Well, I guess I'm going to have to out myself and formally announce that I am a practicing I-ACT certified colon hydrotherapist at one of the oldest colon hydrotherapy practices in the SF Bay Area (Been doing this for three years, and I've completed thousands of procedures).
I'm often amazed at the tremendous amount of misinformation there is about colon hydrotherapy (both against and for it) and how easily that misinformation is passed around with little to back it up. Colon hydrotherapy isn't heavily regulated, or licensed in most states, so there are a lot of different approaches and theories about how to practice. What one therapist does doesn't mean that's what all of them do. All the information I'm going to share relates directly to the way I (and the other therapist at my work) practice. In no way does it represent ALL colonic practitioners.
I'll also note that I have a background in biological research and I'm would LOVE for there to be some actual scientific studies on colon hydrotherapy...but none of significance have been funded yet. I'm always mystified by this "evidence" that is supposedly out there. I'd love to know of any studies that I can reference.
So, here's my professional perspective:
1. Regarding Crohn's & IBS : Inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's and IBS are contraindicated for colon hydrotherapy. I follow the guidelines posted by I-ACT (the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy) and if a client comes in with Crohn's or IBS inflammation we will not offer them services. We might suggest supplementation w/ certain probiotics (there are different strains for different parts of the digestive tract), or supplements that stimulate regeneration of the delicate lining of the small & large intestine. A responsible colon hydrotherapist wouldn't use colon hydrotherapy for someone with active Crohn's or IBS in the first place. Stating that "There is sufficient evidence to show that frequent colon hydrotherapy is ineffective for treating inflammatory conditions such as crohn's or IBS" is actually a moot point.
2. Regarding "Herbal Infusions" : Colon hydrotherapy is best done w/ warm water that's run through 4 filters and past an ultraviolent light then directly into the client W/OUT any infusions. Herbal infusions can be done at home w/ an enema bag if the client choses. I personally don't condone putting any herbs up there at all, however a probiotic infusion done at home w/ an enema bag is suggested in some cases. We don't use additives, only warm machine filtered water. This maintains the integrity of our filtration system and it assures higher sanitation levels if you aren't throwing a bunch of random herbal stuff in there. Also, you never know how an individual will react to various herbs. Keep it simple: water only.
3. Regarding Frequency : I do no recommend colonics multiple times/week unless the client is extremely backed up or they are following a specific detoxification program guided by a therapist or qualified health practitioner. Programs that include multiple sessions in a week should ALWAYS include probiotic supplementation. The debate about whether colonics wash away internal flora is still going strong and there haven't been any studies about that. My personal feeling is that if it only took water to flush out bacteria (and bacteria is notoriously tenacious), we wouldn't need antibiotics 'cause water would do the trick! That being said, my practice always provides probiotic supplements to clients and encourages them to take them at home after their session. Acidosis has never been an issue, because we have specific dietary requirements before & after the session to support the body's pH.
The goal is to support the body w/ colonic treatments towards getting it to running smoothly on it's own. That's a key point that a lot of people miss: the body cleanses on it's own. Colon hydrotherapy should be understood as a complement to the natural cleansing processes of the body. We do put a lot of crap into our system with the Standard American Diet (SAD). The body is bound to get a bit bogged down. But it doesn't take much to kick-start that back up again. I suggest seasonal cleansing (2-4x per year) or monthly maintenance when needed. The concept of "flushing the colon more than once a week" sounds like a complete over-kill to me too unless it's during a seasonal cleansing program. I would definitely question anyone telling me to do that much too!!
5. Regarding "Evidence" : The worst part about the misunderstandings around colon hydrotherapy (and I'll take a moment here to add that there are MANY unscrupulous colonic practitioners who spread tons of misinformation about the therapeutic benefits of colon hydrotherapy and definitely bring down the integrity of this profession)...the worst part is that there is very little scientific research conducted in this field. I have no idea where the "evidence" supposedly comes from that colon hydrotherapy is bad for you. Admittedly, there isn't any scientific evidence of it's health benefits either. All benefits reported are completely anecdotal.
I will say that I've seen some INCREDIBLE digestive changes from this work. It's NOT a quick way to lose weight, though you might lose a couple pounds of waste (however, if you follow our nutritional/lifestyle coaching, start eating better and exercising, you'll probably lose weight that way..) You're NOT going to see a marble you ate when you were 3 years old that has been trapped in there for decades.
We suggest things like: stay away from psyllium husk for constipation cause it robs the body of water, eat natural fibers instead like greens & veggies & oatmeal. Get away from caffeine, alcohol, processed/fried/fatty foods. Decrease stress, drink lots of water & fluids, exercises a bit, take care of yourself. It's not rocket science, nor some amazing health cure-all. I've seem some wonderful changes in my own body doing this work, and I hope someday we really do get some "evidence" (any evidence) to prove something...until then, it's really just a matter of what you want to believe, and how your body feels doing it...
I can honestly say, I feel amazing using colon hydrotherapy and good nutrition practices to maintain my health! I haven't been sick in over 4 years. (I don't get flu shots either and I'm around sick people all the time). So I feel like I must be doing something right!
I hope I was able to provide some informative insights into my practice of colon hydrotherapy. My intent was to provide an insider's perspective, and not to create any fights on here. I fully recognize that this therapy is extremely controversial, and I hope this information is well received.
All the best,