Colonics, also known as colonic irrigation or colon hydrotherapy, are used to flush out large portions of the bowel system. Colonics are controversial when used for continuous bowel cleanses because of the risks associated with them.
Colonics are different from enemas. While enemas can be done at home and are a one-time infusion, colonics involve multiple infusions and must be done by hydrotherapists with specialized equipment. When a patient is given a colonic, a tube is inserted into the rectum and warm water—up to 16 gallons—is pumped into the body. The procedure takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and the full cleanse continues with increased bowel movements within the first few hours after the colonic.