An enema is used for cleansing the colon or large intestine. It involves introducing a solution into the rectum to soften the faeces, distend the colon and rectum, allowing easy emptying of the bowel. An enema is often given for relieving constipation, to cleanse the colon or as part of a body detoxification program.
Traditionally the solution most commonly used was a mixture of mild soap and water however plain water is recommended now (alternative recipes further down) and one litre to two litres of warm water that is placed in a container with a flexible tube and enema nozzle. The end of the nozzle is lubricated and inserted into the rectum, and then the solution is allowed to slowly flow into the lower part of your colon. You then hold onto the water for as long as you can and then let it go along with the contents of your bowel.
Enemas are also really useful if you, like many people, find it dificult to go to the loo when you are away from home travelling or on holiday. Often people get very constipated especially at the start of a holiday when they have entered a new time zone. The enema can be used to empty your bowel whenever you choose which means your holiday is not ruined by being bunged up.
Most people find that a warm water enema can be held more easily than a cold one. Some people use a cool water enema when they need to force out water and material that is stuck in the bowel or when they are suffering from diarrhoea. The temperatures given below are for when the water is poured into the bag. It cools off a liitle before it gets into the colon.
Don't try to judge temperature with your fingers, they're too unreliable. We have all tested the temperature of a bath with our hands to then find its too hot to handle when we step into the water and have to make a quick exit. If you don't have a thermometer, use your tongue to test the temperature! It's a fairly reliable reference for body temperature.
Cool water is 30 - 35 degrees C (86 - 95 degrees F ) Warm water is 35 - 39 degrees C ( 95 - 101 degrees F) Hot water is 43 - 45 degrees C (110 - 113 degrees F). Don't use water any hotter than 39 C or 101 F or you can scald your colon. When doing colonics I stick firmly between 90 F and 101 F.
Warm water is best for softening faeces and cool water causes your colon to contract so if you are very constipated then try a warm enema followed by a cool one.
It helps to understand where your colon is located and it's shape so you can move around to get the water to go where you want. Your colon starts on the lower right-hand side of your abdomen where your appendics are located. It travels up the right hand side of your abdomen, across under your rib cage and descends on your left-hand side.
Not everyones colon is classically configured and there are many variations. When you consider how much there is in your lower abdomen (33ft of small intestine, bladder, uterus etc) it's not surprising the colon can sometimes be a little convoluted. If your colon is impacted you will probably be able to feel areas that are full but gently pressing around your abdomen feeling for hard areas.
We instinctively know where to rub and in which direction when our colons are causing pain. If you think about how you rub your belly it is always in a clockwise direction.
There are many positions in which an enema can be taken. Personally I find the easiest, especially when you are a novice, is to just sit on the loo. As you become more experienced you can experiment with other positions in order to get the water further round your colon.
Two of the most widely known alternatives are the "Sims" position and the "Knee-Chest" position.
The Sims position has the recipient lying on the left side, with the right knee brought up near the chest. For the the Knee-chest position you need to kneel and and allow your chest to sag down so that it almost touches the floor (or as close as you can get it). This places the abdomen nearly upside down, so that the water can flow down from the rectum to the transverse colon by gravity. In cases of deep-seated constipation, this position will help the water reach way up into the colon for a good cleaning out. It is also useful as a technique for floating air or gas in the colon above the water so that the air can be expelled.
Lying on your back is a popular position, especially for the first enema of a session. You can watch the bag slowly deflate, and you can also watch the abdomen expand as the water enters the colon. You should lie down so that you can prop your head against a wall, like a pillow. You will probably be most comfortable if the knees are raised. You will first see the belly swell very low, just above the crotch, as the sigmoid expands. Then you will see the left side start to bulge as the water enters the descending colon. You will be in a position to massage the bowel as well as feel the shape and position of your colon.
Lying on your right side is the opposite of the Sims position, and causes the water to flow down into the caecum. When you do this, you will feel the caecum (which is the first part of your colon with your appendics at the bottom of it) ballooning out. This is the part of colon with the largest diameter and its an area which often holds debris such as unchewed nuts and seeds or anything heavy which would stick in the u-bend of a sink.
Standing on the head uses gravity to force the water down into the transverse colon, which usually needs a good cleaning out anyway, but especially if you are quite constipated. It is however quite advanced and probably not something you would want to try right away and of course you need to get comfortable with standing on your head - only for the very agile.
Leaning over the edge of the bathtub is similar to getting on your hands and knees, but it leaves your hands and arms free, and is a little easier to stay in that position for a while.
Every individual has their own capacity, and it will change from one enema to the next. The fullness of the colon and the amount of gas present will have a big effect on the volume of water that can be taken.
