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 :)
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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