Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Probiotics, (meaning: for life) are common in health food stores, drug stores, grocery stores and even Wal-Mart in recent years.  But this was not always the case.  Two decades ago only health food stores carried them and an occasional grocery store in liquid form in the dairy section.  The average person had no idea what they were.  I remember many years ago explaining to my clients the value of taking probiotics while many of them displayed a confused face as to what in the world I was talking about.  You can imagine the faces I would get as I continued to explain that they were living microorganisms, good bacteria and that they should ingest these living things!  Nowadays most of my clients are familiar with probiotics.  This is no surprise in view of the extensive advertising that is common in magazines, newspapers, the Internet and on television.  With all of this advertising how is a consumer to know which one to choose?  This is especially an issue for probiotics since they need to be alive to be of benefit to the individual.  As a colon therapist it is most important that I direct my client to probiotics that are known for their stability and potency.  For the colon to function properly it needs a proper balance of approximately 80% beneficial (friendly) bacteria to 20% bad (unfriendly) bacteria.  The beneficial bacteria is a major component of our immune system since they fight against viruses, fungus, bad bacteria, parasites and carcinogens constantly and by doing so they accomplish 70% of our immune system fight in the healthy individual.  Sadly, antibiotics, steroidal drugs, a poor diet, constipation and even stress can destroy some of this much needed beneficial bacteria.  During the course of a colonic, some of this bad bacteria is removed from the body.  It is imperative that friendly bacteria, probiotics, are reintroduced into the body orally with the aim of adjusting the ratio of friendly to unfriendly bacteria closer to the 80%- 20% ratio of a healthy person.  
So there is the dilemma.  When I first started as a colon therapist I was na├»ve to the claims made by supplement companies and so I tended to believe that what was written on the bottle as to its contents was truly in the bottle.  My ignorance was blown to bits with a discovery that became deeper and deeper.  It turned everything I believed upside down.  And so I will now tell the story that has changed my viewpoint about a lot of things.

It started about 16 years ago with a client named Tom who showed me a flyer he had received from his health food store about probiotics that claimed to be far superior to other probiotics on the market.  It claimed that instead of centrifuging, (spinning at high speed) the bacteria from its growing medium, they used a method employing ultraviolet light so that the short chain fatty acids were not destroyed in the process.  It also claimed a unique oil matrix system to protect the viable bacteria from stomach acid for better delivery to the intestines.  Although I was happy with the probiotics I carried in my office I felt that I shouldn’t be closed-minded and so I did research on the matter.  I contacted the company that produced the probiotics and mentioned that I was a colon therapist.  They quickly sent me a book about probiotics.  I learned later that this same book was being given free at health food stores.  As I read the book I came across a disturbing paragraph.  The writer said that after extensive research on several probiotics on the market they found that all of the products except for one failed in their claims of potency.  I was especially shocked when the book mentioned the company I used and said that it didn’t refrigerate their product after manufacturing.  The book even said that the company didn’t have refrigeration units on site.  This information shocked me.  I knew that to keep probiotics viable they have to be refrigerated.  They can withstand a few days without refrigeration if the bottle is tightly closed and kept out of direct sunlight or heat.  After a few days out of refrigeration they start to lose their potency.  I had to call the company and ask about this.  I had to know the truth!  What came next changed my life and became my most career-altering moment as a colon therapist.

The company decided to arrange a three party call at some time in the near future with the famous scientist, Dr. Khem Shahani, the developer and manufacturer of their probiotics.  This was very exciting for me.  Dr. Shahani had written over 200 articles that were peer-reviewed and published about beneficial bacteria.  He also served as an expert panelist for the World Health Organization for 14 years.  Additionally he had received numerous awards worldwide for his work.  He is accredited for the discovery of the DDS-1 strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus. (Not to be confused with DDS).  Interestingly, the book that started me on this search even refers to Dr. Shahani as an expert in the scientific community.  In fact, about a third of the way through the book the writer states, “ The name Dr. Khem Shahani has by now cropped up a sufficient number of times for you to realize his enormous research contribution to our knowledge of the friendly bacteria.”  Yet this very same book denounced the probiotic I carried which was produced under his 
For more information about Dr. Shahani please go to the link below.

In this upcoming conversation I would be allowed to ask Dr. Shahani ANY questions that I wanted!  I had ten days to figure out the questions.  I wanted every one to count.  I wrote them all down in anticipation.  The obvious initial questions would be about the probiotics I was using and the claims made by the book I had read.  He was the actual producer of the probiotics I used as well as the producer of many other privately labeled probiotics for other companies, each having their own unique blend.

Our first conversation lasted 45 minutes long with the company I was doing business with on the phone line as well.  Dr. Shahani was a well-mannered gentleman.  He would kindly answer my questions one by one.  When I mentioned the book, he said that he had received a copy from the writer since she had been one of his students, but he had not had the time to read it since he was working on finishing one of his own books.  When I read the paragraph that was so disturbing to me from the book, he was clearly taken aback.  He told me that when the writer was his student she often essayed the very product that I carried in his lab before she graduated as a scientist.  Dr. Shahani was disturbed that she would write in this publication information that she knew personally was not so.  To add to this, she owned the very company that produced the probiotics that she said in her book was the only one that tested accurately, yet she never discloses this in her book.  How deceitful!

