This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
As part of the digestive tract, the colon aids in digestion and the elimination of waste products. When the colon is packed with accumulated, hardened feces due to a poor diet, constipation, or some other gastrointestinal problem, waste can build up. According to proponents of colon therapy, this buildup can result in stagnation and decay of the fecal material in the colon. This decay, in turn, produces a whole host of bacteria and other "toxins" that can be absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in myriad illnesses--from a simple cold to life-threatening coronary artery disease. Colon therapists suggest that the typical American diet, which is low in fiber and high in red meat and other fatty foods, is a major contributor to this problem.
Contemporary mainstream physicians typically take a different view, pointing out that food and waste products cannot "toxify" the body by remaining in the colon. In addition, they disapprove of colon therapy because they say it can interfere with the natural balance of helpful bacteria that keep the intestines functioning normally. Most conventional doctors do agree, however, that avoiding red meat and other fatty foods, and eating a healthy, high-fiber diet, is the best way to keep the colon healthy.