Medical researchers have determined that the average adult human colon has a capacity of 7 quarts (which is 6.61 litres or 14 pints!!!!. I suspect this measurement may have been made using colons removed from cadavers, who wouldn't complain about the pressure. It may be that the average colon has this capacity, but that no one except a woman who has just delivered a baby has that much room in the abdomen to allow the colon to expand to its fullest. I wouldnt recommend even aiming for this kind of capacity. One or two litres is quite enough for anyone.
You may want to experiment with this by taking the largest enema that is comfortable, and then rolling from side to side very slowly and seeing if the water runs downhill to distend the lower side more. You probably will find that the lower part of the colon will be noticeably more swollen, indicating that it is your abdomen that is unable to expand to allow the colon to accept any more fluid.
Most people will find it difficult to retain an enema for more than 5 minutes. If the bowel is full , then the peristaltic action of the colon will push against the faecal masses and produce intense pressure. This will frequently happen with your first enema in a series. Not much to do but expel and try again.
If you get a strong cramp and an urge to expel if you are using one of the methods other than the toilet, getting up is the worst thing you can do as it will make the descending colon vertical adding gravity to the force pushing out. This is how to have an unfortunate accident. Concentrate hard and hold the muscles tight and if you can, wait while lying down. The pressure will pass in 10-15 seconds as the wave of peristalsis passes the sigmoid colon and reaches the end. Then you can get up and expel without straining to hold it in. If you must go to the toilet, and the pressure is intense, you can hold the buttocks together with both hands. This helps the anal muscles keep it in.
Another method is to lie on your back, and massage the colon with both hands. Whenever you feel pressure building, or can feel a big bulge with your hands, massage around that area until the pressure relaxes.
Some people recommend rolling from one side to the other every minute or so. The idea is that the water will flow repeatedly downhill, alternately filling the descending and sigmoid colon and then running down to the caecum. This is supposed to break up any masses in the transverse.
Obviously, most people expel their enemas while seated on the toilet. This is probably not the best position for expelling water from the colon because of the need for the wide caecum to push the water up hill to the transverse, and then for the transverse to pump it back up to get it to the descending. A large volume in the descending can cause the descending colon to slide down the left side and kink where it meets the sigmoid. If you can feel lots of water bulging on the left side, but can't get it out, you need to change positions. Get up and lie down for a moment, or get into the knee-chest position, or just turn around as if you are looking over your right shoulder. These techniques can un-kink the descending colon, and get the water passing out again.
Some people prefer to expel in the bathtub, which is much easier, because the colon does not need to lift water to get it out. This is extremely messy, however, so don't do it unless you don't mind cleaning up. Frankly its not for me!
Don't sit on the toilet for more that a few minutes if there is no water coming out. Sitting too long and straining are the chief causes of haemorrhoids. If nothing is coming out, lie down either face down or up, or lie on your left side, or get into the knee-chest position. These will help the water move, and soon you can go back to the toilet.
You will find your enema a simple and not unpleasant experience if you organise yourself well. Set aside a relaxed half an hour and provide yourself with something to do when you are retaining the enema (music, book, etc). Many people like to take their enema while they are soaking in a warm bath, others prefer to do it on a rug on the bathroom floor so that they can assume yoga postures like the shoulder stand while retaining the liquid, others choose to use a slant board or tip-u-up, allowing gravity to help in retention. Since we are all different, I advise experimenting to find out what works for you. What follows must only be taken as a guide.
Lubricate the enema nozzle (you can use coconut oil, olive oil or KY Jelly - don't use anything you would not be willing to put in your mouth)
Get into your chosen position
Open the clamp and allow the water to make its way through the tube to expel air then shut the clamp off again
Gently insert the nozzle into the rectum
Open the clamp and allow the water to flow.
Don't expect too much of yourself the first time, either in terms of the amount of liquid you can take or the retention time (after a number of enemas your body will get used to retaining more liquid for longer)
Aim to retain about 2 pints for at least 10 minutes at the outset
Sometimes the urge to release cannot be ignored and it is wise to let it go and begin again. As the bowel condition improves, it will be easier to accept and retain more liquid with a minimum of discomfort. The colon is a very large eliminative organ and is arranged internally like three sides of a large square. The aim is to let the enema liquid go up the descending colon positioned down our left hand side, along the transverse colon positioned from left to right under our stomachs and into the ascending colon which goes down our right hand side. It will help to gently massage the colon in a clockwise motion and to change positions.
There are a wide variety of enema recipes available on-line. Whilst you are perfecting your technique it is probably best to stick to warm water which has been filtered. Be willing to persevere – you will soon become an expert.
Warm Water Enema
This will effectively cleanse the rectum and release toxins which may be causing headaches and flatulence. Its effects are superficial, but can be relied on whenever any of the other enema fluids are not readily available.