Dr. Shahani decided to have independent scientists from several companies essay her probiotics.  The results were very poor.  In fact, one scientist from Switzerland said that it tested like a potato chip.  This I learned on a subsequent discussion over the phone.  I also learned that the statement made on the brochure I had received claiming that centrifuging the bacteria from its growing medium caused the short chain fatty acids to be destroyed, was not supported by any scientific data.  Additionally, when the writer was confronted at a scientific convention about the data to support her claims about using ultraviolet light instead of centrifuging, she would not produce any data to her peers for a peer-reviewed study.

Over the course of several years I had many interesting conversations with Dr. Shahani.  I would always have a pen and paper ready to write down any new gems I would learn.  Dr. Shahani had given me his home and office numbers on that first call so that I could freely call him with questions.  I spoke to his courteous wife on several occasions and we would exchange family information with each other.  He traveled extensively all over the world giving lectures at scientific conventions and would occasionally call me from an airport somewhere in the world just to chat a bit when he had some extra time.  He told me from the start that he enjoyed my thirst for knowledge.  I felt especially privileged when he came for a visit to meet me since he had flown into an airport an hour away.  I learned so much in those years.

Approximately one year after our initial conversation, Dr. Shahani called me with some unsettling information.  I was to keep it confidential, so I have not disclosed any of the companies I mentioned above.  He told me that the company that distributed his probiotics to me, the one that had put me in contact with him in the beginning, had not paid a large sum of money that they owed to him and for the last 6 months had been filling their bottles with probiotics from a company in Canada instead of using his proven DDS-1 strain.  Despite this, their label read the same, that it was Dr. Shahani’s product.  This explained a quandary I had been having.  One of my clients used my probiotics for her 16-year-old son for his acne.  The acne had disappeared for a year but in recent months his acne had returned despite faithfully taking the probiotics as before.  Additionally, I was not having the same success with my clients, especially those with pronounced colon problems, as I had before, but I had not understood why.  Now I learned that the probiotics I was using in my office for the last 6 months was not at all the same product I was using for many years prior and what was labeled on the bottle was not at all in the bottle!  Not long after I learned this information, the company from Canada that produced the probiotics went bankrupt and the initial company that distributed them to me was bought out and went under a different name.  Such greed and dishonesty!  But now who could I trust, what would I do since I was so dependant on my clients having quality probiotics?  Everyway I turned there was no integrity but greed instead.

Dr. Shahani knew my concern and so he surprised me with the privilege to carry my own privately labeled probiotics, which I named Quintestinal.  I would be by far the smallest company that he did business with.  We worked together in developing a unique product, one that would greatly benefit my typical client.  He put together the appropriate quantities of each of the five strains of microorganisms for the formulation.  Since then I have no worries about the probiotics I carry in my office for the health of my clients.  Additionally many doctors, chiropractors and osteopaths, naturopaths and other therapists sell my probiotics in their offices.  I feel so honored that Dr. Shahani has provided this option for me and since his death, his son, Michael, has carried on his wishes.

I learned so much from Dr. Shahani, a true wealth of knowledge that would benefit my work for years to come.  He explained the many different strains of bacteria and how each benefits the body in its own unique way.  He taught me that the word, acidophilus, means acid loving and so a high potency product could survive stomach acid and remain intact as it enters the small and large intestines.  Many companies direct their consumers to take their probiotics on an empty stomach with the concept that less acid in the stomach allows for better survival into the intestines.  Dr. Shahani explained that just thinking about food creates more acid in the stomach and that in actuality all living things need food, warmth and water to survive.  Since probiotics are living microorganisms they do best when taken with food to make them stronger.  Although some may not survive the stomach acid, if a person took high potency probiotics, the strongest strains in the product would survive and do very well in the body and would have strength to proliferate.  In those years the average probiotics product on the market had strengths in the millions, now many claim strengths in the high billions.  Dr. Shahani’s probiotics have always measured in the billions.  His was also one of the few that contained multiple strains of bacteria.  At that time most companies claimed that having several bacteria in the product would cause them to compete against one another.  Dr. Shahani explained that the bacteria are different from one another just as people are different from one another yet in most situations people have learned to live peacefully together.  The same is true with the multiple bacteria.  We have thousands of friendly bacteria in our bodies, and although at times there may be a little war, for the most part they live harmoniously with one another just as people do.  Interestingly, today it is rare to find a singular bacteria probiotics on the market.  Some even have extraordinary lists of different bacteria.  With such a list one has to wonder as to how much of each could really be in the bottle to be of any benefit.

