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Home: History of colon hydrotherapy

Colon lavage was first recorded in 1500 B.C in the ancient Egyptian medical document “Ebers Papyrus”.

These enemas were described as the infusion of aqueous substances into the large intestine. Hypocrites (4th and 5th century B.C.) recorded using enemas for fever therapy. The Greek physician Galen (2nd century A.D.), one of the most skilled physicians of his time, was a proponent of the use of enemas. Pare in 1600 A.D., offered the first distinction between colon hydrotherapy and the popular enema therapy of that age.

There are numerous reports of the frequent use of the enema by the Egypians, with all of them referencing a papyrus of the 14th century B.C that is stored in the Royal Museum of Berlin.

Descriptions of various methods of preparing enemas are found in the Ebers Papyrus, of the 14th century B.C. The document was obtained in 1873 by Georg Ebers, and dates from XVIIIth Dynasty (about 1500 B.C.)

Colon Hydrotherapy, or the enema is also mentioned in the writings of the Sumerians, Chinese, Hindus, Greeks and Romans.

The 17th century became known as the “age of the enema” or the “age of the clysters.” It was the fashion in Parisian society to enjoy as many as three or four enemas a day, the popular belief being that an internal washing or “lavement” was essential to well-being.

By the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, with the advent of rubber, the enema or clyster slowly gave way to colon hydrotherapy equipment which improved the cleansing of the colon.

The therapy was rejuvenated in the United States by Dr. Kellogg. In addition to proper nutrition, he was a huge proponent of the enema in treatment of many diseases.

In a 1917 edition of the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) Dr. John Kellogg M.D. reported that in over 40,000 gastrointestinal disease cases, he had used surgery in only twenty cases. That works out to be 1 in 2,000. The rest were helped as a result of cleansing the bowels, diet and exercise

Colon hydrotherapy gained the attention of such physicians as James A. Wiltsie, M.D. , Joseph E.G. Waddington, M.D. and Dr. John H. Kellogg, M.D.

Dr. Joseph E.G. Waddington stated; “Abnormal functioning of the intestinal canal is the precursor of much ill health, especially of chronic disease condition. Restoration of physiologic intestinal elimination is often the first, but too often ignored, important preliminary to eventual restoration of the health in general”.

Dr. James A. Wiltsie contends that “our knowledge of the normal and abnormal physiology of the colon, and of its pathology and management, has not kept pace with that of many organs and systems of the body. As long as we continue to assume that the colon will care of itself, just that long will we remain in complete ignorance of perhaps the most important source of ill health in the whole body.”

The popularity of colon therapy reached its apex in the 1920's, 30's and 40's. At that time, colon irrigation machines were commonly seen, and regularly used as a standard practice, in hospitals and Doctor's offices.

In the last 10 years there has been a heightened awareness and resurgence of this much valued modality and in alternative medicine and personal health care responsibility. Once again people are discovering the many health benefits of maintaining a strong and biologically sound colon. Today with modern sophisticated technological advancements in colon hydrotherapy instrumentation, particularly with regard to safety, along with educated and skilled therapist, colon hydrotherapy has become a valuable adjunct modality. It is hoped that the movement towards personal health responsibility, using alternative health therapies to restore and maintain superior health will be joined by traditional health care practitioners.

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