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The Colonics Craze: Should You Try It?

With people like Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, and Pamela Anderson touting the effects of Colon Hydrotherapy or so-called colonics, the procedure has gained steam lately. Colonics, or the act of eliminating your body's waste by irrigating the colon, is a holistic therapy that's said to get the digestive system functioning better and, some say, it can even help you lose weight, among other benefits.

It sounds harmless enough. You lie comfortably on a table as warm, filtered water gets pumped into your colon through a disposable rectal tube. For about 45 minutes, the water works to soften up any waste material and expel it from the body. Many believe that a clean colon can lead to a healthier life and reduce the chances of many diseases. Stars are doing it to slim down right before a big premiere. But does it really work? The jury is split.

"Colonics are neither necessary nor beneficial, as our bodies do a great job of detoxifying and eliminating waste on their own," says Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa MD, gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center.

 

Most doctors agree that these treatments can actually cause harm. Possible side effects include dehydration, abdominal pain and bloating, kidney failure, and even a perforated colon, according to a report from Georgetown University School of Medicine.


So why has the procedure become so popular? To find out, we went to colonic guru, Tracy Piper, founder of The Piper Center for Internal Wellness and go-to-gal for celebrities, models, and socialites who swear by colonics.

"Hollywood celebs that embark on colon therapy are way ahead of many people who look down on [it]," Piper says. "They have figured out that cleansing the body in this way enables them to perform better, reduces stress, improves attitude, skin, and endurance, allows them to age seamlessly, and of course, look AMAZING on the red carpet," she says.

While the debate rages on, if you do decide to try the procedure for yourself, look for an accredited therapist through the International Association for Colon Therapy's website. Also, it's not for everyone. People suffering from certain diseases and pregnant women are not advised to do colon therapy so be sure to talk with your doctor first.

If you're in the clear and interested in trying, check out Piper's 14-day plan to improve overall health and wellness (and lose weight) through a combination of a raw foods diet, exercise, and juice cleanses.

Preparation
"Start by preparing the body for a raw fast by eating fruits only for two days. This will help loosen fecal matter and flush toxins from the liver and kidneys, which will be released via a colonic before the extended fast can begin," Piper says.
Day 1
Breakfast: Fruit smoothie made with berries for antioxidants

Mid-morning snack: 10oz glass of freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice

Piper also suggests snacking on grapes and watermelon throughout the day: "Grapes are great lymphatic cleansers, free radical eliminators, and aid in the removal of heavy metal toxicity, while watermelon hydrates and cleanses the cells, is abundant in vitamin C, a great antioxidant, and aids with preventing breast, prostate, lung, colon, and endometrial cancers."

Lunch: Large salad with romaine lettuce, mixed greens, or spinach as a base and a dressing of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sea salt. May add sprouts, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and avocado

Between meal juice: Fruit or vegetable

Snacks: May consist of fresh fruits, raw vegetables, or juice

Dinner: Large salad (same as lunch) or a raw green soup

Days 2, 3, and 4
Breakfast: Smoothie of fruits or vegetables

Every two hours: A green or fruit juice or coconut water

Dinner: Raw green soup or green smoothie

Days 5, 6, and 7
Repeat day one.

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie made with berries for antioxidants

Mid-morning snack: 10oz glass of freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice

Lunch: Large salad with romaine lettuce, mixed greens, or spinach as a base and a dressing of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sea salt. May add sprouts, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and avocado

Between meal juice: Fruit or vegetable

Snacks: May consist of fresh fruits, raw vegetables, or juice

Dinner: Large salad (same as lunch) or a raw green soup

Day 8, 9, and 10
Repeat days two, three, and four (all liquids).

Breakfast: Smoothie of fruits or vegetables

Every two hours: a green or fruit juice or coconut water

Dinner: Raw green soup or green smoothie

Days 11, 12, 13, and 14
Repeat day one (liquids and solids).

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie made with berries for antioxidants

Mid-morning snack: 10oz glass of freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice

Lunch: Large salad with romaine lettuce, mixed greens, or spinach as a base and a dressing of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sea salt. May add sprouts, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and avocado

Between meal juice: Fruit or vegetable

Snacks: May consist of fresh fruits, raw vegetables, or juice

Dinner: Large salad (same as lunch) or a raw green soup

Helpful Hints
Every morning start the day with a glass of water with the juice of a whole lemon.

Piper advises 2-3 liters of water a day with ph of 7 or higher. The more neutral or alkaline the water, the more toxins are released from the body, she says.

Piper also recommends exercising three days a week.