Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is an over-the-counter laxative that can be purchased at most grocery stores and pharmacies. When taken orally, a solution of Epsom salt and water produces a bowel movement in as little as 30 minutes. An Epsom salt solution can also be applied by enema to cleanse the colon.
Create Epsom salt solution. Combine 2 tbsp. of Epsom salt for each quart of warm (not hot) water. Mix thoroughly until salt is completely dissolved.
Fill and hang the enema bag. Fill an enema bag with the Epsom salt solution. Hang the bag from the IV stand.
Put your knees and hands on the ground, lower your chest to the floor and hold your anus as high as possible. Insert tube of enema bag into your anus using lubricant. Allow solution to enter the colon slowly, at about 1 cup per minute, and refill the enema bag if necessary.
Take in fluid until the abdomen becomes distended or it is uncomfortable to take any more fluid, and then bring your chest up level to your anus. Use one hand to massage your abdomen in a clockwise direction to distribute the solution throughout the colon.
Retain the fluid. Remain in position and hold the enema in the colon for 3 to 5 minutes for a cleanse, or 15 minutes to flush additional impurities. You may insert a retention plug in the anus to prevent dripping or spillage.
Release the enema. Squat over the toilet (removing retention plug if used) and massage the colon counterclockwise until no more material is being eliminated.
In addition to massaging the abdomen, you can also roll over by laying on one side for a few minutes and then switching to the other. Use a retention plug or keep the enema tube in place to prevent spilling. When releasing the enema, raising your feet with a stool and leaning forward with your chest to your knees may be more comfortable than squatting over the toilet.
Never put water hotter than 105 degrees Fahrenheit into your anus. Using lubricant can help prevent damage to the sensitive anal tissues.
Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.