Use the code FREETRIAL in the checkout to get a 7 day free trial on selected programs!
Margaret Floyd is a functional therapist, writer, and real food advocate. She's has been on the pursuit of the ideal, nutritious, and delicious way of eating for the better part of her adult life. Margaret is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), a Certified Restorative Wellness Specialist, a Certified GAPS Practitioner, a Certified Gluten Practitioner, and a Certified Healing Foods Specialist. She has a thriving private practice based out of Portland, Oregon through which she supports her clients to achieve true health and vitality through diet and lifestyle changes. Margaret believes firmly in the power of real, whole nutrient-dense foods and the body's ability to use them as foundational to all aspects of health and wellness. Margaret is the author of Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You and coauthor of its follow-up cookbook, The Naked Foods Cookbook. She teaches other practitioners the tools that brought her such great results with her clients at Restorative Wellness Solutions, advanced continuing education for nutiriton professionals. She currently blogs at www.eatnakednow.com.
Important disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information presented here is for your information only, not for the purposes of diagnosing, treating, or curing any ailment. It is your responsibility to seek appropriate medical advice from a qualified health care practitioner. I strongly advise you to consult a qualified health professional before embarking on any significant changes to your diet, lifestyle, or supplement regime. Please read my full disclaimer here.
There are places things go, and places things don’t go. Stick a tube up my butt and then release coffee into it? Um, no thanks. This would fall distinctly in the “places things don’t go” category.
Enemas have been used for hundreds of years for their detoxifying and colon-stimulating benefits. They’re a core component of many health protocols and there’s not much controversy about them. But coffee enemas? That’s a whole other ballgame.
As the story goes, a German nurse in WWI with scarce supplies and hundreds of soldiers in pain, intending to give her patient a water enema, accidentally filled the enema bag with coffee and didn’t realize her mistake until after the coffee was already in the patient. (I can’t even imagine what went through her mind at that moment.) Not only did the patient survive to tell the tale, but he noted a significant reduction in pain. Things that make you go hmmm…
Since then the coffee enema been adopted by many holistic health practitioners, perhaps most famously by the natural cancer treatment, The Gerson Therapy, Dr. Lawrence Wilson in his Nutritional Balancing programs, and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in the GAPS Protocol. In fact, up to 1984 coffee enemas were listed in the Merck Manual – the handbook used by physicians all over the world. But coffee enemas have also been the subject of a lot of debate – a quick Google search will yield as many who claim they’ll hurt you as heal you.
For years I’ve been hearing about coffee enemas, but the scary stories scared me. I have a history of digestive issues and the idea of anything possibly exacerbating that situation deterred me. And let’s face it: the idea of sticking coffee up my rear wasn’t all that appealing. It’s pretty easy to write it off as crazy.
And then client after client experienced great results with them (not – yet – on my recommendation); colleague after colleague shared both their personal and professional success stories with me. I finally gave in; I had to try it for myself.
First of all the energy! I felt incredible. It wasn’t that typical coffee buzz, this was different: invigorating, refreshing, a clean energy.
The next thing I noticed was how clear-headed I was. It was like a powerful wind swept through and whisked away the mental debris. Kind of like the feeling you get after a week on a good detox – except that this was after a process that took me all of 45 minutes!
I was concerned that it was going to make me constipated. I’ve had colonics before and while I loved the feeling immediately afterward, I was so cleaned out that I wouldn’t have another bowel movement for days, which felt wrong. With coffee enemas, I never had this experience. I’d have some great bonus clean out with the enema, and the next day go right back to my normal schedule. Perfect! Nothing disruptive here.
I also felt so much lighter afterward, and actually weighed myself before and after to see if I was, indeed, losing weight. Turns out I lost between 1.5 and 2 pounds with every enema I did. I know some of that was liquid, but there was a significant amount of old debris that came out as well. I certainly wasn’t doing it for this reason, but it was a nice bonus.
The biggest downside for me? It’s a bit of a logistical feat to make it happen – with a busy business and family life, setting aside the 45 minutes mid-morning to do this (my busiest time of day) is a challenge. I settled into it as a Sunday morning routine, but would happily do it more if I had the time. (I don’t do it in the evenings, which is when I have the most free time, because I find I get so much energy I can’t sleep).
So what on earth is going on with a coffee enema? Why do people love them so much and how do they work?
First, let’s make sure we understand some basics of detoxification. One of the most critical detox pathways is the liver-gallbladder-intestines. In a very over-simplified explanation, it goes like this:
With the enormous burden on our livers (we’ve never before subjected the human body to such an endless onslaught of toxins), they easily get overburdened. With the prevalence of poor-quality oils in our food, the bile is often sludgy and thick, leading to gallbladder issues, poor fat digestion, and compromised detoxification. And with the high incidence of digestive dysfunction, many people aren’t eliminating their waste the way they should. (If you have less than one bowel movement per day or if they are hard and dry, I’m talking to you).
The coffee enema works by stimulating all three of these organs
You might be thinking to yourself “Okay, this is all well and good, Margaret, but you put the coffee up your arse. Other than the intestinal flush, none of the rest of this makes sense. How does the coffee get from your colon to your liver?”