Make a strong infusion of herbal tea or a decoction of roots and bark, strain and cool. Use 2 teaspoons of herb per pint of water. You can make this up in advance but use it within 24 hours. Keep it in a glass container in the fridge. Make herbal infusions in stainless steel, glass or enamelled pots only. The colon is very absorbent (you will absorb twice as much through your colon as you would through your stomach) and very sensitive so ensure the water used is pure (i.e. good quality bottled or filtered).
Catnip is mildly nervine, calming, soothing, relaxing. Effectively brings down fevers. Excellent for use with children. Chamomile is excellent for recuperative periods after illness or a healing crisis.
Make a decoction of yellow dock and burdock roots, then add red clover and red raspberry infusions. Stimulates the liver to dump bile, thereby relieving stress and pain in a healing crisis.
Slippery Elm is a mucilaginous, soothing, softening and nourishing enema. Excellent to give if you are having trouble eating or retaining food, as the bowel absorbs the nutrients.
Sage is Warming and purifying.
Profoundly purifying, and excellent when treating worms. Liquidise 4 cloves in 1 pint of warm water and strain.
Witch hazel, bayberry, or white oak bark, used to help stop diarrhoea and dysentery.
Relieves inflammation, pain and bleeding (more effective if you add 2 tsp liquid chlorophyll). Also aids healing process.
Use pure wheatgrass juice which restores the bowel and blood stream. Excellent for chronic diseases. Can be mixed with rejuvelac (water from soaking wheat).
The coffee enema is widely publicised these days as a part of cancer therapy and chronic care naturopathy. It is excellent to relieve healing crisis pain and discomfort, to stimulate the liver to dump bile by absorption of the coffee into the haemorrhoidal veins and the portal vein, and to encourage deep cleansing of the colon by stimulating peristaltic activity. It is a regular part of the Gerson Therapy regime and the Kelly cancer programme.
To prepare a coffee enema put 3 tbsp of ground organic coffee into 2 pints of pure water which has just been brought to the boil. Continue on the boil for 3 minutes and then simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes. Cool. Strain and use while at body temperature. Retain 10-15 minutes. This can be done every morning when on a detox programme or fast, and every hour during an acute healing crisis. The bowels continue to operate independently even when taking the coffee enema regularly and start functioning easily on their own after the coffee enema is discontinued. The coffee enema is recommended after a lymph massage to cleanse the colon of the lymph which has drained into the bowel, but not before sleep as it is too stimulating.
Herbal substitutes for the coffee enema are: Red Clover, Yellow Dock root, Burdock and Red Raspberry.
The use of spirulina plankton enemas together with fasting and purification programmes is an excellent way to cleanse the colon and purify the blood stream as quickly as possible. Spirulina has the unique advantage of supplying strength and power through the absorption of the plankton into the bowel wall, as well as cleansing at the same time by softening the impacted faecal matter and stimulating peristalsis. The spirulina enema can be made as follows:
Heat 1 blender full of pure water to body temperature
Mix 2 tsp spirulina powder with half a cup of cold water until you make a smooth paste.
Add 2 tsp Glycerine (from a chemist) and stir together.
Add this loose paste to a blender half full of the warm water and mix at slow speed. You can also use a whisk.
Add the remaining water slowly to fill the blender.
Fill the enema bag straight away and use quickly.
This method will wash out the lower and upper bowel and encourage a complete peristaltic downward action. The plankton is absorbed into the bowel wall, helping it to soften, loosen and dilute the bowel contents. Inject the mixture a little at a time while lying on your right side. Move backwards and forwards from left to right and massage the bowel area. The glycerine helps to emulsify the mixture, soften the impacted faeces and lubricate the colon wall. Take the enema the first night of any fast and for the next 2 nights. While you continue the fast, take one every other day and after the fast take once a month on a regular basis for effective bowel maintenance. Spirulina powder is better than grinding up tablets as it is without additives.
I stock a whole host of products which can be beneficial to use alongside your enema activity to further enhance the benefits. Full information on each product is provided under the individual product headings in this section.
Is a fantastic colon cleanser: very effective and fast. Particularly useful for people who experience griping with other colon cleansers or who have a tendancy to colon cramping. You can use Oxy long term with no detrimental effects.
An effective herbal colon cleanser with the addition of Goldenseal.
Same effective ingredients but without Goldenseal.
A quick effective colon cleanser - the strongest formulation. Particularly useful for very persistent constipaton.
Four bilion live bacteria with a variety of different strains to restore bowel bacteria.
As above but with a mega dose of 20 billion live bacteria.
A totally natural daily spring clean for your entire digestive tract. Great for Going Daily!