M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia

May 12th is ME and Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. The aim is to highlight the devastation that this condition causes to 17-20 million people worldwide. As for Fibromyalgia, it affects between 1.2-2.8 million people in the UK and 3-6% internationally.

Unanswered questions

It’s clear Fibromyalgia and ME can cause so much devastation to so many people’s lives. People with these conditions also have to deal with disbelief from people around them including their friends and families.

Invisible symptoms

Part of the problem is that in many cases, the symptoms are invisible. Chronic pain, cognitive difficulties, post-exertional flu like malaise after minimal physical or cognitive activity. At my worst, something as small as holding a conversation for 10 minutes or eating a meal would leave me exhausted! Other symptoms include gastro-intestinal problems, dizziness, coordination difficulties, poor balance, poor body temperature regulation. Suffers also experience increased heart rate on sitting to standing. This means the heart is working much harder to keep the person upright due to a lack of energy being produced.

These are just some of the symptoms of these conditions and are a far cry from the common perception that ME/CFS is about being tired! Another part of the problem is that they fluctuate. Therefore, people see you doing things that they’d expect you not to be able to do. However, they then don’t witness the exacerbation of all your symptoms afterwards and the debilitating effect that this can have.

Diagnostic tests

I think the biggest problem is the apparent lack of a diagnostic test.  There are lab tests (I run many of these for my clients) that can show up biochemical dysregulation. This shows abnormalities with mitochondrial energy production, parasitic infections, gastrointestinal imbalances and cortisol levels. This gives us a lot of information about how to work with the adrenals. We also get full thyroid panels, mycotoxin exposure etc. that can all be part of the picture.

But none of these tests are available through conventional medicine. So is it that there is no test, or is it that when someone’s blood panel comes back as “normal” they simply aren’t looking for the right markers that would indicate biochemical dysregulation?

Physiology of ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia

So what do we know about what’s going on inside the body in these conditions? Well, we know that there is dysfunction in the mitochondria in the cells that are responsible for producing energy. We also know that there is dysregulation of the HPA axis, and immune dysregulation. Nearly everyone I have encountered with these conditions has gastro- intestinal issues.

Is it physical or psychological?

Despite all of this evidence from researchers, there is still much controversy about whether it is a physical condition. The aim of this blog is not to get into the politics of why this controversy exists. Unfortunately publicising flawed research upon which treatments are based perpetuates the myth that this is a psychological illness, leading to discrimination and prejudice towards people with these conditions, which they have to cope with on top of their symptoms and functional limitations. Suffice to say that, unfortunately there is still much misunderstanding about the symptoms, complexity and physical nature of the condition. 

SIBO

For me, looking back at my medical records there were actually signs of something physical going on. I had delayed gut motility (delayed emptying from the stomach into the duodenum). I also had duodenitis (inflammation in my small intestine). This discovered over 20 years ago but never mentioned to me. We now know that delayed gut motility is a major contributory factor to SIBO, the cause of 60% of IBS! A recent study showed that 90% of people with Fibromyalgia have SIBO. SIBO is where bacteria have overgrown in the small intestines, producing endotoxins and nutritional deficiencies. I also had numerous blood tests showing raised levels of eosinophils and decreased white blood cell count, indicating some kind of immune dysregulation, again left unaddressed.

Iron deficiency

It wasn’t until another practitioner suggested I get a full iron panel rather than the standard iron tests that I found I had iron deficiency. The bacteria overgrowing in SIBO can actually eat your nutrients as they start to eat your food before you can absorb it.

The type of SIBO I had wasn’t even showing up on private lab tests as I had something called hydrogen sulphide SIBO. This has no definitive test at the moment, just signs from existing lab tests. And that particular type of bacteria can…. guess what? Damage the mitochondria in your cells that are crucial for energy production!

SIBO can also cause visceral hypersensitivity. This could explain why, if 90% of people with Fibromyalgia in one study were shown to have SIBO, they also had increased hypersensitivity to pain. Even after I trained and qualified as a naturopath, it took me a lot of continuing training to work out all of these pieces of the jigsaw. It was only last year that I found Lyme, candida and mould toxicity were also parts of my jigsaw.  

Naturopathy with chronic illness

Naturopathy, looks at disease quite differently to conventional medicine. Disease is a process which establishes itself over a period of time. When I first had my case history taken by a naturopath, I was surprised to see that I hadn’t suddenly been struck down by the virus that appeared to have started my ME/CFS. In reality, there had been signs of dysregulation, albeit minor, from an early age that had all depleted my immune system, coupled with my poor nutrition, poor sleep, my Type A personality causing me to always try and be superwoman at work and outside of work, despite my body screaming at me that something was very wrong.

Naturopathy also looks at the body as a whole entity, not separating the body and the mind. ME/CFS has been cited to have numerous causes. A virus was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me – my immune system was depleted and I couldn’t fight it off. I suppressed my symptoms by trying to carry on being superwoman and by continuing to do all the things that had already depleted my immune system. For other people, it might be a traumatic event, an injury, an infection, childhood trauma, over-exercising or ongoing stress. This has led to much debate within the ME community as to whether someone is correctly diagnosed with ME if their ME does not start with a virus.

But to me this is missing the point. Heart attacks can be caused by several different causes – stress, physical blockages, the food we eat, lifestyle, etc. But despite the fact that there can be numerous causes of heart attacks, nobody disputes that they are a physical condition. Nor that the end result is the same or that any stress or lifestyle factors that led to its onset need addressing. The job of a naturopath is to work out the case history to assess how the body got to that position in the first place and start to unravel it. Then you can start giving the body what it needs to kickstart its own innate healing ability.

My story

I developed M.E. back in 1996, followed by Fibromyalgia a few years later.  In my case, adverse childhood events led to an overproduction of stress hormones on an ongoing basis. Continual production of cortisol led to my immune system and my digestive system shutting down.

Dry skin

The first signs of something wrong were extreme dry skin. Unbeknown to me, this was a sign that my body was dehydrated. I had no clue until I became ill that I even needed to drink 4 pints of water a day to keep myself hydrated and that drinking tea and coffee was not the same thing.

My Diet

My diet was poor, which would certainly have been affecting my microbiome. We now know that this complex community of microbes that lives inside us are so important for the health of our bodies and minds. Couple this with a digestive system that was not working effectively and I began to develop numerous food allergies and intolerances. Which, you cannot have without gut permeability where the lining of the gut becomes permeable, allowing partially undigested food into the blood stream that shouldn’t be in there! So, I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients from my food. At the same time my body was launching an attack on what I was eating, giving rise to inflammation.

Stress

This contributed to further internal physical stress, which elevated my cortisol levels further. This gave rise to an overproduction of histamine. This resulted in histamine intolerance, which meant that I could no longer eat foods containing high levels of histamine without reacting. It was only after my training as a naturopath and further continuing professional development that I worked out that I had histamine intolerance.

Digestion

I was put on antacids due to gastrointestinal issues, which I later found out gave rise to further problems. Acid reflux can be caused by not enough stomach acid being produced as well as too much. When not enough acid is produced, this impairs the signal to the lower oesophageal sphincter to close and when this happens the acid can rise up into the oesophagus from the stomach.

SIBO

We need a certain amount of acid in our stomach to break down proteins and to kill any unbeneficial microbes that we might take in through what we eat and drink.  So the antacids contributed to the onset of my SIBO, together with more nutritional deficiencies.

At the time of the onset of my ME/CFS I was working long hours, partying hard and not getting much sleep. A virus came along and tipped everything over. For others overtraining can be a contributory factor. The point is that we all have different reasons as to why we become ill, regardless of the illness and regardless of the causes. Either shortly before or shortly afterwards I also contracted Lyme, but my immune system couldn’t fight it.

Assisting Recovery

The job of a good naturopath is to find the clues and provide education as to how to best support your body through diet, lifestyle, supplements and naturopathic techniques. 

