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Colon cleansing: helpful or harmful?

September 27, 2013

Most alternative medical treatments become hotbeds of controversy with one camp shouting the benefits of the procedure and the medical establishment heaping derision on the process as quackery. Colon cleansing is a procedure in a very unique position as it is prescribed both by medical doctors and alternative healers for very different reasons. It is helpful under both circumstances.

Medical doctors will prescribe colon cleansing as a preparatory step for other related procedures. A clean path through the waste tract can make such procedures as colonscopies easier for those performing the procedure and reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort for patients. In this way, it is clear that everyone wins with colon cleansing.

When using colon cleansing as an independent treatment, there is a little more controversy surrounding the process. In the eyes of most medical professionals, the procedure is unnecessary and equates to throwing away money since the body naturally disposes of waste. Proponents of colon cleansing as a stand alone treatment point to things like the fact that our digestive systems tend to hold on to certain substances for long periods of time instead of processing them through the digestive system. Red meat is the most obvious substance of this type. Citing the possible inefficiency of the body's natural systems for waste elimination, they claim that eliminating toxins that the body cannot not only benefits the patient by the simple absence of the substances but adds energy to the person since the body is not wasting energy on a process that is not working well. It is only logical that the removal of toxins in the body is a good thing.

So, colon cleansing always benefits and never harms, right?

Not quite. There are two ways that colon cleansing can actually harm a person that have nothing to do with the process itself, but those performing the procedure and the patients themselves.

Patients should be sure that they have no existing medical conditions that could be exacerbated by the procedure. Once this has been determined, they should remember that colon cleansing removes a great deal of water from the body and should make it a point to rehydrate well.

Those performing the process can ensure that no harm occurs simply by being professional. Staff administering the procedure should be well versed in what to do and they should also use the right tools for the task.

At worst, a colon cleansing performed by a professional on a healthy patient who hydrates well afterwards does no harm and little good - this is the opinion of most medical professionals. At best, the same procedure does no harm and great good - this is the experience of many who regularly undergo the procedure.

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