We are asked quite frequently about the differences between colonics / colon hydrotherapy and colonoscopies, as well as colonics and enemas. While all share the same root, the colon, each procedure is safe, unique, and serves a different purpose. At VIVA Wellness, we offer colonics and enemas, which can make your medical colonoscopy go even more smoothly, but none of these replace the other.
REMINDER, these words are not substitutes for medical advice. In general, social media, blogs, and newsletters are never substitutes for medical advice. Please consult your physician with any questions or before taking action on anything you read or see on the Internet or hear from a non-physician.
Please also note that colon, large intestine, and bowel are all synonymous as it applies to this article
Why Do We Care About the Colon?
The health of your colon will impact your overall health. There is no denying that when you are not experiencing normal bowel movements, you don’t feel great. But what you may not realize is that over time, the colon can accumulate up to 10 lbs of waste PER foot of the colon. Since the average colon is 5ft long, you could be carrying up to 50lbs of old waste in your body! The math paints a shocking picture—so keep in mind that in most cases, the average amount is closer to 5-10 pounds based on a nearly infinite number of factors. *Fun fact: Elvis Presley’s autopsy revealed 30lbs of poop in his colon*
You May Be Inquiring About Colon Health if:
You feel like your digestion is off, you’re feeling sluggish or fatigued, are suffering from acne and other skin conditions, have tested for parasites, are experiencing other symptoms that indicate you’re experiencing a yeast overgrowth or that your toxic load may be high, or you know that you are approaching a colonoscopy in the future. Please take a look at this information for more on which conditions can benefit from colonics.
What Type of Waste is in the Colon?
Waste may consist of old, impacted fecal matter that has built up layers of poop on your colon wall over your entire life, as well as gas, toxins, bacteria, organisms, candida (yeast), parasites, etc. Our bodies are not designed to handle the stress we put on them via the way we eat, drink, our sleep routines, environmental stressors, and toxins, so they do not process and eliminate waste the way they need to in order to function properly. Simply not having the time or space to poop means that over the course of the day, we’re not going enough. Over the course of weeks, months, years, there may be a lot that has not had a chance to evacuate. Think about your eating habits compared to your pooping habits—if you are eating 3 meals a day, 7 days a week and only pooping once a day—that is 14 meals that are building up in your colon!
We’re breaking down the core differences between the four, but we think all actually flow quite well together. Just like health is multifaceted and requires an integrative, open-minded approach, we encourage you to keep an open mind in understanding how to support your colon with a broad range of medical, alternative, physical, emotional, and lifestyle solutions which in turn may produce positive changes in multiple of those areas.
|WHAT/HOW||Water irrigation of the large intestine/colon using a very gentle but constant flow of water ranging between 90-100°F! A speculum is inserted ~ 1-1.5” into the rectum, and water is slowly introduced to all 5 ft (average size of human colon) of the colon. Water and gentle pressure break down old waste, and remove toxins, gas and old poop via the exit tubing. A colonic uses between 5-20 gallons of water per session. (Our machine uses a flow of 10-20 GPH, so that's about 5-10 gallons per half hour colonic session!) 1 colonic = 17 enemas.||Examination of rectum and colon through a flexible tube with camera at the end. Sedation is often required, but definitely suggested. The colon may be inflated with 3psi gas for better visibility, experience suction to remove stool, or irrigation to clean.||An enema is 32 oz of a therapeutic solution (coffee, herbs, etc) introduced to the large intestine via the rectum. The client holds the solution in their colon for 15 minutes - starting on their right side and rotating to their back and then to their left side, spending 5 minutes on each side. Enemas only clean the last 18” of the bowel. 1 colonic = 17 enemas.||2oz of therapeutic solution — usually lavender flower with CBD, probiotics or an anti-inflammatory blend. Administered rectally so the body will absorb it over 2 hours period.|
|WHY||To move out accumulated waste! The average colon is 5’ long and each foot can accumulate up to 10lbs of waste. Waste can consist of old, impacted fecal matter that has built up layers of poop on your colon wall over your entire life, as well as gas, toxins, bacteria, organisms, candida (yeast), parasites, etc. Colon Hydrotherapy removes the old toxins to help stabilize and retrain the gut to work the way it was designed.||Look for any abnormalities in the lower GI tract, such as inflammation, polyps, or other concerns.||Because of the large veins in the rectum, the absorption rate is much higher than ingesting anything orally. Administering a therapeutic solution rectally and holding the solution allows for maximum absorption — the client receives maximum therapeutic benefits.||Rectal absorption rate higher than oral absorption rate, clients get a more concentrated dose . Due to small amount of liquid administered client doesn’t have to “hold” anything and can receive implant after service and go on with their day.|
