Tom Ballard, ND's blog

Colonic Warning!
June 10, 2009, 9:09 am
Filed under: Commentary | Tags: , ,

Why I do not recommend colonics:

My oath as a doctor is to first “Do no harm.” I take that oath seriously. I also believe in using therapies that have scientific validity.

What is a colonic?

The patient lies on a table. A tube is inserted in their rectum. Water (often with minerals, good bacteria, or other components) flows into the colon from a warming tank. The patient is instructed to hold the solution as long as is comfortable. A clear outlet tube allows the patient and practitioner (usually not a doctor) to observe what is being removed from the colon. The inflow and release of solution continues for 30-60 minutes until the solution is clear.

No good science

In researching colonics I could find no supporting scientific studies. Their usefulness is only supported by testimonials (“I felt great”). Testimonials are not always worthless, but I’m always cautious when a therapy only has testimonial support.

When you read the history and listen to proponents of colonics it comes down to two main points:

1. When a person is constipated, they feel better when their bowels are emptied.

I agree. Constipation is a very real problem that compromises a person’s health and needs to be treated. I disagree that colonics are a safe and effective way to treat constipation.

2. Sick people have colons that are lined with layers of sludge that need to be washed away with colonics.

I strongly disagree. If a person’s colon was lined with layers of waste matter they would not be able to absorb nutrients or balance electrolytes and they would quickly die. Furthermore, if you ask a gastroenterologist who performs hundreds of colonoscopies (essentially looking inside the colon with a tiny camera) about “layers of sludge” they will say they never see such a thing. This is a myth that is perpetuated by proponents of colonics. I challenge them to show us photographic proof, not imaginative drawings. Continue reading


Avoid Unproven Therapies
June 3, 2009, 11:03 am
Filed under: Commentary | Tags: , , , ,

Ionic Footbaths

Ionic footbaths claim to remove toxic metals from the body by pulling them through the soles of the feet using a chemical charge. These machines often cost several thousand dollars. They’re usually sold on the web. It would be wonderful if they worked. But there are currently no good scientific studies to support their claim. Manufacturers of these machines offer testimonials, but no supporting data. This is very suspicious, since testing for metals is relatively easy and inexpensive.

Pure Wellness Center sees no reason to use an unproven gadget. If solid scientific support emerges, we will consider incorporating this therapy at our centers. In the meantime, we use therapies that are proven to work.

Store-bought Oral Chelation

Toxic metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc) are a very real health problem. They cause nerve damage, fatigue, depression, and hormonal disruption. If you are concerned about toxic metals, make an appointment to have your levels tested. Testing is accurate and not expensive (around $100).  If your levels are high, follow an effective treatment plan prescribed by a doctor experienced in detoxification.

Do not be fooled by health food store and internet products that claim to treat toxic metal poisoning. If they work at all, you risk the danger of mobilizing heavy metals which then deposit somewhere else in your body (like your brain) instead of being carried safely out of the body.  These products are a waste of time and money and potentially dangerous.