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Alternative Medicine: Colon Hydrotherapy Paper

Alternative Medicine: Colon Hydrotherapy

I.              Introduction

a.    Problem Statement

The alternative medical procedure called Colon Hydrotherapy provides the unsurpassed means of detoxifying the digestive colonic tract correcting microbial flora and treating intestinal permeability. Colon hydrotherapy derives its fundamental nature from the classic enema procedure. Medical experts recommend this procedure for patients suffering from various digestive malfunctions requiring colonic lavage or fluid flushing.

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b.    Overview of Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon enema, colonic irrigation and colon lavage are some of the usual terms pertaining to the alternative procedure, Colon Hydrotherapy. According to Kamhi (2007), the unconventional colonic hydrotherapy is simply the “gentle infusion of warm, filtered water into the colon” (p.34). The main philosophy emphasized by colon hydrotherapy is the assisting of bowel and other colonic contents elimination (Youngson and Jacoby, 2002 p.385). Ideally, the human colon contains the excreta needing elimination two to three times a day; however, most individuals only defecate once per day resulting to the accumulation of unwanted colonic contents, which may compromise the overall health of a person (Pizzetti, Annibali and Bufo et al., 2004). Colonic hydrotherapy is often recommends as an alternative procedure for (a) treating colonic impactions, (b) microbial disorders in the colon (dysbiosis) and (c) correcting intestinal permeability (e.g. leaky gut syndrome, etc) (Smith, 2007 p.36). Nonetheless, the practice of colonic hydrotherapy requires intensive education and trainings similar to other practices.

II.            Discussion

a.    The Alternative Approach of Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon hydrotherapy is an unconventional procedure recommended as part of an alternative treatment program aimed at freeing colonic tract from accumulated or existing toxins or impurities caused by unhealthy intakes (Smith, 2007 p.36). According to Kamhi (2007), the physiological philosophy governing the procedure is the artificial production of wave-like muscular contractions or peristalsis that propels the colonic contents (e.g. trapped fecoliths, accumulation of parasitic microflora, etc.) outside the digestive tract (p.34). Colonic hydrotherapy is believed to be safe and hygienic in nature providing the recipient feelings of relief and internal cleanliness after the delivery of procedure. As supported by Moritz (2005), occupational practitioners rendering such treatment believe in the effectiveness of colon irrigation as evidenced by the presence, consistency and quantity of colonic waste materials removed after the procedure (p.121). In fact, the study of Torralba, Robles and Parrilla et al. (1998), has proven the effectiveness of colonic irrigation in removing colonic obstructions present among patients with carcinomas of the rectosigmoid junction. The major tenets of the procedure involve two physiological actions believed to be elicited by colonic irrigation, namely (a) flushing of impacted fecal matter and (b) break down of colonic particles (e.g. hardened mucus, fecoliths, etc) (Belen, 2005 p.27). In order to alleviate the body from diseases, impacted elements must be flushed outside the body (Moritz, 2005 p.121). Colon therapists practicing such alternative treatment believe that the body colon can comprise up to 50 pounds of fecal waste over decades of unhealthy food intake, which may eventually lead to various colonic disorders (Belen, 2005 p.27).

b.    Historical Background of the Procedure

Colonic hydrotherapy has been first identified within the early medical documents from the civilization of ancient Egypt. The earliest record of enema use in Egypt dated as earl as 1500 B.C (Belen, 2005 p.26). The founding beliefs of colon irrigation can categorized into three stages of evolution from the unofficial use of colonic enema existed in the ancient Egypt. In the fist stage, colon enema or hydrotherapy was under the Darwinian Theory involving the countering of physiologic ptosis (Empringham, 2008 p.217). According to O’Mathuna and Larimore (2006), the early belief on colonic ptosis involves the sagging of intestinal tract slowing the passage of contents outside the body; therefore, in order to enhance the passage of colonic contents, colonic irrigation or hydrotherapy is administered to produce a pushing force directing contents outside the body (p.163).

