For many people today, keeping in shape is a key concern but poor diet, stress, smoking and drinking can all take their toll not least on a part of the body that is widely recognised as being vital to maintaining good health. That organ is the bowel.
For all too many of us, its a case of out of sight out of mind. Add to that the embarrassment many feel when discussing this particular body part and you begin to understand why it can go wrong. In fact, it goes wrong for quite a lot of us. For most that probably means a little discomfort, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome. For approximately 35,000 people each year the effects can be rather more serious, in the form of bowel cancer.
So, what can we do to encourage bowel health? Good diet and plenty of fibre are generally regarded as important in keeping things moving. Avoiding the accumulation of waste matter in the bowel is helpful and this, in turn, can contribute to wellbeing and, indeed, just feeling good.
An increasingly popular therapy is colonic hydrotherapy. This involves circulating purified warm water at very low pressure through the colon. The process stimulates the colon to expel faecal matter and tones the colon.
Whilst the therapy has helped many people, it should be stated at once that it is not a treatment for more serious bowel conditions, neither is there specific evidence to suggest it can directly prevent them.
However, colonic hydrotherapy is thought to encourage general bowel health. The main reasons why people choose colon hydrotherapy are to address problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, or to assist in detoxing the body. Others are looking for help with conditions, like skin problems, which can sometimes benefit from the cleansing effect of hydrotherapy.
Explains Roger Groos, Chairman of the Association and Register of Colon Hydrotherapists, which sets professional standards and accredits teaching colleges: It is important to put the treatment in its proper context. It is best thought of as a complement to other actions which may be taken to encourage efficient bowel function. Indeed many of our members offer dietary advice alongside treatments. Hydrotherapy has been in use in the UK for well over 30 years. The best testimony to its effects is, perhaps, that each year thousands of people from many walks of life choose hydrotherapy and find they feel better as a result.
Colonic hydrotherapy should always be carried out by appropriately trained specialists. Only previously qualified therapists, medical doctors and nurses who have good knowledge of the body and how it works are accepted as ARCH members. The organisation is, in turn, a member of the General Naturopathic Council and participates in the regulation of therapy under government guidelines. Details of members can be found on the organisations website at www.colonic-association.orgor by phoning the UK information line on 08702 416567.