An enema is a process which purportedly cleans impacted fecal matter from the colon. There is no hard scientific data to back up the long list of supposed benefits which an enema provides, but they are popular nonetheless. Enemas take two forms: washing directly into the rectum (i.e. high colonics), and liquid or powder supplements (i.e. laxatives). Any water flushed into the rectum is then usually flushed out with a different tube. While the main benefit is supposed to be the relief of constipation, there are a host of other supposed benefits.
Benefits of Colon Cleansing
The main goal of colon cleansing is to relieve the body of harmful toxins due to insufficient elimination. This more thorough elimination of fecal matter is supposed to prevent or alleviate constipation, and thus get rid of toxins within the feces. While it's definitely true that an enema can prevent or outright get rid of constipation, the claims of toxin flushing have not been completely proven.
There is another school of thought that the real colon benefit coming from an enema is that it is said to help relieve the nervous system, which becomes taxed during periods of constipation. Additionally, any claims that enemas prevent colon cancer have not been medically proven.
Benefits Besides Colon Cleansing
Other claims as to the physical benefits of colon cleansing include removal of bodily parasites along with toxins, a stronger immune system, clearer skin, alleviated allergy symptoms, and weight loss. In mental health terms, some recipients of enema colon cleanses claim that they are less depressed and anxious. Again, any perceived positive change in state of mind may be more attributable to the relieving of constipation, and the nerve endings in the anus, than in any supposed detoxifying.
In a a sense, then, a colon cleanse can have a noticeable positive effect on one's emotional state, though probably for different reasons than those which have been assumed by the recipient.
Things to Know Before Having an Enema
There are lots of different home enema kits one can purchase at a pharmacy, but enemas carried out at home have the potential to be harmful if the user does not perform the steps properly. Make sure the instructions on the home enema kit are thorough and well-written enough that you clearly understand what you have to do. Also, avoid using enemas too frequently, as enema overuse can throw off your natural bowel movement cycle.
There is still disagreement among medical professionals as to whether enema colon cleansing is necessary, given that bowel movements themselves are supposed to eliminate toxins along with solid waste. Some physicians point out that food is detoxified in the colon already by natural, internal bacteria, that the human liver filters and destroys toxins, and that the colon sloughs off dead cells every few days to prevent toxic congestion.
If you can afford it, and your general practitioner has given you the go-ahead on colon cleansing, you can worry less about performing the enema correctly by having a licensed professional administer the enema. Possible negative side effects resulting from an enema include nausea, dehydration, cramps, and allergic reactions. Enemas should be avoided altogether by those suffering from ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, Crohn's Disease, and diverticulitis.
Juan Ramirez has been a writer for over 14 years and worked for two years as an assistant editor with an internationally circulated journal. Ramirez holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing from Potsdam State University and a Master of Arts in individualized study from New York University.