The second theory revolved within the principle of “Autointoxication” established by the French physician – Charles-Jacques Bouchard (1837 to 1915) (Finger, 2001 p.248). The theory of Autointoxication involves the ancient belief of waste products present within the colonic tract capable of poisoning the body and predisposing different kinds of disease (Ernst, 1997). According to O’Mathuna and Larimore (2006), Bouchard proposed that slow passage of waste in the colonic tract could induce autointoxication that can eventually lead to various digestive disorders; hence, he proposed the method of colonic irrigation to direct colonic wastes outside the body (p.163).  Lastly, the famous Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Michigan (popularly known for his Kellogg’s Breakfast cereals) supported the colon hydrotherapy around 1920s saving approximately 40,000 sufferers of gastrointestinal disorders (Bowling, 2004 p.74).

Currently, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved colonic irrigation machines facilitating colonic hydrotherapy to be handled by trained and licensed occupational practitioners (O’Mathuna and Larimore, 2006 p.163). According to Kassier (2002), colonic irrigation devices have been approved and classified by FDA as Class III equipments that limit the equipment use solely for medical procedures (p.70).

c.    Techniques and Modalities of Colon Hydrotherapy

Professional colon hygienists or therapists using FDA approved colonic irrigation devices are the only occupational practitioners allowed to administer colonic hydrotherapy (Belen, 2005 p.27). Colonic hydrotherapy usually begins with the insertion of small rectal speculum (tube-like device attached to the irrigation machine) (Kamhi, 2007 p.34). The small amounts of water flushed within the colon usually contain combinations of minerals, enzymes and colon medications that enhance the effect of colonic detoxification (Smith, 2007 p.36). The fluids contain “enhanced and oxygenated food-grade hydrogen peroxide, ozone, botanical antimicrobials and nutritional supplements (e.g. probiotics, etc)” (Kamhi, 2007 p.34). The fluid circulates comfortably channeled by a dual-flow tube. During the circulation of colonic fluids, the colonic practitioner massages the abdomen of the patient to exert manual pressure towards the intestinal tract facilitating the circulation and evacuation of fluids with the flushed colonic contents (Youngson and Jacoby, 2002 p.385). Fluid accumulated within the colon is released after short periods of retention and repeated several times throughout the procedure lasting approximately 40 to 45 minutes (Smith, 2007 p.36). After the introduction of irrigation fluid via inlet tube present in the inserted speculum, the fluid, waste and gas are removed through the evacuation tube.

According to Kamhi (2007), the water pressure used throughout the procedure must remain within recommended 5 pounds per square inch (p.35). Colonic hydrotherapy is contraindicated on pregnant patients and those suffering from kidney impairments (e.g. kidney failure, etc.) or related procedures (e.g. peritoneal dialysis, etc) (Strossier, 2003 p.93). Colonic hydrotherapy recipients immediately experience weight loss from five to seven pounds indicating the removed fecal matter after the procedure (Kamhi, 2007 p.35). After the commencement of the entire procedure, colonic therapists usually provide their patients with suppository implants capable of restoring the natural colonic ecosystem existing in a healthy colonic tract (Youngson and Jacoby, 2002 p.385). Colonic hydrotherapy must always be administered by proven and certified colonic therapists to avoid any untoward effects brought by treatment.

d.    Research Supporting the Effectiveness of Treatment

Aside from the approval of different government agencies, such as the FDA, various studies and researches have proven the effectiveness of colonic hydrotherapy as alternative treatment to intensive colonic enemas or laxatives. In the study of Briel, Schouten and Vlot (1997), patients experiencing colonic fecal incontinence (n=16) and soiling (n=16) had been treated with colonic irrigation comprising of 500 to 1000 ml of warm water (38 degrees) for five to ten minutes. Results revealed 92% of patients with fecal soiling and 60% of patients with fecal incontinence benefit from colonic hydrotherapy.  In the study of Lim, Tang and Seow-Choen et al. (2005), they have found that colonic hydrotherapy or irrigation is as safe as the standard manual colonic decompression administered commonly on patients with colorectal obstructions. In fact, results show that manual decompression can even risk patients for anastomotic leak (n=2 out of 25), while colonic irrigation safely removes obstruction without any sign of complication (n=0 out of 25). In another study, Crawshaw, Pigott and Potter et al. (2003), they have evaluated the perceptions of 48 patients who have experienced colorectal irrigation as treatment for their fecal evacuatory disorders. Results of the study indicate a score of 50% (n=24 out of 48) of patients who had perceived their treatment as beneficial and successful compared to previous treatment that did not succeed. Aside from these clinical journal studies, various evidences are massively available supporting the effectiveness, safety and efficiency of colonic hydrotherapy compared to other existing procedures.

