The colon, or large intestine/bowel, is an important organ situated at the end of the digestive tract in the abdominal cavity. It is divided into several regions: the appendix (thought to be a vestigial structure, but with rich lymphatic supply), the ascending, the transverse, the descending and the sigmoid colon and the rectum. The anus acts as a valve under voluntary control.
Its functions are to re-absorb digestive juices, water-soluble salts and bile back into the bloodstream and thence to the liver, to store and dessicate food and other bodily wastes prior to elimination, and to house a vast array of beneficial bacteria,. The latter help our immunity to infection, keep high blood cholesterol levels in check, produce a number of vitamins, and probably also act in preventing of colon cancer.
The form of the colon is variable: most diagrams show an idealised bowel, whereas the length is variable (between about 3 to 11 feet), and the path it follows can be tortuous, with many loops. For some unfortunate people, where constipation runs in their family, it is likely that they have inherited long bowels making transit time long and slow – just where colon hydrotherapy can help!
The bowel structure is made from smooth muscle which is different to ordinary body muscle inasmuch as it is under autonomic (or automatic) nerve regulation over which we have no conscious control. When working normally, it is expected that the bowel will partially empty (during defecation) at least once every 24 hours. If long or slow, the transit time is increased and constipation occurs, or if fast and disordered, muscle spasm may result which is a feature of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, strangely also accompanied by constipation together with bloating, irregular defecation and incomplete evacuation.
The colon is the main part of the eliminative system of the body, where wastes are excreted from the alimentary tract, the lymphatic system and the bloodstream. It is important to keep bowel function regular to prevent the other eliminative organs becoming overworked, and to avoid the effect of toxins building up in the body.
The contraindications of colon hydrotherapy include diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease (in the acute inflammatory stages), severe haemorrhoids, or a tumour in the rectum or large intestine.