Dr. Shahani also explained that the live activity of the microorganisms would burn themselves out over time and so to keep the probiotics alive, refrigeration was necessary to put them in ‘suspended animation.’  He always had an interesting way of explaining things.  With the many products on the market came claims of ridiculously high potency and many claimed no need to refrigerate their probiotics.  Dr. Shahani told me in one of our latter conversations that all of the laboratory studies he had done along with his colleagues showed that probiotics do lose their potency over time and become dead and therefore useless.  So why are non-refrigerated products becoming more and more popular?  We return to what I learned in the early years with Dr. Shahani, greed.  The consumer typically trusts that what a company says is in the bottle is truly in the bottle.  I learned that is not always the case.  Refrigeration costs money, not just the units but also the electricity to run them.  Think of the refrigeration needed by a company for its probiotics before they are shipped to the different suppliers.  That spells big bucks.  Now think of the refrigeration needed by professionals and health food stores, etc.  Again, more bucks.  This is why you will never see refrigerated probiotics at Wal-Mart.  When I am shipped my probiotics from Nebraska Cultures they are sent over night.  This too is very costly.  I as the provider pay the freight.  I am charged only what Nebraska Cultures is charged, no extra fee for their handling.  One of my larger shipments was in the summer and was sent Fed-Ex Priority Over Night, the quickest shipping process.  That shipment cost me $945!  Yep, you read right, and that doesn’t include my refrigeration units or the electricity to run them.  So I have reason to have confidence in the quality of the probiotics, Quintestinal, the one my clients take.  The results I get with them prove this as well.  

A well-known supplement company, Kyolic, recently had a full-page ad in a magazine called Natural Solutions.  Let me quote what it says as to why they don’t use refrigeration for their probiotics,  “If you’re getting your probiotics (like acidophilus) from the refrigerated section, you might want to reconsider.  Moisture’s the main enemy of probiotics, not heat.  When probiotics are refrigerated, condensation develops, killing these beneficial bacteria.  Keeping what’s inside the bottle dry helps keep the probiotics alive.”  Yes, moisture will destroy beneficial bacteria but this company believes consumers are idiots.  When was the last time you opened a bottle or jar in the fridge and found droplets of water in it?  If the lid is on properly it doesn’t happen.  This statement is ridiculous!  I carry my probiotics Quintestinal in powder form as well as capsules.  In all of the years I have carried it I have NEVER opened a bottle and found any condensation in it.  In fact I could take a bottle of powder Quintestinal and pour it out like fine sand without a single lump if I wanted to.  The real issue is that this company doesn’t want the expense of refrigeration for their product and by this statement they will also lure their suppliers to carry it without the need for them to have to pay for refrigeration.  Clever, huh?  This is another example of a company making claims that have truth to them but putting a twist on it to fool the public into purchasing their product. 

A client told me yesterday that she received an ad by e-mail from a well-known multi-level marketing company, Shaklee, about the probiotics that they carry.  It claims that its non-refrigerated probiotics is the ONLY one that has live bacteria in it.  Here is another ridiculous claim.  Seriously, have they tested ALL of the probiotics available?  There are many good probiotics products out there.  The consumer needs to be aware of such outrageous claims.

In the July 2005 Consumer Reports magazine, a non-biased magazine that allows no advertising, there was an article about probiotics.  This is one of the conclusions they made after their extensive testing process.  “At testing time, 4 of the 14 pill products had no more than half of their claimed number of probiotics, on average. For example, Origin Acidophilus, sold at Target, claimed to have more than 100 million CFUs per serving when produced, but our sample had 20 million. Three of the four liquid supplements listed bacterial count but fell far short of those numbers when we tested.”

So what does a consumer do?  I have found that the most expensive products are the most advertised and usually don’t have the bacteria count they claim according to independent laboratories.  Guess who pays for all of that advertising?  So my advice is to go to your trusted professional or local health food store.  Look in the refrigerated probiotics section and most often you are safe with a mid-range price product.  Make sure it measures the bacteria in CFU’s, not mgs.  It is also best if it identifies the strain of L. acidophilus, usually the most prominent bacteria in probiotics, because it is responsible for producing many more other forms of bacteria once it implants in your intestines.

What about yogurt probiotics such as Activia?  Good quality yogurts such as Mountain High and Stony Field Farms as well as numerous Greek yogurts like Faga, my personal favorite, have valuable cultures of beneficial bacteria.  The advertising campaign of Dannon’s Activia has been very successful but it has also caused a lawsuit that began in 2008.  In part this is what it was about, “The lawsuit against Dannon says that even their own studies failed to prove that Activia has health benefits superior to other brands of yogurt. Yet, Dannon has stated these yogurts were proven “clinically” and “scientifically” to have health benefits. In the lawsuit, it is mentioned that Dannon charges about 30% more for the Activia and DanActive yogurt lines than other yogurts.”  So there you have it, more false misrepresentation.  Additionally, Activia has refined sugar in it. This feeds unfriendly bacteria and any candida (a yeast form) in the intestines.  This would be counter-productive to its purpose of raising the beneficial bacteria in the intestines to attain a higher ratio of good verses bad bacteria.

