If you’re someone like me, you’ve done a number of stupid things in your past. Let’s get real—for me that number is still growing. I measure my levels of stupidity on a scale of one to ten, with one being the least dumb. A 10 would be something like doing a coffee enema and winding up in the Emergency Room. Yes, you read that right. But I pride myself on learning from my mistakes and teaching what I know to others. So consider this column preventive care, if you will.
As a fitness expert, I’m very open to all ideas on how to achieve ultimate health, and even before I got into the industry, I was always a seeker of new ideas and alternative therapies. I’m sure you’ve heard all about enemas and colonics. Very simply, they are controversial procedures in which a tube is inserted into the rectum and warm, filtered water is slowly released. The intention is to flush the colon, and rid the body of fecal build-up and potentially deadly toxins believed to be a major cause of health problems. A colonic is the “super size” order of an enema, cleansing the entire colon, whereas the enema only cleanses the lower part. An enema can be administered by yourself at home, whereas a colonic must be done by a professional. Sexy, right?
Up until my very early twenties, I had suffered from stubborn acne and chronic stomach upsets diagnosed by every doctor as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a fancy umbrella term for “Hmmm, you have stomach problems. Good luck with that.”
After years of staring at my spotted acne-ridden face in the mirror, after years of being doubled over with stomach pain, and after all the conventional cures didn’t work, I became desperate. It seemed at that point, only the most “out there” ideas would help me. So about 10 years ago, before I started studying fitness and health, when a friend told me about coffee enemas, my ears perked up like a squirrel who had heard a falling nut. Apparently a coffee enema was the Big Kahuna of detoxification. Was this the answer and solution I had been waiting for my whole life?
Remember that stupidity scale I was telling you about? Well, a 10 would be the moment I decided this was the best idea. A 10 would be the moment I bought the coffee from Starbucks. A 10 would be the moment I poured that brewed coffee into an enema bag. A 10 would be the moment I ate a nice big raw vegetable salad after. A 10 would be the moment my digestive tract and colon went into shock, and I fell to the floor in pain. A 10 would be the look on the doctors’ and nurses’ faces crowding around me like I was a 10th grade science project. A 10 would be the look on my mother’s face as she questioned her decision to help me with college tuition.
Now, typically I wouldn’t share with you my worst of the worst. But recently I saw Kourtney Kardashian promote oil enemas on Kourtney & Kim Take New York like it was her new fragrance (Eau de Enema, anyone?) and I felt the urge to purge.
I’m not judging. I am aware there are people who swear by enemas and colonics. My experience was a long time ago, and I am also aware I did everything wrong from the beginning. But after two days in the hospital, my stupid cup had runneth over and I—in good faith, experience, and conscience—cannot, will not, now recommend coffee enemas or any colonic or enema that doesn’t just use warm, filtered water.
Admittedly, I have had fresh water colonics since then. But this time around I was much smarter, did my research to find the best place for me, and had the best professionals in my company. I, personally, have noticed an improvement in my overall well being. But let’s also be clear that I work out regularly, drink lots of water, stay within a healthy weight range, and have a very clean diet. All these components are necessary.
The medical profession is divided about regularly administered colonics and enemas. Many doctors claim that these procedures, especially colonics, can have serious adverse effects and can hurt the body’s natural ability to excavate on its own. They claim it can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, nausea, vomiting, and cause perforations and damage to the walls of the colon. If you have any medical problems, such as Crohns or Diverticulitis, you may run the risk of further injury.
But even with all this being said, I do have many friends who regularly partake in fresh water colonics and enemas, rave about their results, and are in great health. All in all, you should never do something without consulting a trusted medical professional. It is a personal choice that may work for some and not for others. But never do something without fully knowing what you are getting yourself into.
Lastly, I love coffee in the morning and I also love oil for cooking, I really do. But let’s allow those to go in one way and out the other and leave it at that. Sound good?
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness