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