Taking a daily probiotics supplement has benefits that extend far beyond helping our digestive tract.  I remember a physician's report on CNN a few years ago at the beginning of flu season.  Instead of recommending the typical vitamin C, garlic or Echinacea he stated that probiotics are a person's best defense. The physician  continued by saying what I have been telling my clients for decades, that 70% of our immune system function comes from the friendly bacteria lining our gut wall.  Taking probiotics will increase this fight making one better protected for the flu season.  Kudos to CNN!

UPDATE OCT. 15, 2018:
As years have passed since the writing of this blog science has made many  advancements.  This is very true of probiotics as well.  With our decades of experience we have had the ability to ascertain which products work and which do not.  To guarantee that our clients get the best possible probiotic available we have carried our own private label for 25 years.  With advances in science we have also made advances in the probiotics we offer.  As the consumer you can be assured that Quintessential guarantees genetically identified strains with clinical research that back benefits to our health.  Also guaranteed is the potency per dose through the date of expiration based on proper storage.  Quintessential has been certified by NSF and given the GMP seal.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two 20 Year Olds Plus 20 Pounds

Let me share my experience of two 20 year olds, one male, and one female.  I met them a year apart.  Although they don’t know each other there are interesting similarities. 
When I first met Gwen she struck me as someone with great potential but was held down by a thick cloud.  She was 20 years old with her life ahead of her but she was dealing with several troubling issues that could hold her back. She had a rash over much of her body that was irritating and embarrassing.  She suffered from terrible fatigue although she was determined to continue college.  After three dermatologists and no answers she was told by a chiropractor that she should see a colon therapist.  The skin is the largest elimination organ of the body and so it tends to be one of the first that shows problems when the inside of the body is not right. For Gwen this was very true since she had a significant problem with constipation for many years.  The colon is the major elimination organ, which is quite obvious if you give some thought as to what should be eliminated from it daily.  
After my consult with Gwen and her mother she got ready in my colonic room.  I have a scale in the room for a client’s personal use and come to find out later she weighed herself before the colonic.  The colonic was incredible actually.  It was hard to imagine where all of the waste had been hiding in her slim, tall figure.  After we finished and she used the bathroom, she went back into the colonic room to dress.  She came out in shock.  She had weighed herself again and exclaimed, “Mom, I just lost 10 pounds!”
When Gwen returned for the second colonic her rash was no longer raised and the color had faded to a lighter pink.  She had a hopeful look on her face.  Between the two colonics she had a scheduled appointment at a new dermatologist.  This doctor took a skin graft of her rash but the results were not yet known.  We proceeded with the colonic and she lost another 3 pounds!  When I saw her for her third colonic, her rash had totally disappeared and her bowels were moving daily.  She clearly had renewed energy.  She was very pleased with her results, this despite the fact that she had finally been given a diagnosis by the new dermatologist.  She had sub acute cutaneous lupus with a precursor to systemic lupus.  This was especially dear to my heart since I too was diagnosed with lupus 25 years prior and had also dealt with constipation for most of my young life.  It was colon therapy that changed my life after I had tried numerous conventional and alternative methods.  It was clear that Gwen was not going to let this diagnosis define who she was and so she continued optimistic about her future.  I was very proud of her.  After her third colonic she lost 2 more pounds of waste and by the fourth colonic her bowels were moving after each meal, as a healthy person’s should. 
About 10 months after Gwen’s initial appointment with me she had a slight rash return on her nose.  One colonic and it was gone!  It has been three years since Gwen’s first colonic and I typically see her about once a year.  She continues to look the picture of health.  She recently graduated from nursing school with honors and has passed her exam for being a registered nurse.  Congrats Gwen!  You deserve it!  
I met Dustin a year after Gwen.  He too was 20 years old.  At first glance one would he think he was very healthy.  Dustin is a handsome, well built young man from years of working out.  But looks can be deceiving.  What is inside of a body tells a bigger picture and this was definitely true of Dustin. Two months prior to meeting him his parents had rushed him to urgent care due to extreme abdominal pain.  After an x-ray was taken the doctor told them that he was completely impacted with waste through out his entire colon!  The doctor gave him a prescription for a strong laxative and told him to also buy several Fleet enemas.  His aunt is a client of mine and so when she heard about the situation she recommended me.  The family decided to stick with the doctor’s recommendations.  One month later they called me.  Dustin had no results other than two small bowel movements in that entire month.  Due to my schedule I was unable to see him for another month.  When I finally met Dustin it had been two months since he was in the urgent care unit and was told he was totally full of waste and yet he had had only 4 small bowel movements!  Our work was cut out for us!  Dustin had other problems too.  He had chronic headaches and terrible insomnia yet he felt exhausted all of the time.  His diet leaved a lot to be desired as well.  He loved white refined bread and sugar and would chug energy drinks regularly as a way of getting some energy.  What he didn’t know was that these energy drinks were a great contributor to his constipation.  I explained that they are strong stimulants.  Laxatives are stimulants also.  If a person were to take a laxative regularly their colons would become lazier and lazier.  When he drank one of these energy drinks it would be as though he took a handful of laxatives.  He needed to drink water instead and lots of it.  He needed to be re-hydrated.  The energy drinks were actually dehydrating him.  I also needed to teach Dustin to strengthen his colon with a workout the same as he had done with the outside of his body.  The colon is a muscle too, and the way we give it a workout is with what we eat.  To do this he needed to avoid all refined foods, i.e. white stuff, and eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables instead.
Dustin’s first colonic showed that the waste in him was very hard and compacted from his severe constipation.  There was a need for much softening by water with the colonics to remove all of the waste, so he would need to have another colonic within a day or two to continue the work we had started.  I saw him the next day.  It was this day that he had decided to weigh himself before and after the colonic.  Like Gwen, he came out of the room afterwards and exclaimed, “I just lost 10 pounds!”  He also said he felt a lot of relief. 
After Dustin’s third colonic he lost 3 more pounds of waste, again just like Gwen. I still am amazed that both of these slim people tucked all of that waste in their bodies.  One could never of known this by looking at them.  Within three weeks Dustin’s insomnia was gone and his energy was much better.  His bloating was totally gone as well.  Gas causes bloating.  Bloating is caused by putrefied, fermented waste, sort of like a chemistry lab brewing in the gut.  No wonder Dustin ended up in an urgent care unit!  Two weeks later he told me his energy was “great.”  Now I love to hear that!

