ImageIt may not sound like a lot of fun, but there are really people who swear by the power of colon-cleansing. Colonics is defined as the irrigation of the large intestine with water under gentle pressure to wash out or detoxify it of stagnant material. Although the mere mention of colon-cleansing is enough to make some people cringe, the practice has become quite commonplace, particularly among those individuals struggling to lose weight.

One end of a clear plastic tube is put into the rectum. During the procedure, the colon is filled up with water through the tube. The water and other contents of the colon are drained through a second tube. Fecal matter is removed from the colon walls, while at the same time diluting bacteria and toxins in the large intestines. The whole process takes about 45 minutes and can be done at home or with the assistance of a colon therapist. Many people undergo colon hydrotherapy every six weeks. It is often used in conjunction with nutritional supplements and other naturopathic treatments.

Colonics have been prescribed for ailments including asthma, arthritis, sinus problems, chronic fatigue, constipation, frequent gas and bloating and weight loss. According to advocates of the alternative therapy, colonics improve muscle tone and digestion, as well enhancing weight loss. However, it is crucial to note that there is no substantial research to back up these claims. Most medical physicians refuse to prescribe colonics.

Among the risks of colonics are spreading infection, tearing the rectal lining, upsetting the chemical balance of the colon and depleting the body of vital minerals. Talk to your doctor before undergoing a colon hydrotherapy procedure, especially if you suffer from a medical condition.