There is a system of veins connecting your colon and your liver called enterohepatic circulation. These portal veins carry nutrients from your intestines to the liver for further processing before they get circulated in the blood and distributed throughout the body. When coffee enters the colon, the caffeine is absorbed into this system and goes directly to the liver, where it stimulates the detoxification processes I explained above.
But why not just drink the coffee?
Another great question.
Coffee is actually an herb with healing properties. When you drink it, the coffee goes through the body’s digestive processes and gets broken down by stomach acids and enzymes, destroying much of its healing properties. When you insert coffee into the colon, it gets absorbed and shuttled to the liver in its purest form without being denatured by your digestion and thus you receive its full benefit.
Let’s look at the common ones:
Fear 1: It will wipe out gut flora. There is no evidence that coffee enemas negatively alter gut flora. In fact, when the colon is cleaned out of excess debris, it allows the beneficial bacteria to thrive.
Fear 2: Bacterial infectionfrom a dirty enema kit. This is one of those “common sense” items I mentioned. Clean your enema kit properly – I give you instructions on how to do that below – and you’ll be fine.
Fear 3: Burns from hot coffee. So… this one seems obvious to me but: let the coffee cool to room temperature before inserting it. It’s likewise a good idea to let cold coffee come to room temperature before inserting it so that you don’t shock your colon.
Fear 4: Disrupt electrolyte balance. The coffee does have diuretic properties so it’s important to rehydrate properly with water that contains electrolytes. The easiest way to do this is to add a pinch of unrefined sea salt to your drinking water. Done. You can also add some trace minerals to the coffee enema itself. Here’s a brand we use.
Fear 5: Dependence. This was a real fear of mine because I’ve found that with colonics I get stopped up after a few days. The opposite was true with coffee enemas – I found they got everything moving nicely and kept it that way over time. I’ve heard similar reports from clients and other practitioners. The only hint of dependence is that I feel so good afterward, they’re a bit addictive.
Fear 6: Rectal perforation. This is another common sense one: use lots and lots of lube, go slowly, and ONLY use the nozzle that comes with the enema kit. Do not substitute that nozzle with any DIY versions.
You’ve got all the gear and you’re ready to go. If you’re feeling a bit nervous or freaked out, that’s totally normal. I was, and most people I talk to feel really weirded out about this the first time they do it.
Before we dive into the step-by-step process, here are some considerations worth noting:
Take your usual bowel movement first. This allows for deeper cleaning. And if you’ve got a poop ready to go, your coffee isn’t going to get that far. That said, I’ve had clients who in times of extreme constipation have used this technique to get things moving – so don’t fret if you can’t go beforehand for this reason. If that’s the case, you might want to start off with a basic water enema to do an initial flush and get the most bang for your buck with the coffee enema.
Do your enema in the first half of the day. The process of the enema is deeply relaxing, but the result is amazingly energizing. I would recommend NOT doing this later in the day and definitely not before bed. The one time I did it in the evening I was up almost all night. I felt fabulous, but it didn’t make for a good night’s sleep.
Stay well hydrated. Caffeine is a diuretic no matter which end it entered your body. Make sure to drink lots of water with a pinch of sea salt for added electrolytes.
Okay… let’s do this! Here is the process:
Bring 1 quart filtered water (not just tap water) to a low boil with 1-3 Tablespoons organic dark coffee, fresh ground. I suggest you start slow and increase the amount of coffee you use over time as your body gets used to the process. Let the coffee come to a low boil for 12 minutes, then set out to cool. I usually pour it through a sieve and into a quart glass measuring cup at this point, and let it cool there. Make sure you can stick a finger in it comfortably – it might be a little warmer than room temperature, but NOT hot.
Rinse everything through with warm water. I like to flush a little hydrogen peroxide through as well if it’s been a while. Make sure to rinse well. Do this for all components: the bucket, the tube, the nozzle. You want it all to be clean, inside and out.
This step is a bonus, but I really like to do my coffee enemas in the bath. It’s warm and cozy, I relax more easily, and I’m not as paranoid about coffee spills. For the ultimate relaxation and release, I like to add some Epsom salts and a few drops of Release essential oil. If you don’t want to do it in the bath, I still highly recommend doing it in the bathroom. You can make a little bed of towels on the bathroom floor – just make sure it’s comfy. You’ll be here a while.
Pour half (2 cups) of the coffee into your enema bucket. Attach the hose firmly and attach the little nozzle to the end of the hose. There will be a little clamp somewhere on the hose to close off the flow. Make sure it’s sealed tight.
Put your enema bucket somewhere near or in your bath. I hang mine over the little stand that holds the hand shower. The key is that it’s close enough for the nozzle to reach you comfortably without stretching the hose, and that the bucket itself is positioned higher than you (so you get the benefit of gravity when it’s time for the coffee to make its grand entrance). Note: The higher the bucket, the faster the flow of coffee when you release the valve. You might want it closer to you when you first start out so you can have the coffee enter nice and slowly.
