Gut feeling: The science bit - Part two

What follows is an interview with Anna-Lise Miller, one of Scotland’s leading colon therapists and trainers (visit and for more information). Jane Ross the nurse and owner of Nevo Health who I interviewed here: list website address and who took me through a colonic hydrotherapy procedure ( recommended I speak to Anna-Lise who she considers a great mentor of hers. So I asked her about all things colonic and these were her answers.

Hi Anna-Lise, for the layman could you describe the different types of colonic irrigation

Hi, Colonic Irrigation broadly refers to bowel wash using water and occasionally herbs or other substances. It can be self-administered as with an enema (a small amount of water is introduced into the bowel and the content is released on the toilet) or a colema (a larger amount of water is used whilst lying on a specially designed board which allows the person to recline over the toilet bowl and release the water and bowel content as needed). Both those methods can easily done at home. There are also types of machines referred as open circuit (ie Libby machine or Angel of Water both available on the internet) where the user reclines into a purpose built seat and again releases his or her sphincter as and when needed whilst the water passes through. In this case an operator will show the user how to use the machine and then leave the room.

When referred to as Colonic Hydrotherapy, Colonic Irrigation will be done via a close circuit and with the help of a therapist. This means that the device that is introduced connects a small tube for the water to come into the bowel and a larger one for the waste to be carried out and will connect directly into the main sewage system. This system allows the therapist to be present to facilitate and greatly improve the results by giving extensive and specific abdominal massage as well as use different water application. The water can either come from a tank and be powered by gravity or from a machine and be powered by a low-pressure pump. The pressure of the water is within strict range and very low. The difference between the two systems is negligible and there are no real advantage of one over the other.’

You seem both passionate and highly knowledgeable about colonic treatment how do you deal with skeptics?

I am yet to meet a critic of colonic who has actually had a colonic and bothered finding out what is involved. I have treated medical doctors who were more than happy with the results. Colonic Hydrotherapy does take life style and diet into consideration and will include recommendations alongside the treatment to ensure lasting result and educate the client to look after their own health.

Has the recession affected CI bookings at your surgery?

Health and health maintenance is more important than money and possessions. Unfortunately a lot of us don't realise that until they have lost the choices that come with health and vitality. Most of my clients come to see me because their health is more important to them than perhaps spending money on alcohol or other more ephemeral items.

In your opinion is there a future for CI in Scotland?

Scotland's mortality as a result of poor diet and lifestyle is the greatest in Europe and average life span is almost on a par with developing country. This makes very grim statistics for a developed and supposedly educated nation. Over the counter laxatives are one of the best selling drugs along side antacids. I would say that Scotland is far behind the south in terms of health awareness and making health a life's priority and a personal responsibility. There is plenty of scope for Colonic Hydrotherapy to help individual raise their health awareness and become educated to the possibilities of personal responsibility towards their health. Colonic Hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to bring awareness of our bowels and digestion and to re-enforce the resolve to stick to a healthier diet.

Does the way you work differ in any way from that of Nevo Health?
Each Colonic Therapist will work in a slightly different way and bring to their work their own personal experience. When looking for a Colonic Therapist, it is important to look for a registered therapist who has demonstrated his/her commitment, safety and competency. For a list of registered therapist see The Institute of Professional Colon Therapy (IPCH)

What is the NHS' relationship to CI?

I have trained nurses who are using Colonic Hydrotherapy in hospitals but not within NHS. Unfortunately there are no sign of Colonic Hydrotherapy being available on NHS. I think this is because it takes too long to do and requires too much patient participation/homework. This is something which, unfortunately, does not often happen if the service is given for free.

The Scottish do not have a very good reputation for diet and by extension their own stomachs, do you think CI should be part of a larger program of a digestion awareness programme in Scotland?

Yes and as I said before if consulting a professionally registered Colon Hydrotherapist a colonic treatment will include in depth consultation and personalised dietary advice. Colonic Hydrotherapy will help not only with symptoms of constipation and diarrhoea but will also help with digestive symptoms such as bloating and heart burn.

How do you see colonics in Scotland developing in the future?

I would like Colonic Hydrotherapy to be better understood for what it really is rather than some mystic weird procedure. I would like the profession to encompass the need to administer colonic irrigation professionally and alongside dietary adjustment. I would like the general public to become more opened about their bowel and understand the need to be responsible about their health rather than believe that the doctor will fix it. To support the body's natural abilities to cleanse detoxify and regenerate is the most rewarding feeling and makes perfect sense.

Is it a career you would recommend getting into?

This is not a career for anybody. It does take a special kind of character. You need to be able to put people at ease and be into what you are recommending yourself to be a genuine colonic therapist. To train in Colonic Hydrotherapy you will also need to be either already trained in complementary medicine, such as a nutritionist or a massage/beauty therapist, or be medically trained, such as a nurse.

Visit for more information and see both addresses for two other List colonics articles here. Anna-Lise Miller practices at The Whole Works, Edinburgh 0131 2258092

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