e.    Trainings and Prerequisites of Practice

Currently, there are approximately 2000 Colon therapists presently providing colonic hydrotherapy among patients in United States alone (Belen, 2005 p.27). According to Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson et al. (2002), the International Association for Colon Therapy (IACT) located at Hilltop Drive, Redding California, is the nationwide network providing professional seminars, trainings and certifications of practice for colonic procedures including colonic hydrotherapy (p.179). Added by Smith (2007), an organizational sub-denomination called International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy (IACH) located at San Antonio, Texas existing to provide certification and establish standards specifically for colon hydrotherapy (p.36). Certifications and prerequisites issued by IACT for Foundational Level include (a) high school diploma or GED certification, (b) postsecondary education level A&P, (c) CPR card and (d) colonic recommendations with minimum of one to three finished colonic training with corresponding certification. Prerequisites being mandated for Intermediate and Advanced Levels are more complex compared to the latter level. For Intermediate level, significant prerequisites include (a) full certification of IACT for finishing Foundation Level for a minimum of 6 months, (b) take and pass IACT Intermediate Level 2 Exam, and (c) Proof of 500 hours classroom training or two years of experience under the scope of their healthcare practice. Lastly, the prerequisites of Advanced Level certification issued by IACT include (a) full certification of IACT for finishing Intermediate level for a minimum of one year, (b) take and pass IACT Advanced Level 3 Exam, and (c) Proof of 1000 hours classroom training or three years experience within their scope of healthcare practice (IACT, n.d).

f.      Certification and Licensure for Occupational Therapists

Unlike other healthcare practice, colonic therapy does not require necessary licensure since state legislations have not formulated laws and/or policies governing such regulatory scheme (Ernst, Pittler and Wider, 2006 p.513). However, IACT has established three levels of practice (Foundational, Intermediate and Advanced Level) to govern the standards of practice in colonic therapy administrations. IACT acts as the regulatory board providing the necessary certifications of practice, limitations of practice and the scope of practice according to the practitioner’s level of accreditation. IACT membership is the governing indication of the practitioner’s credibility to render colonic hydrotherapy. Policies, such as Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sec.876.5220 on Colonic Irrigation System and CFR 876.5210 on Enema Kit, are enforced by the organization among its members to standardized and monitor the delivery of colonic hydrotherapy proceedings (IACT, n.d). IACT establishes colonic practitioner credibility through certification acknowledged by IACT standards of practice.

g.    Referrals and Appraisals for Colon Hydrotherapy

As supported by Belen (2005), the organization responsible for recommending, referring and monitoring professional credibility of colonic therapists is the IACT (p.27). Aside from the established certifications and policy standards of IACT, they also provide quick schemed online referral system available mainly on their website – http://www.i-act.org/iactsearch.htm. According to referral policy imposed by IACT (IACT, n.d; Standards Operating Protocols):

a.                   “All records should be made available to referring or consulting health care givers associated with the client and their therapies provided that a properly written release form is executed by the client beforehand.”

b.                   “Therapies for referral clients SHALL conform to the prescription or instructions of the referring health care giver. Client responses… with all aspects of colon hydrotherapy care SHALL be reported to the referring health care giver on request.”

Since IACT is the only prominent governing agency on colon hydrotherapy, every practitioner is expected to adhere to the policy and standards imposed by IACT. However, in case practitioners fail to adhere on these imposed guidelines, disciplinary actions applied may include (a) revoking or refusal of certification, (b) issuance of reprimand promulgated by IACT boards and (c) suspension of IACT colon hydrotherapy practice.

h.    Availability of the Treatment: Locations and Practitioners

IACT referral system provides the most convenient way to locate the available practitioner present in the recipient’s nearest area. Availability and costs of service usually depend according to the area, level of certification and scope of practice (Ernst, Pittler and Wider, 2006 p.513). Treatment cost of colonic hydrotherapy usually runs from $35 to $75 per session excluding consultations and clinical examinations (Bennett, 2005 p.213). In the state of Seattle, IACT recommended Colonic practitioners include Clarie Alden (Foundation and Intermediate Certification), Celina Lewandowski of Colon Therapy Center (Intermediate Level) and Kristi McKinney-Zimmer of The Tummy Temple (Intermediate Level). Meanwhile, the cited practitioner in Tacoma is Kelli Nichols of Colon Hydrotherapy of Tacoma (Foundation Level). Lastly, available practitioner in Olympia includes Jalene Smith of Breakthroughs in Healing Center (Intermediate Level).