Using naturopathic techniques starting with ensuring the bowels are working correctly. Then the liver, working backwards to the lymph and then the cell. 

So it’s about doing the right things at the right time in the right order. Before I started seeing a naturopath I thought I had tried everything.

Stress

For me, changing my stress response which has been hardwired since a child has been another big factor. Together with structural work through a chiropractor as my ribs were not expanding and allowing me to breathe in enough oxygen, in addition to the shallow breathing caused by stress. So, whilst I am not saying that naturopathy is a cure or a substitute for medical advice, for me it has been an invaluable piece of my health and wellbeing journey alongside the medical advice I have been given. If you do think you might be suffering with any of the symptoms, always speak to your GP.

What is becoming evident is that stress is a major factor in every chronic physical health condition and stress can come from a range of places, the foods we eat, the exercise we do, what we put on our skin, it isn’t just about being “stressed out” due to current or past events as we understand the term.  

There’s no magic pill for recovery

So, for all of you reading this who have ME/CFS or Fibromyalgia, I completely understand what you are going through. I have been virtually bedridden for 8 years with both conditions, with a battle over 2 decades to find the answers. Culminating in my own training as a naturopath and being able to get back to work. This is a world away from where I was. Being too ill to have a conversation for more than 10 minutes, losing the ability to read or having to crawl on my hands and knees to get from my bed to the toilet! So please don’t give up hope. I know what it’s like to feel like you have tried everything.

Taking responsibility for aiding my own healing instead of waiting for the magic answer was so empowering. Had I not done so, and learnt everything I have shared with you in this blog, I may still be bedridden with these conditions today. 

Point to remember

It took me many years to get as ill as I did, so expecting a miracle cure just wasn’t realistic. And, there was a lot of trying things out to see what worked and what didn’t. But, the main premise with naturopathy is to first do no harm. And all of the changes I made, whilst not a cure, were all part of supporting my health.

Ginger Tea Recipe

This warming ginger tea is not only tasty, but also contains anti-viral properties so is great for your health and to keep your immune system strong.

Steamed White Fish with Spring Onion

Spring onions are coming into season and I love them for so many reasons. They add a light onion flavour to dishes and, best of all, take significantly less cooking time compared to regular white or red onions. They’re equally at home in British cooking as they are in Asian-inspired dishes. Those who experience digestive discomfort like bloating with white onions may also find they’re ok with spring onions provided they use the green part only [green part of spring onions appears in low FODMAPs programmes]. This is a really easy, delicious recipe I love.

5 Things You Need to Know About Castor Oil Packing to Detox Your Liver

Castor Oil

1. The History of the Castor Oil Pack

The therapeutic usage of castor oil packing was first discovered by Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) and is now regarded by naturopaths around the world as a very effective tool for liver detox. 

2. The Method of Action that the Castor Oil Pack Uses to Liver Detox

The essential fatty acids, in particular the ricinoleic acid that castor oil contains, encourages movement of chemical energy within the body, resulting in a detoxifying effect. 

Castor oil also contains all the colours of the spectrum and colour & light are crucial to energy production and movement within the body. 

3. Reported Benefits of the Castor Oil Pack for liver detox include

It has been reported that castor oil packing has many benefits to health. The health benefits include:

  • More effective elimination of waste
  • Reduction of nausea
  • Pain relief
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased relaxation
  • Immune enhancing benefits

4. Who Shouldn’t Use A Castor Oil Pack for Liver Detox

Castor oil packs shouldn’t be used in pregnancy as you do not want to create a cleanse when someone is pregnant. They can be used in a pre-conception programme with the aim of cleansing before conception takes place. 

You should also make sure that you are moving your bowels well when doing castor oil packs to ensure that whatever you are shifting is actually exiting the body.  For that very reason it is advised to do them together with enemas (read my blog on coffee enemas for liver detox here).

They can also be used on other parts of the body but you must ensure you pack your liver at the same time and, as mentioned above, that you are using enemas to see that waste out of the body.

