Q: I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between a retention enema and a regular enema?
~Lookin' to Cleanse Out
A: A retention enema means a liquid that is held in the large intestine. Usually, 1-4 cups of liquid is held between 15-30 minutes. The purpose of a retention enema is to:
1- reinoculate the intestines or
2-add nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals (especially useful for those with malnutrition) or
3- help with parasites and candida
To reinoculate the intestines, a cup of probiotic liquid is used. This could be 1 cup of non-dairy or dairy kefir or even some watery yogurt. You could also use 1-2 capsules of probiotics added to a cup of warm water. This retention enema is best held for 30 minutes. If no bowel movement follows, that's fine, as the purpose is for the probiotic liquid to be absorbed by the intestines.
To help with malnutrition, 1 cup of a mineral-rich infusion is used. Nourishing infusions include Nettle, Oatstraw, Linden, Red Clover and Horsetail (there are other herbs that can be used as well). To make an infusion: place 1 ounce of dried herb in a mason jar. Add boiling water to the top, place on lid and screw cap and let sit 4 hours to overnight. Strain and gently warm to finger hot (see further directions below). Mint and Chamomile are two other gentle herbs that can be used to help with gas, bloating and spasms. Because they contain volatile oils, you want to make a standard tea and let the herbs sit 5-10 minutes at most. Let cool to body temperature before using.
To help with parasitic and candida activity, you want to use either 3 opened capsules of anti-parasitic herbs to 4 cups of warm water OR use 4 cups of anti-parasitic decoction or infusion. Common herbs used for such purposes are: Wormwood & Mugwort (infusion; 1 oz. herb to 4 cups boiling water in a mason jar, let sit 4-8 hours then strain and use) and Black Walnut hulls & Pau d'Arco (decoction). To make a decoction: place 2-3 TBsp of herb in a pot with 4 cups water in a glass or ceramic pot (stainless steel would be OK too). Let come to a boil, then simmer on low, covered, 20-30 minutes. Let cool and strain. Add in 2 cups of water and use (to make 4 cups total). Regardless if you are using the infusion or decoction, use 4 cups of the "tea" and hold for 15 minutes before having a bowel movement.
In comparison to retention enemas, a regular enema is used to help cleanse the intestines and move the bowels, such as for constipation or fecal impaction. Enema bottles sold in the store are a salt solution that you can easily do at home. More liquid is used in a regular enema and held for less time compared to a retention enema: 4-8 cups of liquid is used and is held briefly for 5-10 minutes. Popular enema recipes used to cleanse the bowels are:
When it comes to a coffee enema, this type of enema can be viewed as a cross between a retention and regular enema. 4 cups of coffee are held in the intestines for the duration of 12-15 minutes. Unlike retention enemas or regular enemas, the purpose of the coffee enema is to stimulate the release of bile in the liver and to increase the production of glutathione, which is an important liver enzyme needed for detoxification. The coffee enema is used extensively by the Gerson Institute in cases of cancer, candida and other degenerative diseases 1-5 times a day.
To make a coffee enema, 1-3 TBsp of light to medium ground coffee (you can grind the beans prior to making the enema) in 4 cups of water is brought to a boil, then covered and simmered for 15 minutes. Let cool then strain out the coffee grounds. Add additional water to make 4 cups of liquid, then use. If cramping occurs or the coffee "stays" in the intestines, do a retention enema of 4 cups of Mint or Chamomile tea and hold for 5-10 minutes prior to doing the coffee enema.
For all enemas: the water should be tepid/lukewarm/finger hot. Cold liquid can cause cramping in the intestines and it obviously makes sense not to use hot liquid. Place the liquid in an enema bag or enema bucket. Air may be trapped in the tube, so allow a tiny bit of liquid to pour out into the sink with the air, then close the nozzle. Lube the nozzle (coconut oil works fine) and lie on your right side. You might want to place a pile of towels on the floor and bring a book along while you are waiting. Hang the bag onto a sturdy object (or place the bucket onto a sturdy object), insert the nozzle and open the valve on the hose. Allow the liquid to pour in gently, closing the nozzle if you feel cramps and then reopening the nozzle once the cramps have passed. Once all the liquid has passed into you, close the valve and wait it out. You might want to use a clock or timer while you wait. You can also massage your intestines with your left hand while you wait, however if the movement causes cramps or makes holding it more difficult, then just lie still. Meditation at this time could be another option while waiting.
Once the time is up, you can evacuate the liquid (if it is a retention enema, there may be no need). Don't force it out, just let it run out naturally. Massaging the intestines is good to help the liquid come out: follow the path of the intestines by going down the small intestines on the left side of the body close to the navel all the way done to the pubic bone, then above the pubic bone to the right side and up the ascending colon, along the horizontal transverse colon above the belly button and down the descending colon. Essentially, you are making a large spiral by following the anatomy of the intestines, as if you were following the course of food from the small intestine to the large intestine and out the body.
One final note: enema bags are commonly made of rubber and sold at drugstores, however there are higher quality ones made of silicone available (such as on Amazon). Large enema buckets made of stainless steel are also available online and make cleaning them easy. Indeed, one of the most important things when doing an enema is cleanliness. You want to make sure the pot or mason jar you is clean and the enema bag is clean. A good rule of thumb is to clean out the bag and hose with the hottest soapy water you can stand, rinse well, then add in the liquid and use right away. Always make sure you clean the bag and hose before using.