III.           Conclusion

In conclusion, colon hydrotherapy, despite of its unconventional nature, has been proven effective and efficient in treating colonic impairments, such as fecal impactions, obstructions and colonic microbial imbalances. The procedure involves the FDA approved class III colonic irrigation system comprising of dual-tube rectal speculum that facilitates the infusion and removal of fluids. Colon hydrotherapy works as an alternative medical approach involving the principle of colon lavage and forceful excretion of wastes trapped within the colonic tract. Colonic hygienists or therapists certified by IACT are the qualified authorities capable of administering such procedure. IACT provides the guidelines on certification, professional regulation, disciplinary standards and referral system to establish an organized professional group of colon hydrotherapists.

IV.          References

Belen, S. L. (2005). Detox and Revitalize: The Holistic Guide for Renewing Your Body, Mind, and Spirit. New York, U.S.A: Vital Health Publishing.

Bennett, J. (2005). The Purification Plan: Clear Your Body of the Toxins That Contribute to Weight Gain, Fatigue, and Chronic Illness. New York, London: Rodale Press.

Bowling, A. C. (2006). Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. New York, U.S.A: Demos Medical Publishing.

Briel, J. W., Schouten, W. R., & Vlot et al., E. A. (1997, July). Clinical value of colonic irrigation in patients with continence disturbances . Journal of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, 40, 802-805.

Crawshaw, A. P., Pigott, L., & Potter et al., M. A. (2005, June). A retrospective evaluation of rectal irrigation in the treatment of disorders of faecal continence. Journal of Colorectal Disease, 6, 185 – 190.

Empringham, J. (2008). Intestinal Gardening for the Prolongation of Youth. London, New York: Health Research Books.

Ernst, E. (1997, June). Colonic Irrigation and the Theory of Autointoxication: A Triumph of Ignorance over Science. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 24, 196-198.

Ernst, E., Pittler, M. H., & Wider, B. (2006). The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Evidence-based Approach. New York, U.S.A: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Finger, S. (2001). Origins of Neuroscience: A History of Explorations Into Brain Function. Oxfordshire, U.K: Oxford University Press US.

Goldberg, B., Trivieri, L., & Anderson et al., J. W. (2002). Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. New York, London: Celestial Arts.

IACT, (n.d.). How to be Certified by I-ACT. Retrieved January , , from International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy: http://www.i-act.org/Certif.htm

IACT, (n.d.). IACT: Standards Operating Protocols. Retrieved January , , from International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy: http://www.i-act.org/SOP.pdf

Kamhi, E. (2007). Alternative Medicine Magazine’s Definitive Guide to Weight Loss: 10 Healthy Ways to Permanently Shed Unwanted Pounds. New York, U.S.A: Celestial Arts.

Kassier, S. (2002). Don’t Do it All to Get it All. New York, U.S.A: New Africa Books.

Lim, J. F., Tang, C. L., & Seow-Choen et al., F. (2005, June). Prospective, randomized trial comparing intraoperative colonic irrigation with manual decompression only for obstructed left-sided colorectal cancer. Journal of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, 48, 205-209.

Moritz, A. (2005). The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush: A Powerful Do-It-Yourself Tool To Optimize Your Health and Wellbeing. Texas, London, U.S.A: Ener-Chi Wellness Center.

O’Mathuna, D., & Larimore, W. (2006). Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. London, New York: Zondervan Press.

Pizzetti, D., Annibali, R., & Bufo et al., A. (2004, December). Colonic hydrotherapy for obstructed defeation. Colorectal Disease, 7, 107 – 108.

Smith, A. E. (2007). Unbreak Your Health: The Complete Guide to Complementary & Alternative Therapies. London, New York: Loving Healing Press.

Strossier, H. (2003). Treating Allergies With F. X. Mayr Therapy: Mobilizing the Body’s Self-healing Powers. New York, London: Thieme Press.

Torralba, J. A., Robles, R., & Parrilla et al., P. (1998, January). Subtotal colectomyvs. intraoperative colonic irrigation in the management of obstructed left colon carcinoma . Journal of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, 41, 18-22.