5. How to Do A Castor Oil Pack for Liver Detox

  • Take your castor oil packing material (cotton – I use the large one from Nutrigold and cut it in half) and fold in two.
  • Drizzle the castor oil over the cloth – it needs to be wet (but not dripping) – you can aid this process by rubbing the cloth together on itself to spread the castor oil around more thoroughly.
  • Place the castor oil pack over the liver (located on the right side, underneath the right side of the rib cage. 
  • Either use a castor oil pack holder to prevent leakage or place a big old sheet or towel over it and pin in place. Wear some old clothes over the top as it is very greasy and will probably stain your clothes / bed sheets and is very difficult to get out of fabric.
  • Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag over the top of that area to warm the oil – this assists its uptake by the liver via the skin.
  • Because it can create a lot of elimination it is wise to start by packing for just 15 minutes 3 consecutive days in a week.
  • The next week you can increase this to 30 minutes if you are reacting ok, 45 minutes the week after, and so on in 15 minute intervals until you are up to 1 ½ hours for 3 consecutive days a week.
  • Because they are very calming they should ideally be used in the evenings, but this is not essential – whatever fits your lifestyle.
  • Ideally a castor oil pack would be followed by a water enema the next morning if possible to ensure that whatever is being released is being fully exited from the body. 
  • The pack can be stored in a plastic sealed bag or a container in the fridge and reused for 30-40 times (i.e. around 2-3 months) before the cloth needs to be discarded and a new pack made – if you keep it longer the oil may start to go rancid. 

If you are interested in reading around the benefits of castor oil packing take a look at William A McGarey’s book, “The Oil that Heals”.

5 Tips on How to Detox This Spring Equinox

5 Tips on How to Detox This Spring Equinox

Next month sees the arrival of the spring equinox on the 20th March. The spring equinox is the most powerful time of the year to detox our bodies.

The spring equinox is the point in the year at which the Earth’s axis begins to tilt towards the sun. It is the point where we move from the dark into the light and from the winter into the spring. We see signs of renewed life all around us as a result of the increased warmth and light, don’t we?

5 Things You Need to Know About Coffee Enemas

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), at the time of the spring equinox the alignment of the planets causes our energy to switch from hibernation state to a more open energy that allows us to cleanse.

At the spring equinox we are also moving into the wood element, according to Chinese medicine, which is all about the liver. It’s a great time to cleanse our liver that works so hard for us every day. This liver is also the planner of the body – it governs purpose and vision.

So how can we make the most of this forthcoming opportunity to set us up for our plans for health and wellbeing for the year ahead? Well here are five tips to get you on your way for your detox this Spring Equinox!

Why not book a FREE 30 minute Health and Wellbeing Review with me, to see how you can detox in the best way for you personally.

Let your body detox through symptoms

Around the time of the forthcoming equinox it is possible that our bodies will try to cleanse more. This could take the form of rashes, excess mucus production masquerading as a cold, vomiting or diarrhoea for example. If we let our bodies cleanse without suppressing the symptoms, we can often feel better than before we started!

What’s the best way to do so? Number one is rest! How many of us actually do this when we are ill? It’s not acceptable in our fast-paced modern society to rest when you have “just a cold” for example. But our bodies need to conserve energy to cleanse themselves of anything unwanted, so let’s give them a fighting chance.

Read my blog on 7 Natural Cold Remedies for natural remedies we can use, to help aid the symptoms of a cough and a cold. 

Fresh air, daylight and hydration are also important when we are trying to cleanse. If you are resting in bed, open the window so that you have a flow of fresh air coming into the room. And for your daylight prescription, 20 minutes a day of daylight straight into the retinas can be invaluable.

We hear the phrase, “feed a cold, starve a fever” don’t we? But the phrase is actually, “If you feed a cold, you’ll have to starve a fever.” Digestion takes energy and if we are not feeling like eating at that time, we should listen to our bodies – they are trying to conserve energy for healing. Give the body that energy by resting, hydrating and either fasting or keeping our diet as simple and as liquid as possible. This will allow the body the energy it needs to heal more rapidly and effectively.

