Colonic irrigation is a process that its proponents claim will remove nonspecific “toxins” from the colon and intestinal tract. Water or other liquids are injected into the colon via a tube inserted into the rectum. It’s basically an enema that goes a lot further up. The idea is to wash out accumulations of putrefied faeces that line the walls of the large intestine where they can harbour parasites or pathogenic gut flora, causing a long list of complaints and diseases of every kind. Colonic irrigation therapists claim to be able to treat everything from acne to back pain to cancer.
The Vitalis Colon Care Clinic in Dunedin claims on its webpage that colonic irrigation will flush out “toxins”, parasites and blockages in the colon. These problems apparently occur because the society we live in is “filled with [sic] substances or chemicals, which are foreign and often harmful to our body”. This is correct. Being hit by a car is harmful to your body, and cars are made of substances and chemicals. Foreign objects inserted into the body, such as samurai swords, are harmful. The actual harmful chemicals to watch out for are not specified by Vitalis, and neither are the parasites supposedly living up your butt.
It all sounds quite refreshing, but there is no evidence that colonic irrigation will help cure what ails you. Colonic irrigation carries the risk of perforation of the bowel, and disruptions to the complex bacterial fauna of the gut, or the introduction of new bacteria, can wreak havoc on your bowel function. Overuse of colonics can cause severe dehydration and even death. There is no reason to believe that a regular, functioning bowel needs “detoxing”. Yes, poo is gross and riddled with bacteria, but colons are there to deal with it. Doctors do not prescribe colonics to people. Enemas are sometimes given for medical reasons such as severe constipation, and a patient’s colon may need to be cleaned out before a colonoscopy, but washing out your entire colon is not treatment in itself.
What would you pay to have a stranger squirt water up your bum for no reason? Vitalis will clean out your guts for $115, with additional treatments offered at a slightly lower price. If you want to commit to six sessions, it will cost you $480. A consultation costs $25, and an abdominal massage before your session is a further $30. Do yourself a favour and save your money: these people literally don’t know shit.