Historians tell us that the practice of bowel cleansing was first used by the Egyptians. The Ebers Papyrus of the 14th century B.C. and the Edwin Smith Papyrus (c.1700 B.C.) both mention bowel cleansing and methods used. Jesus, in The Essene Gospel of Peace from the third century, stated: “The uncleanness within is greater by much than the uncleanness without. And he who cleanses himself without, but within remains unclean, is like a tomb that outwards is painted fair, but is within full of all manner of horrible uncleanliness and abominations. And this holy baptizing is rebirth unto the new life, for your eyes shall henceforth see, and your ears shall hear. Fear no more, after your baptism, and the angels of air and water will eternally abide in you and shall serve you evermore.”
The 17th century became known as the “age of the enema.” It was an acceptable practice in Parisian society to enjoy as many as three or four enemas a day, the belief being that an internal washing was essential to well-being.
By the late 19th century and the early 20th century, with the advent of rubber, the enema slowly gave way to colon hydrotherapy equipment, which greatly improved the cleansing of the colon.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of the renowned Battle Creek Sanitarium, reported in the 1917 Journal of American Medicine, that in the treatment of more than 40,000 cases of gastrointestinal disease, he had used surgery in only twenty cases. The others were improved by the cleansing of the bowel, improved diet and exercise.
Colon hydrotherapy eventually gained the attention of James A. Wiltsie, M.D., who contended that “our knowledge of the normal and abnormal physiology of the colon, and of its pathology and management, has not kept pace with that of many of the organs and systems of the body.” He went on to say “As long as we continue to assume that the colon will take care of itself, just that long will we remain in complete ignorance of perhaps the most important source of ill health in the whole body.”