Ask a Practitioner: So what’s a colon hydrotherapist?

Ask a Practitioner: So what’s a colon hydrotherapist?

So what made you say to yourself, I want to be a colon hydrotherapist?

I developed ulcerative colitis, and it was through a colon hydrotherapist that I learned how to heal myself naturally. After my experience, I was very interested in studying it so I could make it more available.

Who gets this treatment?

I work with professional athletes and trainers, people who are really looking at optimizing their health. I work with people who are looking at losing weight, people who are severely constipated, people who have diarrhea—anybody with an imbalance in their internal ecosystem. It’s also a great preparation for colonoscopy.

But for the most part I see people who just want general cleansing, to improve their health.

Walk us through a procedure.

During the session, they actually lower themselves onto a sterile, one-time-use tube. They’re able to get that into place in private, and then cover themselves. Then I come in and give them an abdominal evaluation, and instruct them how to start the water flow.

Water goes into the colon and loosens and softens some of the contents of the bowel, and you release the excessive water and whatever waste your body is ready to let go. The whole session lasts around 45 minutes or up to an hour depending on the client.

When they’re ready to transition, they lift up and off of the tube, give themselves a rinse-down with a built-in bidet, dry themselves off, and get dressed.

So it’s not actually—how should I say this—“hands on”?

There are systems, and I have one, where the therapist might assist the client in getting the tube in place. It’s a common instrument for a new therapist to start with. But as soon as I could afford one I bought what I consider the Cadillac of colonics—the tube is a little smaller, they can easily get it in place in private, and they don’t have to expose their private parts.

How do you help people get comfortable?

During the process, I offer them pure essential oils to breathe for relaxation. I do a little work on their feet, stimulating reflex points. I work the meridians on their calves, and I can do some abdominal simulation.

Sometimes people are more comfortable if you just step aside and come in to check on them every few minutes. There’s an intercom system in all of my treatment rooms, so they can access me. They also have the ability to turn the water off at any point.

What’s a typical reaction to the procedure?

The most reported feeling is feeling great, or feeling lighter. I have a 98.6 percent return rate, with over 2,000 clients. Very rarely do people decide not to come back.

Do you get any unusual requests?

It’s actually common that a doctor will refer a patient to have beneficial bacteria additives. Occasionally people will ask for coffee enemas, or a wheat-grass juice implant.

What do you like most about your job?

Just watching my clients achieve their health goals, and empowering people with knowledge about how they can naturally maintain or regain health is the most rewarding thing I can ever imagine doing. I love it.

Tara Alder is certified by the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapists; she is an internal cleansing specialist and health educator at Alder Brooke Healing Arts in Eugene, Oregon, with 13 years of experience. She may be reached online at

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