Hydration is the foundation for detoxification

Water for detoxification

We cannot cleanse effectively if we are dehydrated. Hydration is essential for detoxification. It allows waste to exit our cells. It’s also essential for the flow of lymph which helps to filter unwanted substances from the blood. It aids the circulation of the blood which takes waste away from our cells and brings nutrients and oxygen to them. It allows us to form urine for excretion of unwanted substances and to eliminate toxins via our bowels. It allows us to take in nutrients from our food.

Pure water is essential to every single cleansing process in our bodies. But I rarely meet people who are taking in 2 litres of plain, still, pure water on a consistent daily basis. If this resonates with you, use this month to start building up your hydration levels in line with the advice in my blog on hydration.

Using your diet to detox

Use this month to work on moving away from ready-made processed foods and towards fresh and whole foods. Maybe thinking about switching to organic fruit and vegetables that are free from toxic pesticides. Also have a think about moving to organic meat. Do we want those nasty toxic substances that go into non-organically produced meats’ feed inside us, such as antibiotic residues which we know can destroy our gut flora? The same applies for eggs – maybe use this month to switch to organic eggs too. Have a think about the source of your fish – is it Wild Alaskan, from the least polluted waters, or is it full of mercury residue?

If you are vegan or vegetarian think about consuming more wholefoods, such as freshly prepared shortgrain brown rice or pulses. It can be easy to have an unhealthy vegan or vegetarian diet that is full of processed or microwaveable foods.

All of us will do well to stop using the microwave. Microwaves change the structure of whatever we put in them to the point where our bodies don’t recognise it as food or drink, rather as a toxin that we need to get rid of.

Have a think about whether you have any foods in your diet that are stressful to the body such as gluten and dairy, or toxic to our bodies such as damaged fats, sugar or salt.

The change of the seasons is also a time to think about eating local and seasonal produce. Our bodies need different foods in the autumn and winter than they do in the spring and summer.

Fasting for detoxification

Fasting is not suitable in pregnancy or breast feeding, for people with eating disorders, for diabetics or people with kidney failure unless under supervision, for people on medication unless your prescribing physician states that you can stop your medication for the duration of the fast, nor for those people who are very weak, very depleted in energy or significantly underweight.

If you are not in any of these categories, you could fast for 1-3 days without supervision over the spring equinox. If you are a beginner to fasting and haven’t got a clean diet already, you might want to think about a simple fast like a mono fast, where you eat only one food for a day.

A shortgrain brown rice fast is a nice one for beginners. If you can’t bear the thought of just eating plain shortgrain brown rice for a day you could add some good quality cold-pressed, dark glass bottled, organic extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon for flavour (which technically isn’t a mono fast, but whatever gets you through the day!). Use a pound of dried organic shortgrain brown rice, soak it in some filtered water for around 8 hours and then cook it well in plenty of filtered water for an optimal hydrating effect. Refrigerate and eat hot throughout the day.

You could also choose a single vegetable or fruit (although if you have candida or blood sugar issues you might want to stay away from a fruit fast because of the amount of fructose it will introduce). You want about 3 pounds in weight of the one fruit or vegetable, spread throughout the day. Grapefruit is a great choice as it helps the liver to detoxify effectively. Other ideas include lightly steamed (3-4 minutes) broccoli, carrots, apples, pears or grapes.

Make sure whatever you choose is organic. Also eat in a state of calm with no distractions and chew your food well to maximise digestion so that more of your energy can go towards cleansing instead of trying to digest.

Other options include juice fasting and water fasting for those of you who already have a clean diet and are ready to really cleanse! I recommend that water fasts are done for 24 hours unless under the supervision of a qualified nutritionist. For a juice fast I recommend 1 or 3 days without supervision. When you give the body the chance to cleanse, you can get all sorts of reactions as it lets go of those toxins.

