Some things are best left uncleansed

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A study from the Georgetown School of Medicine confirms what most of us already know: so-called colon cleansing is not only worthless, but can be dangerous as well. Also called colonic hydrotherapy, the procedure consists of inserting a tube into the rectum and flushing the large intestine with volumes of water that may or may not be mixed with various chemicals, including laxatives.

Dr. Ranit Mishori, lead author of the Journal of Family Practice article, noted, There can be serious consequences for those who engage in colon cleansing, whether they have the procedure done at a spa or perform it at home. Side effects can include vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, and kidney failure.

What many don t realize is that the human body already has an effective detoxification and elimination system the liver, kidneys, and intestines. adds ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava.

Countering Dr. Mishori s claim that colon hygienists have no medical training and often just a high school diploma, Dick Hoenninger, a spokesman for the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy (and who wouldn t want to attend that annual convention?) says, Colon hydrotherapy, when performed by a trained therapist using FDA registered equipment and disposable speculums or rectal nozzles, is safe.

But does Hoenninger claim that it works? Not exactly. He says therapists are trained in proper use of the equipment and are told not to make any statements that cannot be verified in peer-reviewed literature. ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom translates: In other words, this guy is saying, Don t claim it s the least bit helpful because it isn t. But do it anyhow. Dr. Bloom adds, This is great. Anyone with a sign in front and a garden hose in an office can start a business, provided they first tell the victim that what he s doing is useless.