Like Gwen, Dustin had a great drive to succeed in his studies in college but his body was trying to hold him back.  He mustered the strength to continue despite this but his situation had come to a grave point.  I feel very privileged to have been a part of both of these special young people’s lives, aiding them to reach their goals.  Dustin is now a graduate of the police academy after finishing his schooling in criminal science.  I am so proud of you Dustin.  (Please don’t pull me over if I am speeding, you owe me one.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Should I Have a Colonoscopy?

This is a question I am asked frequently.  A colonoscopy can prove beneficial but it has potential serious risks.  Each person should weigh for themselves the benefits verses the risks.  Sometimes peace of mind can be a big factor in choosing to have a colonoscopy.  
During the course of a colonoscopy a gastroenterologist views the colon with an inserted endoscope that has a viewing end for the doctor to be able to see the inside of the colon.  The doctor is able to take pictures during the procedure.  If there are polyps in the colon typically they are removed and are sent off to biopsy.  The colonoscopy than becomes more than a diagnostic tool but actually has the ability to remove a possible future problem.  There are two types of polyps, adenomos and hyperplastic.  Adenomos polyps have the potential to turn into cancer which would take many years whereas hyperplastic polyps do not.  
The possible risks associated with a colonoscopy include perforation of the intestinal wall.  This is when the endoscope punctures the wall with a hole.  Depending on the size of the hole, the person’s life can be in serious jeopardy.  The risk of perforation is between 5 to 7 in 1,000 colonoscopies.  I know personally several people that this has happened to, so it is not a procedure to take lightly.  Other risks include severe dehydration from the prep required before a colonoscopy, inflammation of the bowels and even bowel obstruction.
I have been asked many times about the pictures taken during a colonoscopy.  They usually look as though the colon is very clean.  Are those preps that good?  What’s the real story?  Well, the endoscope also has the ability to use water to flush stool out as well as to clean the wall of an area of the colon so that the doctor can get a better look and also take a picture.  This is why the pictures appear to show a clean colon.  Years ago, before I knew about this water device, I have to say, I too was quite puzzled.  You see, many of my clients have come to me the day before their scheduled colonoscopy, usually later in the afternoon, and I will give them a thorough colonic making sure I address all of the colon to their cecum.  They usually take just a small portion of the prep in the evening for the colonoscopy in the event that there may be waste in their small intestine that needs to move down and out before the procedure the next day.  Their evening is uneventful and their sleep is uninterrupted.  They do not have the repeated trips to the bathroom with diarrhea, so common with taking the whole prep and not having a colonic.  Sometimes they choose to tell their doctors but often they do not.  The interesting thing is that time and again the doctors have told these people after their colonoscopy that their colons were the cleanest colon that they have seen in a long time.  One gastroenterologist even asked one of my clients if she had ever had a colonic.  After she said yes, he said that he could tell because her colon looked so healthy but he added that he wasn’t supposed to say positive things about colonics.  It is interesting to note however that Mayo Clinic’s website suggests a colonic prior to a colonoscopy. The following is a video from a news broadcast in which two G.I. doctors are supporting the benefit of having a colonic prior to a colonoscopy. It is very informative. 

