On the issue of Are Colonics Good for You?–from the standpoint of Ayurveda and Acupuncture theory, Colonic “Irrigation”, High Colonics, and Colon Cleanses are a disaster.

Better Ways to Treat Your Colon

They are exactly the wrong way to treat our guts, which are like soup cooking on a flame, not like sewers.  Our colons are, first of all, self cleaning. Secondly, if you want to get your colon working optimally, the best way is to give it a rest with gentle fasting. Another factor, the major factor, is diet. Stop eating junk, start eating freshly made food rich in vegetables and digestion stimulating herbs and spices and your colon will heal itself. (See, below).

Are Colonics Good for You or Useful?

If your interest in colon cleansing comes from suffering from constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, then treat the root of the problem with acupuncture, herbal medicine, but not purgative herbs, which again, don’t treat the root of the problem.

Treatment of Constipation with Acupuncture

Acupuncture can address the constitutional weakness or stagnation of Qi that has led to habitual constipation. Some folk have constipation because of their diets. That’s a simple fix. Change the diet.

Others have a predisposition to a slow moving gut. But those folk will still go regularly, just not daily. It may not be problematic, it depends what their tongue looks like and their other symptoms and signs.
Stagnation of Qi a Cause of Constipation

In the cases of what we call Stagnation of Qi, what we do with acupuncture is to treat the underlying nervous system dysfunction that is part of the pattern. And there are specific Acupuncture points that relax the large intestine found on the legs, on the abdomen, and at the lower back..

Muscle Spasms Related to Constipation Relieved by Dry Needling

Sometimes I find Dry Needling valuable in cases where the constipation and Qi stagnation has led to spasms of the muscles of abdomen or pelvis.

In these cases I use Dry Needling to release trigger points in the Glutes, the Piriformis, the Quadratus femoris, and the Lumbosacral region. I may also release trigger points and stimulate the motor points of the muscles of the rib cage area and the middle and lower abdomen.


Colonics don’t treat the root of any digestive syndromes, they treat the symptom, and with only marginal efficacy. I have seen so many patients who spent a lot of money on colonics for constipation who were left with the same constipation after treatment. If your health, and your interest in colonics comes from anxiety about health and wellness, then take more productive positive action.

The History of Modern Colonics

Colonics hark back to the medical quacks of a century ago, who treated, and continue to treat, our guts like sewers to be flushed out. Its actually has some basis in Christian notions of the lower body as the repository of sin, as something dirty to be cleansed.

The obsession with raw food also go back to a reaction against the meat and bread heavy diet of the American midwest. From one extreme to the other. Even Kellog’s cornflakes were developed by Dr. Kellog as a food that was considered non-stimulating to the sexual desires of young Christians.

Western Medicine was really unbelievably primitive before the advent of 20th century science, and a good lot of medicine involved bleeding, purging, and treatment with toxic heavy metals.

As late as the 1890s M.D.s in Europe were treating TB with Arsenic and Camphor. When I graduated Acupuncture school in 1992 Rheumatologists were still treating Arthritis with Gold injections, which are highly toxic. In fact, as most of us know, all to often even today the drugs prescribed, are highly toxic, and only sometimes the ideal first choice.

“Vegetables to Keep the Body Clean”

The best way to treat the gut is to give it a rest.  Try fasting for one day a week. As well, Chinese Medicine has this to say, “eat rice for energy, meat for strength, and vegetables to keep everything clean.” The problem of chronic constipation is best treated with diet, and dealing with any underlying emotional/nervous system issues that are constricting peristalsis in the intestine.. The Ayurvedic herb Triphala  is also excellent, and is a mild stool softener high in antioxidants. Trifal is not only a stool softener, but is in the Ayurvedic category of Rasayana, herbs that promote health and wellbeing.

Basti in Ayurveda

 Ayurveda does do a kind of colon cleansing, but under highly specific circumstances. Called basti, it involves enema with specific herbal mixtures matched to the patient that are infused with ghee and sesame oil. They are used for only about 33% of the population, folk with dryness in the gut, and Vata elevation,  and are prescribed by doctors whose specialty is Panchakarma treatment.

People are currently obsessed with toxins. Its a kind of nationwide panic that is an over-reaction to the Standard American Diet of wheat, dairy, meat, beer, and sugar that produces the kind of sluggishness in the gut that many folk suffer from.

But the solution is not to flush the gut out, but to change the diet, use herbs, exercise, and take care of your food culture so that you eat healthy fresh meals in a relaxed setting. All of that will stimulate your Agni Digestive fire (Pi Hun Hua in Chinese Medicine) so as to “burn off” Ama “toxic sludge” by-products of weak digestion. Colonics, on the other hand, may harm the microbiome of the gut, and douse, or weaken, our digestive fire.

See here for more info on healthy detoxification in Chinese Medicine.  From the western medicine standpoint on colonics, look here

copyright eyton shalom san diego, ca Sept 2017 all rights reserved use with permission

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