Youngson, R. M., & Jacoby, D. B. (2002). Encyclopedia of Family Health. London, New York: Marshall Cavendish.

COLON HYDROTHERAPY

What is the Alternative Procedure All About?

            Colon enema, colonic irrigation and colon lavage are some of the usual terms pertaining to the alternative procedure, Colon Hydrotherapy. Colon hydrotherapy is an unconventional procedure recommended as part of an alternative treatment program aimed at freeing colonic tract from accumulated or existing toxins or impurities caused by unhealthy intakes. The major tenets of the procedure involve two physiological actions believed to be elicited by colonic irrigation, namely (a) flushing of impacted fecal matter and (b) break down of colonic particles (e.g. hardened mucus, fecoliths, etc)

What is the Philosophy Involving Governing the Procedure?

The main philosophy emphasized by colon hydrotherapy is the assisting of bowel and other colonic contents elimination. The physiological philosophy governing the procedure is the artificial production of wave-like muscular contractions or peristalsis that propels the colonic contents (e.g. trapped fecoliths, accumulation of parasitic microflora, etc.) outside the digestive tract.

What is the History behind the Procedure?

The earliest record of enema use in Egypt dated as earl as 1500 B.C. The founding beliefs of colon irrigation can categorized into three stages of evolution. In the fist stage, colon enema or hydrotherapy was under the Darwinian Theory involving the countering of physiologic ptosis. The second theory revolved within the subject on “Autointoxication” established by the French physician – Charles-Jacques Bouchard. ).  Lastly, the famous Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Michigan (popularly known for his Kellogg’s Breakfast cereals) supported the colon hydrotherapy around 1920s saving approximately 40,000 sufferers of gastrointestinal disorders.

What is the Actual Process of the Procedure?

            Colonic hydrotherapy usually begins with the insertion of small rectal speculum (tube-like device attached to the irrigation machine). The fluid circulates comfortably channeled by a dual-flow tube. During the circulation of colonic fluids, the colonic practitioner massages the abdomen of the patient to exert manual pressure towards the intestinal tract facilitating the circulation and evacuation of fluids with the flushed colonic contents. Fluid accumulated within the colon is released after short periods of retention and repeated several times throughout the procedure lasting approximately 40 to 45 minutes.

Who Can Provide the Procedure?

            Only ICAT certified Colonic therapists or Hygienists are allowed to provide the procedure.

What are the Qualifications and Prerequisites of Practice?

            Qualifications and prerequisites of practice include (a) high school diploma or GED certification, (b) postsecondary education level A&P, (c) CPR card and (d) colonic recommendations with minimum of one to three finished colonic training with corresponding certification, (e) full certification of IACT according to Level of certification, (b) take and pass IACT Exams according to Level of certification, and (c) Proof of classroom training or experience under the scope of their healthcare practice according to Level of certification.

What Organization Governs the Practice of Procedure?

            The International Association for Colon Therapy (IACT) located at Hilltop Drive, Redding California, is the nationwide network providing professional seminars, trainings and certifications of practice for colonic procedures including colonic hydrotherapy.

What are the Certifications of the Procedure?

Unlike other healthcare practice, colonic therapy does not require necessary licensure since state legislations have not formulated laws and/or policies governing such regulatory scheme. However, IACT has established three levels of practice (Foundational, Intermediate and Advanced Level) to govern the standards of practice in colonic therapy administrations. IACT acts as the regulatory board providing the necessary certifications of practice, limitations of practice and the scope of practice according to the practitioner’s level of accreditation.

How does the Referral System works?

            IACT referral system provides the most convenient way to locate the available practitioner present in the recipient’s nearest area. Aside from the established certifications and policy standards of IACT, they provide quick schemed online referral system available mainly on their website – http://www.i-act.org/iactsearch.htm.

Who are the Nearest Available Practitioners in my area?

In the state of Seattle, IACT recommended Colonic practitioners include Clarie Alden (Foundation and Intermediate Certification), Celina Lewandowski of Colon Therapy Center (Intermediate Level) and Kristi McKinney-Zimmer of The Tummy Temple (Intermediate Level). Meanwhile, the cited practitioner in Tacoma is Kelli Nichols of Colon Hydrotherapy of Tacoma (Foundation Level). Lastly, available practitioner in Olympia includes Jalene Smith of Breakthroughs in Healing Center (Intermediate Level).

 

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