So how clean is the colon after a person takes those preps?  Well, I have found the real answer from two of my clients that are nurses who have assisted gastroenterologists during colonoscopies.  Both of them have told me that the colon is still full of considerable amounts of waste and that the cecum, the last section of the colon from the perspective of the rectum, is totally full of stool in most people!  This is not good since it prevents a good view of this area.  Recently I had an experience that shows the value of having a totally clean colon for a colonoscopy.  A man of 73 years named Joe came to me the day before a colonoscopy for a colonic.  His wife is a strong believer in colon therapy.  The man had seen me once several years ago when he was very constipated after having a hip replacement surgery.  Joe was thrilled with the results then so he felt it was a good idea to see me before the colonoscopy.  As I was working on him and massaging his abdomen I noticed an irregularity on the right side of his colon near the cecum.  After having done as many colonics as I have, my hands have a mind of their own allowing me to notice things that don’t appear right.  I asked Joe if he was tender in that area when I exerted a little pressure.  He said yes.  The next day his wife called me and told me that all had gone very well except that the doctor was concerned about an area of the colon just above the cecum and had taken a biopsy.  Several days later the results came back positive for cancer. Joe had to have surgery to remove that section of the colon.  Gratefully his prognosis is excellent.
If a person decides to have a colonoscopy I strongly suggest that they get a copy of the report.  It is amazing how often a patient is not told all of the information or even misinformation.  Earlier this year a 49 year old man named Cliff came to me for abdominal pain after he saw numerous doctors and had many tests including a colonoscopy.  His medical expenses exceeded $26,000 yet he received no answers as to what was wrong with him.  As I sat down with him going over his history he was extremely frustrated and overwhelmed.  He had with him the results of his tests although he had never looked at them himself.  He said that the GI doctor that did the colonoscopy told him that his colon looked like that of a young person.  Upon seeing the report of the colonoscopy I was amazed to see that it stated that Cliff’s colon had diverticulosis and a predominant amount of unhealthy bacteria lining his colon wall.  This is NOT a healthy colon.  Far from it!  Why wasn’t Cliff told this?  I know from experience that people are typically told that their colon is ‘all clear’ after their colonoscopy.  The doctor doesn’t mean clear of waste as many people think.  That is not the reason for the colonoscopy.  The doctor means clear of polyps, diverticulosis, tumors, and colitis.  Yet Cliff’s doctor told him incorrectly that his colon looked like a that of a young person.  If Cliff was told the truth many unnecessary tests and doctor visits could have been avoided.  I am happy to report that I was able to help Cliff regain his health and alleviate his pain.  Rebalancing the bacterial lining of the colon is the expected result of colon therapy along with taking refrigerated probiotics.  Diverticulosis is helped also by cleaning the colon of debris and teaching the client the importance of eating a fiber rich diet to strengthen the colon muscle.  This will help prevent more pockets in the colon, in other words diverticulosis, as well as aid in closing up the ones already present.
So the decision is up to you.  Should you have a colonoscopy?  I hope this blog gives you a well rounded synopsis of the pros and cons for doing so.  Thank you for reading.

