The concept of cleansing with water is as old as mankind. Although people tend to assume that colonics are a modern invention, early evidence of colon hydrotherapy can be found in Babylonian and Assyrian tablets from 600 BCE as well as in an Egyptian papyrus from the 14th century B.C.E. Hippocrates (4th and 5th centuries BCE) and Galen (2nd century BCE) were proponents of colon lavage for fever therapy.


Herodotus (484-425 BCE) described a monthly three-day cleansing practiced in Egypt, and Pliny (77 CE) identified the mythic origins of the enema in the Ibis. This long-billed Egyptian bird was said to draw water into its beak and self-administer the enema. One of the prominent Egyptian gods, Thoth, was depicted with the head of this sacred bird.

Other early practitioners of colon cleansing were the Sumerians, Hindus, and the Chinese. The “Chinese Hippocrates” Chang Chung Ching (Zhang Zhanjiang) in the 3rd century of the Common Era advised the intake of water and vinegar through a bamboo cane inserted into the rectum. In the west, the enema was prevalent in the later days of the Roman Empire due to customs of overindulgence at the banquet table.

Through the middle ages enemas or “clysters” were popular among the aristocracy, especially with the use of complex solutions including honey, oils, herbs, vinegar, wine, milk, egg yolks, fragrances, or even boar’s bile. These practices were common among royal families and their peers, sometimes up to four times a day. King Louis XI of France (1423-1483) was relieved of seizures by the use of clysters, and even had his dogs clystered.

The 17th century ushered in “The Age of Clysters” (enemas) with Regnier DeGraff’s 1668 invention of a flexible tube connecting the enema bag to the anal nozzle. Unlike previous gravity-based equipment, this finally allowed easy self-administration without the need for an assistant, servant, or doctor. Privacy and modesty were also preserved with this method.

Of course, a lot has changed since Ancient Egypt, and while people still enjoy the internal cleansing nature of water, the actual colonic process is now much more advanced and gentle than it once was. Constance Jones – Colon Hydrotherapy in Manchester, CT uses a state-of-the-art technique to gently and safely infuse multi-purified water through the large intestine to cleanse it of mucus, fecal matter, and gas.