysm, sever anemias, GI hemorrhage or perforation, severe hemorrhoids, cirrhosis, carcinoma of the colon, fissures fistulas, advanced pregnancy, abdominal hernia, recent colon surgery or renal insufficiency. Back to Top

Common Concerns about Colon Hydrotherapy Laxatives vs. Colon Hydrotherapy

Laxatives act as chemical irritants and stimulate the muscular walls of the colon to abnormally contract to expel the irritating substances. It is very easy to become dependent upon these drugs. The oral route of administration is the least optimal method of evacuation of the large intestine. Very important digestive processes occurring higher up in the alimentary tract (stomach and small intestine) are interfered with. Most laxatives and other cathartics precipitate dehydration in the patient. Colon hydrotherapy alternately fills and empties the colon and would improve the hydration status of the patient.

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What about possible electrolyte depletion in the colon?

When the body is properly nourished with good quality organic foods containing sodium, potassium and magnesium, the electrolyte level of the colon is replenished as part of the diet.

Will the intestinal flora be disturbed by Colon Hydrotherapy?

The large intestine is producing bacteria on a daily basis and adherence to proper nutrition will enhance the colon's ability to maintain balance following colon hydrotherapy. The physician may elect to prescribe lacto acidophilus/bacillus culture to facilitate this process or incorporate low fat dairy products (yogurt, etc.) into the patient's dietary program.

What about possible contamination?

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Following a colon hydrotherapy treatment, the instrument is thoroughly cleansed and disinfected. A potent germicidal solution is used to properly disinfect the instrument and its contents are not harmful to the colon environment. When the disinfection procedure is completed, the instrument is generously cleaned with water to flush the germicidal solution completely from the instrument.

What about possible perforation of the colon?

Modern instruments can introduce a minimal starting pressure of 1/8/-1/4 psi, which produces one pint of water per minute flow. The treatment, then, can be performed effectively, below the 1 psi setting (in contrast to a standard hospital enema, which starts as 2 psi and increases another psi per foot of elevation.

Colon Hydrotherapy as a preparation method.

Colon hydrotherapy offers valuable application as a preparation method for diagnostic study of the large intestine. The superior preparation would provide an optimal study (x-ray, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy) and allow for a more accurate diagnosis. The procedure would minimize the incidence of improperly prepared patients and the need for repeat studies, which represents a significant cost factor, as well as in the case of Barium Enema, additional radiation exposure to the patient.

Over $400 million is spent annually on laxatives in the U.S.

Patient discomfort resulting from retained barium could be avoided utilizing colon hydrotherapy cleansing of the barium solution. Following the x-ray study, colon hydrotherapy would eliminate the problem of residual opaque material in subsequent upper GI series of plain film studies. Finally, improved quality of the preparation preceding barium implantation may decrease the risk of performation at the time of administration. In the specialty of gastroenterology, colon hydrotherapy would provide optimal preparation for sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy and maximize the physician's timetable. Colon hydrotherapy would also function as a valuable preparation for gastrointestinal surgery. This colon cleansing system would provide a more optimal surgical field and potentially decrease the risk of postoperative complications. Good health is as much a function of our elimination status as the quality of food we ingest. Consider that over 400 million dollars is spent annually on laxatives in the United States. Every year 140,000 Americans are diagnosed as having colorectal cancer. Of this population, 44% will die as a result of the disease. Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S., following lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women. At least two million suffer from colitis, ileitis and diverticulitis, and 100,000 have a colostomy each year. Periodic cleansing could minimize the exposure of potential carcinogens to colon walls. The colon hydrotherapy procedure allows the opportunity for digital rectal examination. At this time a hemocult smear (persons over 30) could be obtained, and a screening method for the detection of colorectal cancer observed. Periodic cleansing could dilute the toxin concentration in the cecum and facilitate the removal of same. The result is a reduced load on the portal and lymphatic system allowing the five eliminative organs to the body to balance the removal of these toxins with their production. When a breakdown in one or more of these systems exist and toxins abound , the potential for disease is greatly increased.