Release any air bubbles by slowly releasing the clamp on the tube – just until a little coffee dribbles out the end. We don’t want to put air up there!
Have some coconut oil within reach of the bath, and keep some towels nearby. Once you’ve got the enema in, you’re not going anywhere for a bit, so it’s nice to have that towel close by to dry your hands so you can use your phone, read your book, or do whatever you need to do without getting everything wet.
I like to get all of this set up, have my phone or an iPad close by cued up with my favorite mindless TV show (reruns of SVU, since you asked), and then get undressed and into the bath.
Okay, now’s the moment of truth. You’re naked in the bath. Your coffee enema is ready to go. Take a few deep breaths. I know it’s highly counter-intuitive to stick something up your rear, but this is exactly what it’s time to do.
First thing is to lube yourself up well – I smear a bunch of coconut oil all over my anus as well as the nozzle of the enema. Slowly insert the tip until it’s about 1-2 inches in. You want it deep enough that the coffee is released well inside you (no squirting out), but not so deep that it’s uncomfortable. You can do this on your knees, bent over, you can do this lying on your back, or you can do this lying on your left side, and then rolling over to the right side once all the coffee is in. Do whatever feels the easiest for you. I wouldn’t say it feels awesome, but it’s not as painful as uncomfortable as it sounds. If it hurts, that’s a sign you’re doing it wrong. Mostly it’s just weird to be sticking something up there.
Take another deep breath.
Once you’ve assumed the desired position and have the nozzle inside, release the clamp on the tube to allow the coffee to come through. You can start/stop/start/stop the flow if you want to go really slowly –and I’d recommend this approach if it’s your first time having any sort of enema or colonic. It’s important to give your body a moment to get used to having the liquid inserted this way. The slower you go, the easier it will be to hold it.
Take another deep breath. Once all the coffee is inside you, make note of the time. Lie on your back or your right side and get as comfy as you can since you’re going to be here for the next 15 minutes. Take some more deep breaths. You might feel the urge to “evacuate”, but see if you can’t relax into it and hold things a little longer. I always find at first my body’s instinct is to release, but once I have taken a few deep belly breaths and relaxed, I hardly notice it. If the urge truly becomes unbearable, then by all means go to the toilet and release. You’ll be able to keep it in longer the more you do it.
Note: I like to leave the nozzle in the whole time because it feels like it gives me a “plug” effect. I know many people who like to remove it, but I find if I do, I simply can’t resist the urge to go and the enema is basically a bust. Try it both ways and see what works best for you.
Now… it’s time to relax. Here’s the great bonus of coffee enemas: a little “you” time. Watch some mindless TV, read a good book, or just chill out. I like to have a distraction and it’s one of the only times I let myself space out to TV.
At the 15 minute mark, carefully remove the nozzle from your rectum (a little coffee may spill out here – another bonus to being in the bath). Get out of the bath, do a quick towel off if you like, and go to the toilet, where you can finally release. And what a release it is!!! I just love this part. Let it ALLLLLL GOOOOOOOOO….
Don’t rush this process. You might feel done, but stay another minute or two just in case. Sometimes it comes in waves. Ahhhh the delicious release of it all!
Congratulations, you’ve done the first round! Now it’s time for the second half of the coffee. Basically you want to repeat steps 4 through 6 a second time.
Why do this twice? Well, the first time is almost like a primer. It gets that surface stuff out. The second time goes a little deeper. Some people will say they can actually hear their gallbladder squirt (it sounds just like a little digestive gurgle that comes from the right side under your rib cage), but only on this second round.
Once you’ve gone through the process twice, you’ll want to drain the bath and rinse out the enema bucket, hose, and nozzle. I like to rinse all three out several times with warm water, and then do a rinse with a little hydrogen peroxide, and then a few more warm water rinses. Then I hang it back up to dry in three separate parts.
Now, you’re basically done but I’d highly recommend staying close to home for the next hour just in case. You never know if you’re going to have the urge for more release, and I promise you’ll be happy you stayed home if you did.
That’s it! You’re done!
If you’re feeling intrigued and want to do some more reading on the topic, here are some articles that explain things in greater depth:
RAW LIFESTYLE is a revolutionary online health and well being education platform that lets you take the drivers seat. Specifically designed to provide both men and women with accessible resources to maintain optimal mental and physical fitness and health. Flexibility, affordability, and ease take precedence here at Raw Lifestyle. Our programs are designed for everyone, no matter your age, fitness level, location or lifestyle. With the ability to choose your favourite trainer, you can make your way through a selection of fitness & wellness programs for your mind, body and soul choosing the one that fits YOUR needs …..And if you are not sure, we can help you!
Each certified trainer/teacher is handpicked, and offers something unique in terms of coaching specialty. Providing an array of programs from HIIT, weight training, cardiovascular, yoga, meditation, fertility guidance, menstruation classes, nutrition and more. We want you to feel comfortable, supported, empowered and balanced. It’s not about body image and competitiveness; it’s about choosing a teacher you can relate to and taking the first steps towards your goals.
TRY our 7 day FREE Trial on selected programs using the code: FREETRIAL