A Lesson in Colonics

One week I saw two people in my office that had each been to colon therapists that use different methods. They had each experienced my method in the past and had later experienced the closed high-pressure method with the Hydro San machine.  They both felt strongly that they preferred the first method, Dr. Wood’s closed gravitational system.  So what are the other methods?  The vast majority of my clients are unaware that there are three different methods of colonics.  So, I feel it is time that I explain how each varies from one another. 
My method, Dr. Wood’s closed gravitational system, is the originator of colon therapy in the world.  Dr. Wood began colon therapy in the early 1900’s.  In time it was common for his system to be found in doctor offices and hospitals throughout the U.S.  It wasn’t until the pharmaceutical industry became so popular in the 1950’s that people began turning to what appeared to be quick fixes for their bowels.  Although there were people that continued to do colon therapy in the U.S., predominately chiropractors, there was a definite decline in the amount of colonics done.
In recent decades, people have become more aware of the need to get to the root cause of a problem instead of covering it with a drug.  (I need to add that although I am an alternative health care provider, I am not opposed to conventional medicine or all pharmaceuticals.  There are needs for both alternative and conventional medicine.) 
In the 23 years I have been a colon therapist I have seen a steady increase in the recognition of the benefits of colon therapy.  People are also taking more responsibility for their health and the Internet has aided them, usually for the good, in their endeavors.  Additionally, colon therapy is well recognized as part of common medical practice in Europe and other countries.  In fact, to be a registered nurse in Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, a nurse has to also learn how to administer a colonic.  
So now that we have established the beginning let’s talk about the 3 major methods.  The originator, Dr. Woods closed gravitational method, uses gravity flow water.  This allows for a pressure free colonic.  The colon is not a pipe (like a plumber works with), but it is a two and a half inch round tube, typically 5 feet long, with many nerves.  So keeping these nerves from being overly excited allows for a more productive colonic and more normal peristalsis.  Peristalsis is the contractions that move waste through the colon.  When beginning the colonic a disinfected and sterilized stainless steel speculum is inserted about 2 inches into the rectum.  (Doctors, surgeons and dentists use disinfected, sterilized instruments most often, not disposable ones).  On the outside of this speculum is attached a flexible exit hose and on the side of the speculum is a narrow water hose for clean gravity fed water.  Water moves continuously through the speculum during the colonic but it only enters the colon when the therapist closes the exit hose with her thumb and forefinger.  This is why the exit hose is flexible.  The flexibility of the hose also allows for the therapist to feel the pressure from the colon so she is able to carefully monitor how much water and when to add water for the comfort of the client.  Using this type of exit hose also allows the therapist to be able to palpitate the hose allowing for gas in the form of bubbles to easily leave the rectum.  In this way any gas present in the rectum is not pushed up with the water into the colon but leaves the body before adding more water.  Additionally, this hose allows for a closed system colonic, which means waste and gas leave the body through the speculum into the hose and down into the attached sewer system.  This makes for a discrete mess-free colonic.  A typical colonic lasts 40 minutes, but it could take longer or even less time depending on the productivity of the colonic.  Massage of the abdomen is an integral part of a successful colonic.  I have found that massage similar to the motion of gently kneading dough works best and is most comfortable for the client.  It should always be done in the same direction that the colon eliminates waste, up on the right side, across the middle of the body by the navel and down the left side of the body.
Another method has several manufacturers including the Dotolo and the Hydro San as mentioned above.  They are also closed systems but instead of gravity, the machine uses pressure, typically three times that of gravity.  Additionally, the speculums used are disposable and plastic.  My clients mentioned above felt that the pressure was too much for their colon and so their colonics were quite uncomfortable.  They also felt that they didn’t get the elimination of waste during the colonic as they did with Dr. Wood’s gravity method.  This is likely because the higher pressure tends to make the colon have stronger peristalsis, which in some persons can cause the colon to constrict causing the diameter of the colon to become smaller and the ability for the release of waste difficult.  Those with IBS and colitis would usually be more uncomfortable with this method since their colon’s spasm easily from pressure.  Additionally the plastic speculum is quite long and can be uncomfortable.  
The last method is an open gravity system that also has several manufacturers such as the Angel of Light and the Libbe.  The client lies on a fiberglass table that is in a half reclined position with their buttocks over a large hole.  The client inserts a plastic tube into their rectum.  They usually control the gravity fed water themselves with the water valves at their side. The waste leaves their body around this tube in their rectum instead of through speculums as in the other two methods.  If a person has constipated waste or a lot of gas this can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing since they typically need to push the hard waste and gas while the tube remains in their rectum.  There is no pushing necessary with the other methods.  Several of my clients have tried this method but told me that they were very embarrassed when the tube shot out of them making quite a mess.  They were also uncertain about how to gauge how much water to put in their colons.  They did not feel that much was accomplished during the process. Years ago the therapist typically was not in the room during the colonic but in recent years the manufacturer has strongly suggested that the therapist is present.  
In all methods of colonics the expertise and personality of the therapist can make a world of difference.  This being the case, I instruct my clients that move from the area, to feel a comfort level with the therapist on the phone first and then to ask to visit their facility for just a few minutes so that they can use their eyes to evaluate proper cleanliness.  At that time they should ask to see how the therapist manifests a sterile environment.  Many people feel that disposable speculums and hoses address this issue but that is far from the truth.  One of the clients I mentioned at the start of this blog told me that I was the fourth colon therapist she had been to and that I was definitely the cleanest.  I practice proper disinfection and sterilization as is common in the medical community.  My office also shows constant attention to cleanliness.  In addition, some feel that using plastic disposable speculums and hoses puts more strain on our ecology since these are considered hazardous waste materials and cannot be recycled. 
I hope this helps my readers to have a clearer understanding of the differences and similarities of the three methods of colonics.  Thank you so much for reading.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Autopsy tells the Real Story