I hope this information has been most helpful. To your cleansing success,
P.S. If you are in Malaysia or are visiting the area, you can have colon hydrotherapy using a coffee enema :)
Many foods can be healthy, but sometimes you have to watch just how much you are putting into your mouth. Here are 5 foods that will leave you flushed out if you don't watch out.
1. Vitamin C. Due to its antioxidant property, Vitamin C in high doses is helpful when you have a cold or the flu. It's also recommended for those with chronic diseases, such as those with cancer. In high doses, however, Vitamin C will flush you out. Sometimes called the Tolerance Test or Titrating to Bowel Tolerance, take 1/2 tsp of ascorbic acid powder in a glass of water every 15 minutes. When you get the runs, you know you've gone too far. Lessen the dosage by 25% <- this is your ideal dosage to take. Do understand that the healthier you are, the less Vitamin C you need (that also means you may be someone who doesn't have a bowel movement in 24 hours using the tolerance test, in which case Go HERE to READ MORE). If you get the runs within 24 hours of ingesting 10-15 grams of Vitamin C or less (that's 2-3 tsp of ascorbic acid powder) you are healthy and in great shape!
2. Melons. Melon-me-so good, but have you ever overindulged on watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe? If you have and it sent you running to the bathroom, know why: melons are diuretic! So while a good piece is satisfyingly thirst-quenching on a hot summer's day, too much will have the opposite effect. <-Note that diarrhea can displace your electrolyte count, so try this DIY Electrolyte Recipe:
Mix together and drink on up. Can increase the amount of juice to 3/4-1 cup. Enjoy!
3. Raisins, Dates, Figs, Prunes and Dried Apricots. While these tasty num-nums are super sweet when dried, it is easy to overindulge on them if eating them just by themselves. Not only will all that sugar send your blood glucose spiking high, but the high fiber content will see things moving along. A good idea: eat them with nuts and seeds such as in a trail mix to tamp down on the amount of sugar you are ingesting.
4. Maltitol and other Sugar Alcohols like Xylitol, Erythitol and Glycerol/Glycerin. If you've ever reached for a package of sugar-free candy or chocolate and eaten the whole thing, Warning, Warning! There is usually a label on the package that states that the substance ending in "-ol" (e.g. maltitol) may cause a laxative effect. And for good reason, because sugar alcohols are not properly absorbed by the digestive tract and can cause bloating, gas and yep, diarrhea. Glycerin (which is also called glycerol) is a substance commonly added as a humectant to many foods, so if you find yourself running for the loo and aren't sure why, check the package label to see if glycerin is an ingredient. While not exactly "healthy," these treats are OK for those with diabetes and others watching their sugar intake. Moderation is the key word!
5. Green Juices & Green Smoothies. The new craze at juice bars and in many places is to add greens to your fave protein shake or fruit frappe. Yet if you are someone who hasn't gotten on board with the whole green health kick, then your intestines may find you suffering at the bathroom door. All this to say that greens ARE really healthy for you, being low glyceminc and low in calories, however you might need to build up your tolerance if you and greens have just started to get acquainted. So while your friend might be adding half if not the whole head of kale into a smoothie, go easy and start with a leaf or two. In a similar vein, note that other green goodies can find you running to the loo, such as wheatgrass shots and liquid chlorophyll (they work on detoxing your body) and aloe vera juice or gel (a known mild laxative).
Got things that have this kind of effect on you? Comment below so others can beware! Sharing is caring ;)
Q: Can you offer me some food and herbal advice for constipation?
A: Sure! For starters, do note that both in Chinese medicine and Western medicine, constipation is defined as having NO bowel movement in 3 days time. Most health practitioners recommend having at least 1 bowel movement per day.
Also note that there are 2 types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is not soluble in water and the body doesn't digest it. It serves as a "broom" to remove waste from the body. Most fruits and veggies contain insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is soluble in water and has a gelatinous quality to it. Soluble fiber helps to softens stools. Good examples are chia seed, flax seed and psyllium husk.
There are 2 types of patterns seen in TCM related to constipation: hot/excess and cold/deficient.
The 1st is more of a pattern seen in men, however it is still very common in both sexes. Constipation arrives because there is not enough fiber and water in the diet. Typically this is a pattern due to overeating on processed/junk food, on high amonts of fatty food such as meat and dairy, and on overconsumption of sugary foods such as pastry and candy. The recommendation is to clean up the diet with fiber-rich and high water content foods (e.g. veggies). Herbs are useful in moving the bowels and should be paired with demulcent herbs to avoid gripping/stabbing pains. Probiotics are useful in repopulating the gut flora, while enemas/colonics can be viable, temporary solutions to remove old, hard waste.
The 2nd is a pattern seen more in women, in which constipation is due to a lack of bodily fluids. In this pattern, the diet is generally OK but the interfering pattern tends to be hormonal (e.g. adrenal, thyroid or menopausal issues) and is called a yin deficiency pattern in TCM. TCM uses a gentle method of "building up the yin" (or regulating the hormones in Western medicine speak) with foods and herbs. Note that building yin takes time to build.
Exercise is an excellent "treatment" for both types :)
is a Health Practitioner with a Background in Chinese Medicine. Get in Some of her Savvy Adivce When She Answers Your Health Question.
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