If you are doing a 1 day fast you will need to do 2 days beforehand to walk into the fast and 2 days afterwards to walk out of the fast. This means eating less protein rich foods, cutting out animal produce and processed foods, eating more wholefoods (so no refined carbohydrates like white rice or white pasta) and increasing your intake of raw fruit and vegetables during that time. If you are doing a 3 day fast you will need a three day walk in and out.

Ideally you want the day before and after your fast to be a day where you are eating only raw fruits and vegetables if you are doing a juice or water fast. Breaking a fast with heavy meals can shock the body, leading to a stress response, and stop the cleanse that you have worked so hard to produce!

Natural detox techniques and aids

Do some detoxification techniques to aid elimination whilst on a fast. If you start to allow your cells to cleanse but you are not excreting your waste efficiently, you can do more harm than good and feel dreadful. Enemas and castor oil packs are two naturopathic techniques that offer a great way to ensure that the waste gets out of the body.

man stretching on seashore
Yoga pose | Photographer: Artem Bali | Source: Unsplash

Having a gentle stroll in nature or some yoga can help to move your lymph, enabling those toxins from your cells to move and be processed by your liver. A pinch of cayenne pepper in some freshly squeezed lemon or lime can help to move circulation to ensure that your blood is getting those toxins from lymph into liver for elimination.

The other thing is to rest! If we aren’t resting we are thwarting the bodies attempt to use its energy to get those toxins out. Give yourself time off if possible whilst you cleanse over the equinox, perhaps even go away somewhere peaceful.

And remember that just the sight and smell of food can stimulate digestion even if we aren’t eating, so it’s not a great time to socialise around food or be cooking for family so bulk cook beforehand if you have to cook for the rest of the family so that you aren’t having to cook during your fast.

With under three weeks to go until the biggest cleanse of the year, preparation is key to making the most out of this opportunity to give our bodies a really good spring cleanse!

If you want to find out the best ways for you to personally detox, click here for a 30 minute FREE health and wellbeing review.

Oil Free, Raw Vegan Pizza

This oil free, salt free and low fat vegan pizza is tasty and SIBO friendly! A courgette crust, layered with a tomato and lemon sauce and topped with tasty veggies such as tomatoes and avocados. Enjoyable for the whole family!

5 Things You Need to Know About Coffee Enemas

Picture of coffee beans on a white backgroundWith the spring equinox coming up on the 20th March 2020, there is no better time of the forthcoming year to cleanse the liver. Coffee enemas are a simple and effective way to do this.

How do coffee enemas work?

Coffee enemas have been around as early as the 1800s. Studies done in the 1920s showed various therapeutic effects from coffee enemas. Max Gerson, founder of the Gerson Therapy, further studied the effects of coffee enemas and used them as part of his treatment programmes.

When a litre of coffee solution is introduced into the colon it passes through the colon wall into the system of blood vessels that take blood from the intestines to the liver, the portal system, as opposed to passing through the whole digestive system. This is the reason why I personally do not recommend coffee colonics, but only enemas.

Various compounds in the coffee have specific effects. For example, the palmitic acid that coffee contains, increases glutathione S-transferase, an enzyme critical in quenching free radicals and the master-antioxidant used by our liver to detoxify toxins, by 700%! Free radicals can cause damage to our cells and our DNA.

The coffee also causes the bile ducts to dilate so that more toxins can be excreted through bile into the intestines for exit out of the body. At the same time the theophylline and theobromine in the coffee cause dilation of the blood vessels, allowing more blood to pass through the system for filtering by the liver.

How will I feel after a coffee enema?

Most people report increased mental clarity and energy after a coffee enema. They can also help to normalise bowel movements, particularly if you suffer from constipation, contrary to many people’s fears that using enemas will make the bowels weaker. The fluid actually increases peristalsis, the movement in the gastrointestinal system that aids the movement of substances through and, in the case of unwanted or indigestible substances, out of the body.

However, coffee enemas are not suitable for everyone (see below) and certainly if you feel wired or jittery afterwards with as little as a teaspoon of coffee then it would be wise to try the alternatives suggested below instead.

