Coffee Enema: Hot, or Not?

[Trendzilla] Dr. Max Gerson's innovation is still popular after all these years—but is it healthy?

Talk to anyone who has received an enema out of necessity, and chances are, he or she would never choose to take an enema again. As if constipation isn't uncomfortable enough, what sane person would inject a fairly large amount of liquid into an already cramped ass? Apparently, a decent amount! Except now people are using a good ol' cuppa Joe.

Coffee enemas are no new thing. In the early 1920s, Dr. Max Gerson was trying to cure migraine headaches and found that a vegetarian diet, a pretty insane amount of juicing (20 pounds of fruits and veggies a day!) and coffee enemas did the trick. The idea was that our bodies are riddled with toxic substances—the root of all illness, according to Gerson—and when we detoxify, the body can fix itself. The simple diet makes digestion easier and fills the body with nutrients, while the coffee enema stimulates the liver to release toxins and extra waste. Using this method on his patients, Gerson found it also cured tuberculosis and even cancer. Today, his daughter continues his work at the Gerson Institute in San Diego, and the method has found a home in the alternative-medicine community.

Honestly, it sounds pretty great. If you could take 15 minutes of discomfort a day instead of chemotherapy, why not? We'd all be healthier, but the medical industry . . . well, it might be out of a job. This is where deciphering the true benefits of coffee enemas gets tricky. It's a swirl of contradictory anecdotes with no concrete scientific studies, which seems to be the overarching issue in proving alternative medicine's usefulness. One side shows glowing faces with incredible stories of recovery, while the other shows hard-nosed doctors expressly stating that coffee enemas can cause bacterial infections, proctocolitis, electrolyte abnormalities, even death. But isn't that every warning label quickly whispered during drug ads?

Coffee enemas, as with any medical procedure, are a personal matter. If you're into exploring unconventional methods, make sure to read up on the proper procedures before putting anything in your butt; if you have medical issues, talk to your doctor. Just don't forget to relax, lube the tube, hydrate and, sweet Jesus, please use room-temperature coffee.

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