Basti is the yogic tradition of natural cleansing of the lower intestines. It involves the controlled use of muscles to pull water up into the colon, and then, after churning the water around to dislodge old waste products, the water, and whatever it carries off with it, is expelled.

Since La Casa opened its doors, we have seen only one person who had learned internal cleansing through basti. Not surprisingly, like the yogis who preceded him, he had spent many years perfecting this technique. We have to admit, this method of colon cleansing will appeal to an extremely small number of people.

Fortunately, in the last few decades, there have been a number of natural health physicians interested in waste elimination. As a result, there are several methods of colon cleansing that are easier and as thorough as basti.

Colon cleansing can be approached from, so to speak, either the top end or the bottom end — the mouth or the rectum.

The simplest way of beginning colon cleansing is to add bulk to the diet. Fiber is present in all fresh, raw vegetables. Cooking softens the fiber and renders it ineffective. Dietary fiber in food is indigestible. But when present in the intestinal tract, it supports a multiplying population of intestinal bacteria, and this can be an aid in both digestion and elimination. The detoxifying powers of fiber were demonstrated in a study where rats were fed poison, and simultaneously put on a high fiber diet. These rats survived without harm, while other animals fed the same poison, but without the fiber, became ill and died.

Many alternative health practitioners have begun to recommend adding whole psyllium husks to the diet. Even traditional physicians generally recommend Metamucil, which is psyllium with added sugar. At La Casa, we are weary about creating too powerful of a detox in this way. There are several problems with psyllium. First, these husks can be irritating to the intestines. Additionally, psyllium acts like a magnet as it winds its way down the intestinal tract, pulling particles toward it. The problem here is that nutrient material as well as toxic material is pulled out. Finally, there is a delicate layer of mucus membranes and villi in the small intestine. These villi are important in the absorption of nutrients. The psyllium husks can scrape against these finger-like villi and damage them, thus interfering with the absorption of nutrients.

Bran is also frequently recommended as a way of increasing fiber in one’s diet. Bran is even more irritating to the intestines than psyllium. Bran is a part of the wheat grain; it is a partial food rather than a whole food and thus can create a nutritional imbalance. Further, bran acts as an irritant to the lining of the digestive tract. The intestine, in order to rid itself of this irritant, attempts to rush the process of moving waste material through. Decreased nutrient absorption results because of the rapid transit through the tract. Further, constant use of bran can cause a chronic condition of intestinal lining irritation.

Cleaning out the colon through the use of water injected directly into the colon most closely replicates the basti method. The water shooting through the alimentary canal acts as a gentle stimulus to dislodge old, encrusted fecal material. Methods include colonics, enemas and colemas.

La Casa’s colon therapists specialize in helping people to know how to take care of their bowels. Our therapy cleans the colon using a gentle water irrigation technique. Colon therapy offers many health benefits including detoxification, cleansing of the bloodstream and the stimulation of internal organs. We facilitate the detoxification through the use of abdominal massage, reflexology, pulsed magnetic energy, essential oils and far-infrared light. We encourage our guests to continue their colon cleansing at home.

Enemas are effective in reaching the low part of the colon, but have the disadvantage of not reaching the entire organ. Adding ingredients to the water in an enema can, however, greatly enhance its detoxifying power. Coffee enemas stimulate the liver; flaxseed tea enemas relieve the colon of inflammation; bentonite, or clay water, greatly increases the absorption of toxins from the colon walls.

The colema board was developed more than thirty years ago by V.E. Irons. It is a home unit that combines the ease of the enema with the thoroughness of the colonic. It most closely approximates basti in that it is gentle, following the body’s own natural rhythm for retention and expulsion of water. The water enters the intestinal tract, and it is the colon’s own spontaneous contractions that pushes water out. Thus, the colema works like an exercise program. The water trains the colon to begin to correct its atrophied condition. Because the muscles in the colon are stimulated, the colon sends messages to the rest of the body to release stored toxins and to bring them down through the normal eliminative channels. Pockets of putrefied material embedded within the colon walls can be dislodged through the colema. We encourage the use of the colema board because the advantage of being able to do it yourself at home makes it economical and convenient, as well as effective. We consider the colema to be an essential part of any health program.

Cleaning the colon:

1) Eat flaxseed cereal: grind up 2 tablespoonfuls of flaxseed. Add to goat yogurt with sunflower seeds and amazake.

2) Eat prunes stewed in hot water

3) Do an enema, colema or colonic. Remember each has a specific effect. Choose the one that best suits your needs at that time.

4) Drink an aloe smoothie: blend one inch portion of fresh aloe leaf (with green skin on) with juice of a whole lemon, honey to taste (you’ll need lots to combat the bitter taste of the aloe skin, but the skin is the part of the leaf that has the purgative effect).

5) Herbal laxatives may be taken. La Casa sells an excellent product that was formulated by a disciple of Bernard Jensen. Whole leaf aloe capsules are also a good choice.

Remember that colon cleansing is a process that occurs only over time. It’s taken you a lifetime of bad eating habits to clog up your colon and it often takes many years of good colon cleansing habits to unclog your colon. Be patient with your body.