History of Colon Cleansing
Colon cleansing has been around for thousands of years. The act of self-cleansing began with enemas, and gradually led to the invention of a colon cleansing machine that revolutionized the process.
The Egyptians first used colon cleansing around 1500 BC. It is described in the ancient Egyptian medical document, the Ebers Papyrus. Hippocrates of 4th and 5th century BC, recorded using colon cleansing for treating fevers. The Edwin Smith Papyrus of c.1700 BC mentions enemas and gives directions for its use. Galen, of the 2nd century AD supported use of enemas. Back in ancient times, people gave themselves enemas in the river. They used a hollow reed to induce water to flow into the rectum.
In the late 1400's, King Louis XI credited enemas with relieving his seizures. A later king, Louis XIII received over 200 enemas in one year. Another king, Louis XIV, had over 2000 enemas during his reign (as reported by William Lieberman.) Evidently, Louis XIV even received court functionaries and visitors during the procedure. In the 1600s, enemas were so popular that no home was without one. Fluids with colors and fragrances were used during this time. Many people did 3 to 4 enemas per day. Enemas were considered essential to well-being. Molier, a playwright of that time, ridiculed the "vogue" of enemas in his plays. Although enemas were popular, many people awaited an instrument that allowed the enema to be self- administered. At that time, enemas required the use of an assistant.
During the 17th century AD, colon cleansing was very popular. Parisian society found it acceptable practice to use enemas as many as 3 - 4 times per day! They believed colon cleansing was essential to our well being. Since that time, colon cleansing has fallen in and out of vogue. This was partially due to practitioners being untrained and unskilled. The other is that our medical profession has been intent upon "curing" symptoms with prescription drugs and surgeries, while moving further and further away from natural and non-invasive healing methods.
Newfound respect for hydrotherapy came with the attention of many prominent physicians such as Dr. John Harvey Kellog, MD, Dr. James Wiltsie, MD, and Joseph Waddington, MD. In the 1917 Journal of American Medicine, Dr. Kellog reported that in the treatment of over 40,000 cases of gastrointestinal disease, only 20 cases had needed surgery. The rest improved with a treatment including colon cleansing, diet and exercise.
Dr. Wiltsie stated, "our knowledge of the normal and abnormal physiology of the colon, and of it's pathology and management, has not kept pace with that of many organs and systems of the body." Further, "As long as we continue to assume that the colon will take care of itself, just that long will we remain in complete ignorance of perhaps the most important source of ill health in the whole body." Dr. Waddington said, "Abnormal functioning of the intestinal canal is the precursor of much ill health, especially of chronic disease condition. Restoration of physiologic intestinal elimination is often the first, but too often ignored, important preliminary to eventual restoration of the health in general."
In the 1800s, Austrian Vincenz Priessnitz developed the first hydropathic institution in the world. His regime included water treatments in the mountain streams, as well as a diet consisting of black bread, fresh vegetables and unpasteurized milk. During this time, enemas were commonly used to maintain health and prevent disease. Before the expedition of Lewis and Clark, a physician encouraged them to use enemas for fever and illness. Then enemas were a widely accepted procedure for reversing the onset of illness.
In the 1920's, 30's and 40's, colon irrigation machines were commonly seen and regularly used as a standard practice in hospitals and doctor's offices. By the early 1950s, colon cleansing was flourishing in America. In California, the Beverly Boulevard was known as "Colonics Row," because there were so many colonic places located there.
Toward the mid 1960's, the use of colon irrigation and colon cleansing slowly dwindled. By 1972, most colon therapy instruments were removed from hospitals and nursing homes. Medical doctors tend to favor the use of laxatives or colostomy (surgical procedure for colon removal).
"In times past, knowledge of the bowel was more widespread and people were taught how to care for the bowel. Somehow, bowel wisdom got lost and it became something that no one wanted to talk about anymore," said Bernard Jensen, D.C.
Today, conventional medicine seems to think that colon cleansing is no longer useful or beneficial. It's been said that the medical community uses the wrong end of the gastrointestinal tract to treat people. In other words, oral remedies are preferred over enemas and colon cleansing. In the last 10 years, there has been a resurgence of interest in alternative medicine and natural health remedies. Once again, people are discovering the health benefits of maintaining a strong and biologically sound colon. This return to colon cleansing has been bolstered by the development of sophisticated colon cleansing techniques, which make these therapies both safe and convenient.
Why Colon Cleansing?
The great thing about colon cleansing is that it is a natural remedy, using only water and gravity. Colon Hydrotherapy is the administration of warm, filtered and temperature-regulated water into the colon. Fecal matter is softened and loosened, resulting in the evacuation through natural peristalsis. The procedure is repeated several times during an individual session.
Doctors will be the first to tell you that no research has proven this or that about cleansing. At the same time they claim that colon cleansing is dangerous – yet there is no research that proves it is.
In fact, no research has been done on colon cleansing aside from smaller studies by individual doctors who have gone on to advocate it. The research is then labeled as not “peer-reviewed,” meaning the AMA did not bother look at it or consider it. Therefore it is "out of the scope of normal practice."
That's right - if something is not normally practiced by the medical community, doctor's will not look at the new research or even consider it. This is called the "Scope of Practice." It protects them from malpractice suits. It's a wonder how anything new is ever tried.
Herbs rarely kill people while people die from drugs like LEGAL pharmaceuticals, every day. It is extremely difficult to find statistics of people being hospitalized from herbal use because it is so rare. However you can find that some herbs may interact with drugs/pharmaceuticals. In this case you should talk to the doctor who gave you the prescription. On the other hand, it is estimated by the Journal of the American Medical Association that more than 2 million people have suffered side effects from pharmaceuticals and 106,000 patients die each year by pharmaceutical drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered. Another entry in the Journal states that in 2005, there were 32,000 deaths attributed to “Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs” and 7,600 deaths from “Non-Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin.” I add this not to bash the medical community but to put the herbal use in perspective.
