Dear Mitra: Can you tell me what you recommend in terms of colon-hydrotherapy? I’ve been hearing lots about colonics and enemas, and am not sure which to try, and where to have it done. Thanks!

Dear Reader: Thanks for your question. Under the best of circumstances, the colon is actually designed to keep itself clean. When we are following a diet consisting of whole foods (with no added chemicals, processed foods, or refined oils), the colon takes care of itself pretty well. However, most people don’t eat a diet of all plant-based whole-foods. As a result, we can benefit from gentle colon cleansing.

Colon hydrotherapy is a fast way to rectify the problem of a blocked colon, which is at the root of many chronic health conditions. The only reservation I have about colonics is that, as in any profession, there are those practitioners that simply are not playing by the rules, and they administer too many colonics in a row. Too many too soon can lead to a decline normal bowel function and that is not the goal. On the other hand, one good colon hydrotherapy session, and you may feel a sense of lightness that you have not felt in recent memory.

The gentle, slow, self-administered enemas I recommend in my book, Do You Have the Guts to Be Beautiful?, consist of nothing but warm (not hot) water and are incredibly beneficial for a variety of reasons. While you will find full instructions in my book, here’s a perspective on the problem at hand:

When we eat food with animal fat or added vegetable oil (yes, even touted-healthy olive oil) the oil sticks to our intestinal walls. Then processed foods and undigested meat begins to accumulate on the walls creating a layer of tar (a colon hydrotherapist may show this to you). This layer of tar prevents the proper absorption of nutrients, which is the main function of the small intestine and the only real reason for eating. This tar is the reason people complain that no matter how much they eat, they are still hungry. Also, because our stomach acids are not strong enough to fully digest meat, this adds to accumulation of food in the gut (which becomes food for nasty parasites like candida). Because our intestines can expand to four times their size and are very long, there is a tremendous opportunity to build up waste in the intestines. We’ve all known people whose jolly-bellies are actually quite hard – solid, rather than squishy. Believe it or not, a super firm gut (and I’m not talking about rock-hard abs… I’m talking about a big stomach) is filled with impacted feces.

Daily enemas will eventually begin to function like a syphon: at first, you may notice that you’re not excreting much when you perform one as the water only reaches the first third of your colon. Done daily, every time you do an enema, you create a vacuum that begins to pull undigested meat and other food stuck in 17-25 feet of intestinal tubing out of your body. As much as 20% of a person’s excess weight may simply be waste stuck in the intestines. Daily enemas help with fast-yet-still-safe weight loss. For anyone trying to detox, lose weight, or make their face more clear and beautiful, I recommend performing a nightly enema for at least a month. And why does your skin clear up when you perform enemas? That explanation is in the book, too. After that the first 30 days, you will have cleaned out the majority of a lifetime of toxins. Depending on how much weight you still want to lose and what your diet looks like, you can do them every few days until you reach your desired weight, or until your skin looks the way you want it to. For maintenance, once a month, or after a big night eating out, is sufficient. Remember, once you master them, you are in the driver’s seat and can gain that feeling of lightness whenever you desire. This is the part I really enjoy – giving people a sense of personal power about their health.