Keeping Your Colon Clean

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It is unfortunate that American doctors have contended for decades that the number of bowel movements an individual has is unrelated to health. They have convinced most of us that they are correct. Most people think that they are not constipated if they are having one bowel movement a day. Yet, we eat three meals a day. Where are the other two meals going if they’re not being eliminated through the colon? The answer actually is somewhat frightening. The rest of the food that is not absorbed by the body as nutrients stays around the body in unlikely places–against the colon walls, in tissues and organs, in arteries–any place at all in the body can serve as a receptacle for uneliminated waste.

In ancient days, there were natural methods of maintaining a clean colon. For instance, Basti is the yogic tradition of natural cleansing of the lower intestines. It involves the controlled use of muscles to pull water up into the colon, and then, after churning the water around to dislodge old waste products, the water, and whatever it carries off with it, is expelled.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of the famed Battle Creek Sanitarium, maintained that 90% of modern diseases are the result of improper functioning of the colon. British physician, Sir Arbuthnut Lane concurred after performing hundreds of bowel resections where diseased portions of the bowel were removed. He noticed that during the time that the patient was recovering from the surgery that other diseases, seemingly unrelated to the colon problem, were cured.

Sir Lane came to understand that a large part of the problem in many diseases was the body’s inability to adequately carry out its normal waste disposal functions. He calculated that a healthy intestine requires emptying every six hours, and that more commonly, it is emptied every 24 hours.

There is scientific research, as well, showing the relationship between bowel functioning and health. British and South African scientists have shown a lot of interest in this issue and have conducted elaborate experiments involving the clocking and weighing of feces of human volunteers. It has been confirmed that too few bowel movements and too little bulk in the stool is related to a variety of disorders, including heart and gallbladder diseases, diverticulitis, varicose veins, hiatal hernia and cancer of the large intestine.

There is also a study of over 1000 women with histories of constipation. Fluid was extracted from the breasts of the women. This fluid showed abnormal cells which are the same abnormal cells found in women with breast cancer. These cellular abnormalities occurred five times as often in women who moved their bowels fewer than three times a week than in women who did so more than once a day.

Humans are the only animals who have such insufficient bowel functioning. Breast-fed babies, indigenous peoples, birds and animals all evacuate their bowels shortly after each meal.

Normal bowel functioning means there is waste for everything that goes in except distilled water. We need to find those other, lost meals.

Colon cleansing can be approached from, so to speak, either the top end or the bottom end–the mouth or the rectum.

The simplest way of beginning colon cleansing is to add bulk to the diet. Fiber is present in all fresh, raw vegetables. Cooking softens the fiber and renders it ineffective. Dietary fiber in food is indigestible. But when present in the intestinal tract, it supports a multiplying population of intestinal bacteria, and this can be an aid in both digestion and elimination. The detoxifying powers of fiber were demonstrated in a study where rats were fed poison, and simultaneously put on a high fiber diet. These rats survived without harm, while other animals fed the same poison, but without the fiber, became ill and died.

Many alternative health practitioners have begun to recommend adding whole psyllium husks to the diet. Even traditional physicians generally recommend Metamucil, which is psyllium with added sugar. However, there are several problems with psyllium. First, these husks can be irritating to the intestines. Additionally, psyllium acts like a magnet as it winds its way down the intestinal tract, pulling particles toward it. The problem here is that nutrient material as well as toxic material is pulled out. Finally, there is a delicate layer of mucus membranes and villi in the small intestine. These villi are important in the absorption of nutrients. The psyllium husks can scrape against these finger-like villi and damage them, thus interfering with the absorption of nutrients.

Bran is also frequently recommended as a way of increasing fiber in one’s diet. Bran is even more irritating to the intestines than psyllium. Bran is a part of the wheat grain; it is a partial food rather than a whole food and thus can create a nutritional imbalance. Further, bran acts as an irritant to the lining of the digestive tract. The intestine, in order to rid itself of this irritant, attempts to rush the process of moving waste material through. Decreased nutrient absorption results because of the rapid transit through the tract. Further, constant use of bran can cause a chronic condition of intestinal lining irritation.

Cleaning out the colon through the use of water injected directly into the colon most closely replicates the basti method. The water shooting through the alimentary canal acts as a gentle stimulus to dislodge old, encrusted fecal material. Water cleansing methods include colonics, enemas and colemas.

A colonic is an intensive cleansing of the entire colon tract. Many people have an aversion to seeing or working with their fecal material other than at the bottom of a toilet. Colonics are sterile, painless and create an extremely thorough cleansing. This has recently become a popular method of colon cleansing. Enemas are effective in reaching the low part of the colon, but have the disadvantage of not reaching the entire organ. Adding ingredients to the water in an enema can, however, greatly enhance its detoxifying power. Coffee enemas stimulate the liver; flaxseed tea enemas relieve the colon of inflammation; bentonite, or clay water, greatly increases the absorption of toxins from the colon walls.

The colema board was developed more than forty years ago by V.E. Irons. It is a home unit that combines the ease of the enema with the thoroughness of the colonic. It most closely approximates basti in that it is gentle, following the body’s own natural rhythm for retention and expulsion of water. The water enters the intestinal tract, and it is the colon’s own spontaneous contractions that pushes water out. Thus, the colema works like an exercise program. The water trains the colon to begin to correct its atrophied condition. Because the muscles in the colon are stimulated, the colon sends messages to the rest of the body to release stored toxins and to bring them down through the normal eliminative channels. Pockets of putrefied material embedded within the colon walls can be dislodged through the colema. The colema board has the advantage of being able to do it yourself at home, making it economical and convenient, as well as effective.

Remember that colon cleansing is a process that occurs only over time. It’s taken you a lifetime of bad eating habits to clog up your colon and it often takes many years of good colon cleansing habits to unclog your colon. Be patient with your body.