|WHEN||The average client would likely start with a series of 4-10 colonics spaced no more than a week apart. Most clients will need monthly maintenance but some prefer doing a quarterly or annual series instead. In your consultation with a VIVA Wellness Colon Hydrotherapist, we would evaluate your custom course of action. You can safely receive a colonic every 24 hours.||Depends. Unless specific concerns require a careful look, most won’t have this done until they reach a certain age as suggested by their doctor.||Enemas work best after a colonic, as the colon is already cleansed so it allows for the client to hold the solution easier. However, you can do enemas any time and do not need to pair them with colonics. They can be done daily in many cases, but we find that consistency can increase efficacy when working towards specific goals.||After a colonic or enema. Client can also self-administer at home before bedtime.|
|WHERE||VIVA Wellness||Your GI Doctor||VIVA Wellness||VIVA Wellness|
|Max pressure||2psi. Typical colonics stay under 1psi and we usually only see it get as high as ~0.75 before a client requests a flush/release of the water.||3.75 is standard and deemed medically safe.||N/A. Our enemas use a liquid, therapeutic solution administered with the help of gravity—there is no pressure system adding pressure to the body.||N/A|
|SOURCES||VIVA Wellness Staff||Health.com, hopkinsmedicine.org||VIVA Wellness Staff||VIVA Wellness Staff|
Did you hear the news about musician (and new husband to Kourtney Kardashian) Travis Barker experiencing post-colonoscopy difficulties that may have led to pancreatitis?
While we don’t know his health history, and again, this is not medical advice, we can share that there is likely a lot at play in this scenario, which you can read about here, but what we can assure you is that your colon hydrotherapy or any enema administered at VIVA Wellness would not singularly incite this sort of response from your body. Again, likely. If you have health history or risks that you do not share with us, of course there are things that we may not be able to help you prevent, but the gentle services we offer would likely assist your body, not create further stress on it.
Not sure how the pancreas plays into the digestive system? Among other things, it passes a fluid full of digestive enzymes and bile from the liver into the small intestines to aid in digestion (pathology.jhu.edu). Because so many parts of the body are involved in digestion, when any part of the digestive system is struggling, there are quite a few things that can be impacted.
Interested in using colonics as colonoscopy prep instead of what your GI doc perspectives?
While of course you should share your desired approach with GI doctor, we support you trusting your gut—ha—with how you prepare for a colonoscopy. Better prep WILL produce clearer results, that much we know. Get in touch with us to explore this approach or read more about it here where you’ll hear a number of doctors share that colonic preps did not harm electrolyte balance and were actually preferred by clients.
Please also note the following important information regarding colonics at VIVA Wellness:
- Children are able to start receiving colonics at the age of 6, however, our clinic will not see clients under 16, and they will need parental consent until they are 18.
- Pregnant women may receive colonics after their first trimester, as long as they were receiving them prior to conception.
- It is never a good idea to introduce new detox treatments to the body while pregnant.
- Read also our Colonics FAQs.
CONTRAINDICATIONS will vary due to the technology and methods used. Gravity and open systems will have different requirements. However, for the VIVA Wellness Aquanet APS-100 pressurized system, contraindications include, but are not limited to:
- Cancer of the colon or GI tract
- Acute abdominal pain
- Recent history of severe GI or rectal bleeding
- Congestive heart failure
- Uncontrolled hypertension
- Carcinoma of the rectum
- Abdominal surgery within the past 6 months
- Intestinal perforation
- Abdominal hernia
- Recent colon or rectal surgery
- Acute diverticulitis
- Recent heart attack
- Vascular aneurysm
- Renal insufficiency
- Fissures or fistula
- Pregnancy (the second trimester could be eligible with clearance from NP)
- Acute Ulcerative colitis
- Acute Crohn’s disease
- Rectal or abdominal tumors
- Clostridioides Difficile (C. Diff)
If you are interested in learning more about colonics or would like to schedule an appointment, call, text, or book online today.