Over the years my clients have come from many walks of life.  It certainly has kept my job interesting.  Quite of few are from law enforcement, including a DEA officer, FBI agent, assistant district attorney, and numerous police officers including several police detectives.  Learning interesting aspects of their careers have widened my knowledge of many things that I would have otherwise never have known.  One special insight came with the opportunity to observe an autopsy.  All of the years I have cared for people have made me curious about how the human body looked from the inside out.  
When there is a suspicious death, a police detective needs to be present for the autopsy to document the facts as they are found.  One of my clients was sharing with me an interesting case that she was involved with as I exclaimed how incredible it would be to observe an autopsy.  And so one day my odd wish became a reality after I received a phone call from this client telling me that I could be an observer of an autopsy of a 31-year-old man.
The man had suffered from asthma, which during the course of the autopsy proved to be the cause of his death with the discovery of mucous plugs blocking his airway passages.  He also used illicit drugs.  Such drugs slow the bowels significantly and so it was no surprise to see a colon full of large balls of hardened feces.  Typically the colon, or large bowel, is two and a half inches in diameter and the small bowel is only one inch in diameter.  With this man it was difficult to distinguish the two organs, since even the small bowel was greatly enlarged with hardened feces.  His stomach contents also revealed that his diet of French-fries and hamburgers added to his slow bowel transit time and resulting constipation.
It should be of no surprise that I also enjoy medical shows on television including Dr. G. Medical Examiner.  The following is one such show of an autopsy of a 32-year-old man.  Although there is no graphic filming of the autopsy, beware, it is a little overwhelming. But education can be a powerful tool and this video says a lot. 
Due to size, I couldn’t download the video directly to this page, so please follow the link.
You will be glad you did. It is 7 min. 45 sec. long.
Dr. G found that Donald’s bowel was thin.  The bowel, or colon, is a muscle and needs to get a workout.  By eating fiber rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains we strengthen our colon wall by giving it the needed workout.  Donald’s diet clearly was extremely low in fiber making his colon weak, so weak that feces piled up more and more, at an alarming amount.  It is interesting to note that the colon doesn’t typically explode from enormous amounts of impacted feces.  It just gets larger and larger, just like a person that gains weight doesn’t explode but gets larger as well.  
Donald’s final cause of death was an e-coli infection that overwhelmed his immune system.  Did you notice how the e-coli got into his bloodstream?  The colon is designed to allow valuable nutrients and electrolytes to be absorbed through the colon wall into the bloodstream while the waste products stay in the colon to be removed into the toilet.  This is similar to a screen on a window that allows fresh air in but keeps the bugs out.  Yet, if the screen has holes in it, the bugs come in.  The more holes, the more bugs.  The colon’s ecology is extremely vital for good health to allow for the good to be absorbed and the bad to be removed.  In Donald’s case, his colon’s ecology was greatly altered causing copious amounts of e-coli to leave the bowel entering his bloodstream and ultimately killing him.  How very sad.  With a little education as to the importance of caring for this important organ and not taking it for granted, Donald may still be alive today.
I hope this shocking tale will help you to not take the health of your colon for granted.
I am happy to help you along the way.  Thank you so much for reading.

What Shall I Be When I Grow Up?

How often do you suppose a little girl is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and the response is that she wants to be a colon therapist?  I doubt very often and when I was a little girl that certainly wasn’t my reply.  I wanted to be an architect.  The high school I attended in Chicago was a magnet school called Lane Tech.  Until 1971 only boys attended.  After a protest, 200 girls were allowed into the prestigious technical school.  I was one of the 200 girls allowed into the school in 1972.  That meant that there were 400 girls and 5200 boys.  It was perfect for my goal of working in architecture.  I continued on to college.  In those years I did architectural drafting for remodels, new construction, electrical and eventually before marriage, I was engrossed with a career in civil engineering.
It wasn’t until I became very ill during and than after my second pregnancy that my subsequent course of finding relief led me to colon therapy.  After awhile I went to the Wood Hygienic Institute in 1989 to became a colon therapist.  As I have said in previous blogs, being a colon therapist has been extremely rewarding, much more so than a career in architecture would have been.
But this title, “colon therapist” did not get the rave reviews, in fact for the first decade or so, when people asked what I did for a living I would respond that I was simply a therapist in hopes that that would suffice.  If a person continued with, “what kind of a therapist?” I would say, “I help people with disorders of the digestive tract.”  If that didn’t satisfy them I would finally tell them that I was a colon therapist.  The response was typical, a scrunched up nose and an incredulous reply, “you do colonics?”  It was uncomfortable.  But there was an event that helped changed all of that so that now I proudly respond after the first question, “I am a colon therapist!”
I was often the ‘butt’ of many jokes by a few relatives and some acquaintances that they hung around with that I knew as well.  They would often sit around making puns about my work and it would get back to me.  It wasn’t the type of puns that my clients will make, ones I enjoy, such as ‘do I ever get a little behind in my work?’  You have to have a sense of humor with the type of work I do.   But the things said by these other individuals would hurt me at times.
As coincidence would have it, one of the men, Andy, of this group, got married and his wife, Becky, had serious problems with bloating, abdominal pain and constipation.  Her cousin and aunt from nearly 2 hours away had been coming to me for relief of headaches for the cousin and similar problems as Becky for the aunt.  They were very pleased with their results and had told Becky about it.  Becky lived just minutes away from me.  She told her husband that she wanted to see me.  Andy wasn’t happy but after several conversations told Becky okay as long as she didn’t tell him anything about it.  Well after the first colonic, Andy wanted to know everything.  This is actually very typical of relatives of my clients that at first say they don’t want to know anything.  
Becky got excellent results with the colonics and was very pleased.  About 6 months later I was at a large gathering that Andy was at.  When he saw me he asked if he could speak to me privately.  He than told me that he promises his mouth will never make another derogatory statement about what I do for a living.  He added that he was very sorry for all of the years that he was a part of such comments and had now felt a great deal of respect for me.  He concluded by saying that he was so grateful to me and that I will never know how very much I have changed his life and Becky’s for the better.  Wow!  I was completely stunned but also very grateful.  Andy will never know how much his words have changed me as well.  Thank you Andy, I appreciate your honesty.
(names have been changed)