Headaches. Constipation. Diarrhoea. Tiredness and lack of 'zip' – and even chronic fatigue. Metabolic conditions. Skin problems. Bad breath. Arthritis. No, not the inevitable result of following government healthy eating guidelines (although hang on a minute...), but just a few of the many conditions that can be helped by colon hydrotherapy.
Colon hydrotherapy is a gentle yet powerful cleanse for the bowel
So what is colon hydrotherapy? Put simply, it's the process of introducing warm, clean, filtered water into the bowel, AKA large intestine or colon, via the rectum – hence another name for the procedure, colonic irrigation. Hydrotherapy not only gently washes away built-up waste matter, but, even more importantly, it also serves to re-establish correct functioning of the bowel tissue.
This is by no means a small matter. Many people – I am tempted to add 'especially in the UK' – prefer to ignore their bowel. They pay little attention to what goes into it in terms of food and fluids, and treat what comes out of it with trepidation or disgust. The resulting disconnection between individuals and their own bodies eventually becomes a source of enormous misery for many.
The bowel is crucial – and widely ignored
For the bowel is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the human organism. It is, basically, a great big muscular tube, bent into an approximately square shape and located in the abdomen. It's around 5 feet long and 6.35 cm (2.5 inches) in diameter, and is responsible for the final removal from the body of waste products as faeces, in a process called defecation.
Strictly speaking, the bowel is an organ of excretion rather than one of detoxification. Although the waste products of digestion voided by the bowel include toxins such as heavy metals, it's not the bowel that does the job of filtering and cleaning the blood of toxins. That's the role of specialised detox organs like the liver and kidneys. When the bowel is all tickety boo and functioning healthily, we feel great: full of energy and well being, ready to face the world and its challenges.
Health challenges associated with an underfunctioning bowel
Unfortunately, it's easy for the bowel to become overwhelmed and inefficient when there's all that waste matter to deal with. Not eating enough fibre? Your bowel will produce stools that are hard, dry and difficult to pass. And if that sounds like constipation, that's because it is. Perhaps you're not drinking enough water? The effect is much the same, with the added bonus of dehydration and its systemic negative effects. Eating too much processed grain products – white flour, cakes, pastries and the like? In this case, the bowel produces an excess of mucous and dense, sticky stools. Insufficient exercise, taking certain prescription drugs, drinking too many caffeinated drinks – all of these factors and more can negatively impact bowel function. Just as important are emotional factors: stress and its alleviation has an enormously important role to play in bowel health.
Annoying, inconvenient and frequently painful as these issues may be in themselves, the problems with impaired bowel function don't end there. Headaches, for example: an underfunctioning bowel can lead to autointoxication, where poisons are reabsorbed into the bloodstream from the colon. Headaches are one, unsurprising, result of autointoxication. Others include tiredness and fatigue, irritability, skin problems, arthritis and bad breath – and oh look, this is where we came in. Even system-wide metabolic dysregulation - type 2 diabetes, say - will benefit from having a fully functioning colon, not least because effective waste removal boosts all the other functions of digestion and nutrient uptake.
New year, new you?
People's minds naturally turn to cleansing, detoxification and internal spring cleaning after the excesses of the Christmas period. So why not give colon hydrotherapy a try - and take your health to the next level?
A first colonic, which includes a thorough case history, costs £75 and second and subsequent colonics cost £60. You can book through the Holden Clinic or contact me directly by email. Watch this space for further details of package offers very soon!
Looking out of my living room window on this early March morning, it's a heart-lifting surprise to see the garden radiating in golden Spring sunshine. The grass, the herbs, the flowers, the trees - all the life crammed into our tiny corner of Surrey seems to stretch and luxuriate in empathy with Scraggy, our scruffy, sleepy cat, as he welcomes the new season on the lawn.
Things are finally getting warmer after a long winter. Which means that now is the best time to think about a New Year detox - odd as that may sound.
The downsides of a winter detox
Most people who plan regular periods of detoxification pencil one in for 1st January or thereabouts. Which is perfectly logical: "new year, new you" and all that. The only problem with this timing is that 1st January is slap bang in the middle of winter in the UK. That means cold, wet, windy, dark and generally unfriendly.