How to make your coffee enema solution

Organic Ground Coffee

Coffee enemas should be done with organic ground coffee and never instant coffee! I would suggest starting low with a teaspoon if you are sensitive to coffee or you have anxiety or adrenal fatigue and see how you get on. If you have no health issues and don’t fall into the category of people who shouldn’t do a coffee enema listed below, then you can start with a heaped dessertspoon of ground coffee. You can slowly increase up to as much as 3 tablespoons if there are no adverse reactions.

  • Place the coffee in a non-aluminium pan with two pints of filtered water. The filtered water is essential, as tap or plastic bottled water will introduce more toxins into the system.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 3 minutes, then simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Strain the solution through a stainless steel fine meshed sieve or through unbleached coffee filter paper and allow it to cool to body temperature.
  • Top up to 1 litre with some body temperature filtered water and place in your enema kit.

If you are pushed for time and don’t have time to let the mixture cool down, you can just use half a pint of liquid in your pan and top it up to make a litre of body temperature water with a mixture of cold and boiling filtered water.

Open the tap at the end of your enema kit over a sink or toilet and let the fluid run through the tube until you have fluid with no gaps all the way along the tube – the gaps are air bubbles, which should be got rid of as they make the enema difficult to administer. You can help the process by squeezing the top of the tube where it meets the bag. Close the tap as soon as you have released the air bubbles.

Picture of an enema kit and its components on a white background

It’s a good idea to add about 10 oral magnesium drops or a magnesium citrate capsule opened up into the solution, stirring well. Coffee enemas can cause a loss of electrolytes so this helps to re-balance things. Ideally a pint of freshly made green juice a day (unless you have digestive issues) can be a great way to re-balance those electrolytes, as it floods the body with potassium. It is also preferable to do a coffee enema in the morning as the caffeine can affect sleep.

How to administer a coffee enema

Grab a thick folded down to place underneath your bottom and lie down somewhere comfortable within quick and easy reach of a toilet. Some people like to do enemas in the bath as they find that the heat enables them to retain the solution. I find that slightly pulling apart with both hands on my lower abdomen helps me to retain the enema. Others find that lying on their right side with their legs pulled up slightly can help them to retain. Then hold the enema for 15 minutes and release it into the toilet. It will help you to retain it if you have had a bowel movement beforehand or flushed out your colon with a water flush enema beforehand, using one to two pints of body temperature filtered water and allowing it to be expelled as soon as the urge to defecate comes.

Coffee enemas are not suitable for everyone

Enemas of any description should not be used during pregnancy. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine.

Some people have a genetic variation which means they cannot detoxify caffeine efficiently. Other people, particularly people with adrenal fatigue / M.E., can find coffee enemas too stimulating.

Coffee enemas would also be contraindicated with diarrhoea; heart, kidney or respiratory failure; inflammatory bowel diseases; removal of part of the colon or intestines; high blood pressure and post-surgery unless under supervision from a qualified naturopathic nutritionist.

Whilst absorption of caffeine is minimal with a coffee enema in comparison to drinking caffeine, there is still some absorption taking place.

It’s also important to make sure you are well hydrated, i.e. you are drinking 4 pints a day of still, pure water – read my blog on hydration for more information on the best way to get yourself hydrated. Coffee enemas can be quite dehydrating on the body so are really not a good idea until you have your hydration levels up.

If you are unsure how you react to coffee, start very slowly with a teaspoon of coffee in your coffee solution. If you react ok to this, you can then start to slowly increase a teaspoon at a time.

If you find that you cannot tolerate the caffeine because it makes you feel wired, gives you palpitations or causes shallow breathing or a feeling of anxiety, then you can try an enema solution with 2 level teaspoons of choline bitartrate powder instead of caffeine. This is also good for cleansing the liver but does so in a much gentler way.

The other option, as long as you do not have Coeliac disease, is wheatgrass powder. Ensure the wheatgrass powder is pure and organic and start slowly with a ¼ tsp in your enema solution. Wheatgrass enemas are harder to hold onto because they are so detoxifying.