WTF is a Colonic Treatment?

What do Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Leonardo DiCaprio all have in
common? They all love a good colonics. But what exactly is a colonic treatment and is this just another
celebrity fad?

What is a Colonic Treatment?
Colonics, also termed colon hydrotherapy, is a method of filtering the colon (the lower part of
the large intestines). Our intestine is separated into several parts, each with its own function.
The colon works to 1) reabsorb fluids and electrolytes, 2) produce and absorb vitamins, and
3) form, store and expel waste (in the form of faeces) from the body. The colon also houses
part of our microbiome and is involved in many other roles including mood, immunity,
energy, and hormone balance.(1)

Over the years, waste can get trapped in the folds of our colon or build up along the walls. It
hardens into a thick layer (scientifically called mucoid plaque) that blocks absorption of
nutrients into the cells, causes toxins to accumulate, and promotes unhealthy bacteria to
flourish. Colonics functions to wash out trapped waste and reset our colonic health.
If it sounds like an experimental new therapy, it’s not. The practice of irrigating the lower
colon is an ancient practice dating back to ancient Egyptian, Greek, Chinese, and Indian

How Does Colonics Work?
At its foundation, all colonic treatments use warm water gently flushed up the rectum to
remove the build-up of waste, rehydrate the colon, and exercise the bowels. There are 2
main methods: open-system colonics, and closed-system colonics.

During a closed-system colonics, you lie on your back while a practitioner inserts a small
tube and releases warm filtered water into the colon. The practitioner will guide you the
whole time, and at the right moment, turn the tap to let the water and waste out through the

For an open-system, the practitioner will instruct you on how to insert the rectal tube yourself
and then comes back to help you turn on the water. As you get the urge you relieve yourself,
you expel waste into the basin underneath you.

While both methods are effective, at LifeHub we prefer a closed-system approach for a
cleaner, more consistent, and easier experience especially for first-timers.

Benefits of Colonics
As mentioned, the function of colonics is to remove waste for improved colon health. But you
may be wondering, how will that make me feel better? Most of the research on colonics
supports its efficacy in improving constipation and more surprisingly, incontinence. (2,3) Studies
also show it helps circulation and immune function.(4)

Moreover, by clearing out toxic waste that has sat in your gut holding back your health for
years, many notice improved cognitive function (goodbye brain fog!), clearer skin, better
mood and more energy.

1. Valdes Ana M, Walter Jens, Segal Eran, Spector Tim D. Role of the gut
microbiota in nutrition and health BMJ 2018; 361 :k2179
2. Wilson M. A review of transanal irrigation in adults. Br J Nurs.
2017;26(15):846-856. doi:10.12968/bjon.2017.26.15.846
3. Koch SM, Melenhorst J, van Gemert WG, Baeten CG. Prospective study of
colonic irrigation for the treatment of defaecation disorders. Br J Surg.
2008;95(10):1273-1279. doi:10.1002/bjs.6232
4. Uchiyama-Tanaka Y. Colon irrigation causes lymphocyte movement from gut-
associated lymphatic tissues to peripheral blood. Biomed Res.
2009;30(5):311-314. doi:10.2220/biomedres.30.311


Rachel Erwin, Nutritionist & Content Writer

Rachel is a Nutritionist with a BSc in Biology and Global Health from the University of Toronto, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Nutrition from the University of Ulster. She has counselled and educated clients in Hong Kong, whose health goals ranged from weight loss to detox and hormone balancing. Her love of writing led her to complete ‘Writing in the Sciences’, offered by Stanford University, and since then she has contributed several evidence-based health articles to various publications.

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