Seven therapeutic effects of Colon Cleansing
1. Colon cleansing improves muscle tone.
2. Colon cleansing minimizes the absorption of toxic waste.
3. Colon cleansing promotes a flowing and moving body system (rather than stagnate, inactive, clogged bowels.).
4. Colon cleansing balances & cleanses the colon.
5. Colon cleansing may strengthen the intestines and improve function of the colon.
6. Colon cleansing may help eliminate poisons from the body.
7. Colon cleansing may be a good preventative measure, as it is theorized that many diseases begin in the gastrointestinal track. An abnormally functioning colon may be a precursor to illness, and proper elimination is a natural way to maintain and restore health.
History of Fasting
Fasting has a long history, but much of it is associated with religion. There are over 30 references to fasting in the Bible. As a religious observance fasting has been practiced for centuries, and it undoubtedly, as a practice, preceded recorded history. It is evident from discovered records that abstinence, either partial or complete, from all food or from certain foods, existed in Assyria, Babylon, China, Greece, India, Palestine, Persia and Rome, and the records from the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt indicate that fasting was important.
We are interested in therapeutic fasting and I use the word "therapeutic" in the original sense and this is important. "Therapeutic" is derived from the Greek language and means "to attend," "to minister," "to tend the sick." It does not necessarily mean to employ a range of treatments called therapies.
In more recent times, Dr. G.F. Cahill has made enormous strides in our understanding of the physiological and biochemical mechanisms of fasting. It has been only over the last 150 years or so since the development of the hygienic system that fasting has been employed as a serious and satisfactory health procedure, and the work of these remarkable pioneers has added greatly to our understanding.
Dr. John H. Tilden was born in Illinois in 1851. He graduated in medicine in 1872 and wrote extensively on health, disease, diet reform, and numerous procedures and techniques employed in the care of the sick. Among these techniques was fasting. Most of Dr. Tilden's major work and writing took place during the twentieth century, and his magazines and books are full of epigrams and philosophies which depict his clear and penetrating mind. At his clinic in Denver, he regularly employed fasting as a means of care.
An Englishman, Dr. Henry S. Tanner, made fasting somewhat popular. He underwent a number of fasts, the first undertaken in 1877 which I believe lasted for fourteen days. Later Dr. Tanner experimented with a fast of forty days. His experience gave a clear understanding of the need and importance of water during fasting. From the information I have, his initial fast was without water, with rather serious consequences.
Another prodigious worker for the twentieth century with a wide experience of fasting was Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. Her book, The Fasting Cure, is valuable and expresses a wide experience of the subject.
Benefits of Fasting
1. Breakdown of body fat, thereby leading to rapid weight loss. This is beneficial because excess body fat increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many other diseases. Fasting is the "fastest" way to lose weight.
2. Diversion of energy from digestive processes to other tissues where needed for repair and rejuvenation. Dr. Shelton explains that "if you have the water running in your bathtub and somebody turns on the water in the kitchen sink, the rate of flow into the bathtub is immediately diminished. When the water in the kitchen is cut off, the rate of flow into the bathtub is immediately increased."
3. When digestion is suspended for a period of time by fasting, far less blood flows to the digestive organs. This blood is then free to flow to other tissues in the body, bringing with it essential oxygen and other nutrients which are needed for healing. This extra blood also serves as the vehicle in which wastes can be carried away.
4. Physiological rest is secured. We all know the importance of rest after a hard day's work. At night, we fall into bed exhausted. If we do not secure a good night's rest, we will function poorly the following day. Our internal organs need rest also, yet we almost never give them rest since we eat every few hours every day. By fasting, an opportunity for complete rest is given, and the internal organs thereby are able to rebuild their strength.
5. Fast to eliminate wastes. Again quoting Dr. Shelton: "Nothing known to man equals the fast as a means of increasing the elimination of waste from the blood and tissues. Only a brief period elapses after food is withheld until the organs of elimination increase their activities and a real physiological housecleaning is instituted."
6. Cholesterol deposits break down. In regard to elimination of wastes, consider the situation with cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol stored within the body is lining the blood vessels, setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke. While fasting, a person is obviously ingesting no cholesterol in food. Therefore, there is no added dietary cholesterol entering the bloodstream. Yet, blood tests show that the level of cholesterol commonly goes up during the first 7-10 days of a fast, then decreases afterwards. Where is this cholesterol coming from? Scientists believe the source is deposits of cholesterol in the blood vessels. The body, in an effort to cleanse its blood vessels, breaks down the deposits of cholesterol in the blood vessels and liberates it. This cholesterol is either used (to build new cell membranes, to form adrenal hormones, or other such functions) or eliminated by the liver in the bile. This is an excellent example of the body's accelerated elimination during a fast.
7. Fibrinolysis. Another body function that increases during a fast is fibrinolysis. Clots in the bloodstream are usually covered by a meshwork much like a spider's web called fibrin. While fasting, the body's ability to dissolve clots is greatly increased. This process, called fibrinolysis, does not permit such problems as pulmonary embolism and is part of the body's effort at healing such problems as thrombophlebitis (inflamed veins, usually in the legs, where clots often form and break loose to travel to the lungs).
8. Phagocytosis is accelerated. While fasting, the ability of the body's defensive army of white blood cells to destroy virulent bacteria and digest waste material is accelerated. An experiment compared the ability of these cells to destroy virulent bacteria when taken from the bloodstream of someone who had been eating, versus cells from someone who had fasted for a few days. The white blood cells from the fasting person were significantly more effective at killing virulent bacteria.