Open Vs. Closed-System Colonics: What's The Difference?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a colonic, also known as "colon cleansing" or "colon irrigation," is an alternative medicine practice that is believed to help detoxify the body. Proponents of the procedure suggest that, by aiding the removal of waste from the colon, it can help boost energy as well as enhance the function of the immune system. Mainstream doctors, however, are less enthused about the practice, noting that it can potentially be dangerous. Colonics have been associated with problems such as dehydration, rectal tears, infection, and electrolyte imbalances.

When a colonic is performed, a tube is inserted rectally. A small amount of water may be directed into the colon and allowed to sit for a time before being removed. Or, other times, a large amount of water — sometimes including herbs or coffee — is flushed through the colon.

There are two types of colonics that may be performed: open and closed-system. The difference between them lies in whether the water is gravity fed or under pressure.

How open and closed-system colonics are performed

European Rejuvenation Center explains that for an open colonic, you will lie on a form-fitting table with a basin. Once the tube has been placed in your rectum, water will flow from a tank via the force of gravity. The water will be filtered to prevent any rust, chlorine, or sediments present in the water from entering your colon. You will empty your bowels as you feel the need to and water will flow in and out of your colon throughout the colonic.

Spring Wellness writes that a closed-system colonic is quite different. In this type of colonic, a therapist will insert a speculum in your rectum and attach it to a disposable hose. Pressurized water is then pumped into your colon via the hose. When the colon is full and maximum pressure has been attained, the therapist drains the water back out of the colon. This process requires constant monitoring in order to maintain water pressure and temperature and avoid leakage of waste or harm to the recipient.

Why might open colonics be safer?

Brunswick Holistic Health notes that open colonics may have an advantage over closed-system colonics in that they are safer. With the water being gravity fed, it does not create the degree of pressure that a closed-system colonic does. Also, you will not fall prey to any errors in the therapist's judgment. With an open colonic, you will naturally push out when you feel full.

They also state that the open method is safer because you are inserting the tube yourself. You will be better able to feel the correct angle and can stop anytime you feel discomfort. This will help to prevent damage to your colon.

Finally, the tube used is small, flexible, and soft, in contrast to the speculum used in a closed-system colonic, which is larger and inserted further into the rectum.

Brunswick Holistic Health further adds that many people prefer open colonics because they can be done in a private setting rather than having a therapist in the room.