It takes a lot of energy just to keep warm in winter. Winter is when we crank up the central heating systems in our homes so that they're on for most of the day, just to keep a pleasant, liveable temperature on the inside. Your body is a bit like that: you need more energy to keep yourself warm and to carry on the activities of daily living during winter. It's why we naturally tend to eat more stodgy, warming or energy-rich foods like stews, casseroles and soups in the winter months.
Just as naturally, we start to think about a 'clearout' as the sun peeks out once more in Spring. The natural world around us recognises and responds to this need by bringing cleansing and detoxifying plants within easy reach at this time of year: herbs like the diuretic and lymph-cleansing cleavers (Gallium aperine) and the classic liver tonic, dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), are there to be gathered and used come Spring.
Detox is best at the change of seasons
Detoxifying requires a lot of energy, however, and is an energetically very 'cold' process. So diving into a full-on detox programme the second the calendar clicks over onto 1st January isn't necessarily the best idea. Far better to wait until Spring, when the weather is warmer and the calendar of the seasons is in synch with our natural cycles.
Of all our detoxifying organs - liver, kidneys, skin, lymph and bowel - the liver is the undisputed heavyweight champeen, ladies 'n' gennelmen. Keep your liver happy and content and you'll go a long way towards living a long, healthy and, yes - happy and contented life yourself. Which is where the second part of my ebook, The Detox Download, comes in. The first part dealt with the kidneys, and the second part focuses on the liver.
The Detox Download: Liver edition
To get your free ebook, just click on this link and sign up to the HerbSmith mailing list with your email address. I promise not to bombard you with mailouts - just to keep you updated with interesting information, useful health tips and health-boosting recipes!
Just as with the 'kidney edition' of The Detox Download, the 'liver edition' is meant only as a brief primer on detoxification, containing some simple tips that everyone can employ in their daily life. One of the beauties of herbal medicine is that it can be tailored to develop a detoxification programme unique to each individual, depending on their needs - and many people will require a more structured detox programme to reach their health goals. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact form if you think you might benefit from such a programme.
Media articles bashing detoxification are becoming a yearly tradition to rival Christmas. The truth is, not only is it possible to boost our bodies' ability to detox – it's crucial for anyone seeking optimum health. And what's one of the best ways to boost your detox system? Herbal medicine! Grab a copy of my free ebook to learn more about why detox is crucial for your health!
Detox: smeared by association
Rather than spend a couple of thousand words picking apart articles like a recent Guardian piece that described detox as "a myth", here are two facts that the anti-detox crowd conveniently overlook.
One: pointing at questionable products like detox foot pads and dodgy 'colon cleanse' tablets in order to heap ridicule on the entire concept of detoxification is simply a trick. There are plenty of great products out there, just as there are plenty of questionable ones. Such 'guilt by association' tactics serve to obscure what detoxification is all about: supporting the body's naturally existing processes to help it get rid of poisonous substances, or toxins. This is best done on a daily basis, through the use of herbs, foods and the right high-quality vitamin and mineral supplements.
Ensuring proper detox is a central part of herbal medicine
If you want to learn more about detoxification and why it's so important in the 21st century, along with some simple, everyday tips and tools to boost your own detox capacity, download my first, free, ebook. All you need to do is provide your email address and sign up to the HerbSmith mailing list. The ebook is called 'The Detox Download', and the first of several parts focuses on the kidneys – one, or more accurately two, of your most important detox organs.
'The Detox Download: Kidney edition' is only meant as a brief primer on detoxification, however. Many people will need a more comprehensive approach to detox on the road to true vitality, often as part of a structured wellbeing programme. If you feel you'd benefit from personalised advice like this, please get in touch.
Yours in health,
Adam (The HerbSmith)
An irregular blog
I'm Adam Smith, a Herbalist and Naturopath practising in the Surrey/West Sussex/Kent border area. Although I hope it will change, I don't currently post here regularly.