new_health (2006-41)

Well, Bowel Me Over

Condition of the colon called the key to health

by Wendy C. Smith

There’s been a lot of press lately on the importance of colon health. Many health professionals are beginning to see the colon as the starting point for a plethora of diseases and illnesses. In fact, bowel health is something doctors watch in people, from newborns through old age.

There’s a school of thought that many health problems begin in the colon because of our modern diets and the accumulation of toxins in that organ. Ayurvedic medicine (Indian medicine) believes that healthy digestion is one of the keys to a long and active life.

All of us know people who suffer from Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. And, excluding skin cancer, colon cancer currently ranks third in the list of most commonly diagnosed cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 106,000 people will be diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer this year and almost 57,000 will die from it.

The average diet today lacks sufficient food fiber and contains high amounts of sugar and overly processed, low-fiber foods. The natural fibers in fruits, vegetables and whole grains absorb wastes and toxins and act like little brushes in clearing and carrying waste out of the body. Without enough fiber, bits of fecal matter can adhere to the walls of the colon and stay there for years. Over time, that can cause bowel and digestive problems.

A rising field in alternative health is that of colon hydrotherapy. A colon hydrotherapist is a person that is certified in and specializes in general colon health and colonics. A colonic is sort of like a very thorough enema. A colon hydrotherapist helps in the administering of the colonic as well as identifying things that might be problematic, such as large amounts of Chlamydia (naturally occurring yeast, everyone has some, but large amounts can be troubling)

In all the years of writing this column, this is the only time I’ve been anxious. I knew colonics were about colon health, but I hadn’t put much more thought into it. So I found myself in the car, thinking about colon health, colonics, the word colon, and suddenly, what that could possibly mean in terms of what was in store for yours truly. By the time I got to Paula Perkins’ office, I was fairly nervous, and the words “what the *&$* am I doing here?” were whirling around in my head.

Paula’s treatment room was cozy and contained the hydrotherapy machine, which is a complicated looking structure with far too many tubes to put my mind at ease. Needless to say, it was fairly daunting to someone who has never even had an enema. To change my focus, I talked to Paula about how she got into the field of colon hydrotherapy. She explained that she had always been interested in natural health alternatives and the more she explored the field, the more she became convinced of the colon’s role in both fighting and manifesting disease. She really wanted to help people at an important and basic level and thus decided that the colon was the place to start. She attended school at the Renew Health Clinic in Tampa, Fla. to get her certification.

This particular clinic was founded and is run by Brenda Watson, one of the first colon hydrotherapists, a doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and a fairly famous TV alternative health expert. Paula has been a colon hydrotherapist for about two and a half years. She has the perfect temperament for it—unassuming, gentle, kind and knowledgeable.

A colonic lasts about an hour. During that time, the colon is filled several times with warm water and allowed to empty through a disposable tube. The warm water is used to loosen old waste matter and sweep out toxins. The therapist keeps an eye on the water and waste coming from the colon and watches for any irregularities that might flag a health problem. Generally, a series of colonics is recommended to thoroughly flush out the colon along with a diet containing fiber, bentonite clay (which absorbs toxins) and probiotics (supplements or foods that contain beneficial intestinal bacteria).

Although a colon hydrotherapist might recognize something that could be a cause for alarm, they do not diagnose or treat illnesses. Paula believes colon hydrotherapy is beneficial for many reasons. Among them, it clears the colon of old waste material and harmful toxins, helps provide a beneficial environment for helpful bacterial, clears colon blockages, helps with constipation and the symptoms of ongoing constipation and helps alleviate irritable bowel symptoms.

I didn’t do anything to prepare for this experience and I was pleased to find out that I eat enough fiber and have very little Chlamydia in my gut. I also felt a bit more energetic the next day. I guess after all the poking and prodding of last year’s nephrectomy (kidney removal), I’m less likely to get embarrassed over any type of procedure, but I do have to say, if you’re going to get your colon cleansed, Paula is probably one of the easiest people to do it with. I don’t know how most people would react, but just the fact that she and I could have a nice conversation during the colonic says a lot about her and her ability to put people at ease. Paula Perkins can be reached at 865-584-3864.