Research has shown a definite correlation between the nature of the diet and type of flora in the intestine. A diet high in protein results in predominantly proteolytic putrefactive bacteria, which produce toxic compounds, some of which are absorbed. Alteration of the physiologic Flora (balanced) can predispose to some 36 bacterial toxins. The physiologic (normal) Flora consists of 30 - 40% gram negative bacillus and over 30% acidophius. The pathogenic Flora consists of streptococus, staphylococcus, E. coli, etc., which are present normally in small numbers. When conditions exist that alter this proposed balance, the pathogenic Flora can flourish and be a source of disease.

Small amounts of protein, fats and carbohydrates escaping digestion in the small intestine may be digested by bacterial enzymes in the large intestine. These organisms are capable of breaking down (cellulose) and synthesize folic acid and other B vitamins, as well as vitamin K. E. coli has recently been recognized as being able to split triglycerides (fatty acids). Certain amino acids: tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine and histidine under bacterial enzyme influence produce the toxic compounds: skatole, indole, phenol, cresol, histamine, etc.
The products of putrefaction may be absorbed in small quantities by the mucosa and transported to the liver, where they are detoxified to be excreted by the kidney in the form of sulfates and glucuronides.

The material which remains in the colon and is eliminated in the feces contain: indole, skatole, mercaptan, hydrogen sulfide and bacterial end products of cystine, which gives the feces an unpleasant odor. The color of the feces is due to bacterial action on stercobilin (bile pigment).

Some ammonia is formed by bacteria in the intestine, mainly from digestive products of proteins and converted to urea in the liver. In liver disease such as cirrhosis, increased levels of ammonia in the vascular system can cause neurological symptoms resembling hepatic coma. A low protein diet may ameliorate these systems. Cleansing the colon serves to dilute and remove the toxin concentration in the large intestine and respective blood supply. Speculation has been made that a change in diet from high protein to high carbohydrate results in dominance of a non-putrefactive Flora. Other evidence implies that the ingestion of fermentable carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, lactose) results in delay of or complete inhibition of the putrefactive process. The liver is the main detoxification organ of the body. The portal vein drains the gastrointestinal tract, gall bladder, pancreas and spleen. The blood retrieved from the stomach and intestines is not returned to the heart but shunted to the liver where portal blood is discharged into sinusoids of the liver, which are surrounded by liver cells. In addition to removing, altering, storing and delivering the body digested fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, hepatocyte (liver cells) would detoxify and toxic material present and remove them from the system. The problem arises when toxins are present in too great a number to be adequately handled by the liver. As with any organ or system in the body, the liver has a certain capacity for performing these functions of metabolism. When an unusual burden is placed on any one system, a breakdown occurs which affects the body as a whole. This breakdown results in an increased absorption of toxic substances, and if left uncollected the body will poison itself (autointoxication).

Intestinal cleansing is a therapeutic measure which addresses the cause or source of the problem. Other measures which treat only the symptoms will provide only temporary relief of the problem. Colon hydrotherapy could clean and dilute the toxin load in the large intestine, resulting in a reduced burden on the liver, allowing the eliminative organs to function optimally. Colon hydrotherapy could also prevent stagnation and minimize the exposure of carcinogenic agents to the colon wall. The above combined effect may serve to rejuvenate the immunological system and truly be a pathway to vibrant health! References for this article will be supplied upon request.

Tony Centracchio, P.A., is a graduate of Cornell Medical College who has devoted years of research to upgrading and refining the technology of today's colon hydrotherapy instrumentation and who is closely associated with Dotolo Research. All editorial is submitted to our editorial board for review. Each article published is selected for its technical merit and overall excellence.

Article reproduce in its entirety from. "The American Chiropractor October 1986"


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