Enemas and Weight Loss

If you've been frustrated by your efforts to lose weight, you might be considering new methods to boost your results. Some natural health practitioners claim that enemas can help increase the elimination of toxins and remove waste build-up in the colon, thereby leading to weight loss. However, there's not enough scientific research on the weight-loss benefits of enemas and colon cleansing.

History

An enema is an ancient form of hydrotherapy that has been used for centuries to cleanse the colon, according to Lawrence Wilson, a nutrition and lifestyle consultant with the Center for Development. It has been written about in the Bible, and in writings of ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks and Romans.

Definition

Enemas can be self-administered using equipment to flush the colon with warm water, and, in some cases other ingredients such as coffee, herbal tea or wheat-grass juice, according to Jacqueline Krohn and Frances Taylor, authors of "Natural Detoxification."

Enema versus Colonic

Unlike an enema, a colonic -- or colonic irrigation -- is administered by a professional. Also, the equipment used during a colonic to administer fluid and flush out the colon can be refilled several times to produce a more thorough cleansing, according to Peter Bennett, a naturopathic doctor and author of "The Purification Plan."

Role in Weight Loss

Brenda Watson, co-author of "The Detox Strategy," points out that waste material can build up in the colon and begin to putrefy, increasing the amount of toxins in your body. As she explains, too many toxins in the body inhibit several processes in the body that affect your weight, including liver detoxification and metabolism. Over time, the amount of waste in the colon can amass to several pounds and even contribute to "potbellies." Watson claims that even though colon cleansing is not a weight-loss technique, it often results in significant weight loss.

Evidence

According to Glen F. Aukerman, a professor at the College of Medicine at Ohio State University, high quality research on the safety, effectiveness and process of complementary and alternative therapies such as enemas are limited. Studies investigating the effects of enemas often focus on their use before hospital procedures, not for weight loss.

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