“But what about the coffee enemas? Do you have to do them?”. This most certainly is the question Gerson practitioners get asked most after having explained what the therapy is about.
What is it? Why is it part of the therapy? How do they work? And, how do you do them? People who know me, know I’m all about experience based learning, so I’ve put it to the test.
Yes, you heard that right: I tried it!
I have to say, I too, was giggling and did not know what to expect from this rather unconventional way of having a coffee. Even so, to all those doubters out there: I can assure you, it is not at all as terrifying, painful or uncomfortable as you might assume it is.
I actually exploded with relief after that first experience.
WHAT IS IT?
The definition of a coffee enema, according to the Oxford dictionary, is “A procedure in which liquid or gas is injected into the rectum, to expel its contents or to introduce drugs or permit X-ray imaging.”
In this case, it is an enema using organic, medium roast coffee as a liquid, to enhance the detoxing process the Gerson Therapy brings about.
WHY IS IT A KEY PART OF THE GERSON THERAPY?
According to the Gerson Institute, coffee enemas have the primary purpose of “removing toxins accumulated in the liver and removing free radicals from the bloodstream.”
Think about this: your cells have piled up toxins over the past years - decades in most cases. During the Gerson Therapy, you will flush out these toxins by giving your body an abundance of nutrients through cold pressed juices, raw and cooked foods. Nutrients are pushed into cells, toxins will be pushed out and travel to the liver, our main detoxifying organ, via the bloodstream.In order not to strain the liver, it is paramount to support it when it gets rid of these toxins. This is where the coffee enemas come in.
This might be the first time ever you have heard of coffee enemas, yet, they’ve been around to help speed up healing following surgeries or to combat cases of accidental poisoning since the late 1800s.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
The caffeine travels via the haemorrhoidal vein and the portal system to the liver, opens up the bile ducts and allows the liver to release bile, which contains the toxins that were pushed out of the cells. Next to caffeine, there are other plant compounds, like theobromine and theophylline, that contribute to the dilation of blood vessels and bile ducts, relax smooth muscles, and increase the bile flow.
Doctors at the University of Minnesota showed that rectally administered coffee also might stimulate a beneficial enzyme in the liver called glutathione-S-transferase. This enzyme has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In normal words: it is a natural blood cleanser.
A coffee enema should be held in the colon for 12 to 15 minutes during which the body’s entire blood supply will pass through the liver 4 to 5 times. Each time extracting toxins from the tissues, bringing it to the colon to get rid of them.
Contrary to what most people think, the purpose of the coffee enema in the Gerson Therapy is not to clear out the intestines. However, the amount of water will stimulate bowel movement, help to dilute the bile and thus increase the bile flow, flushing the toxins out.
Other scientifically proven benefits of coffee enemas:
- cleansing the liver
- repairing digestive tissue
- improving blood circulation
- increasing immunity
- helping with cellular regeneration
- relieving digestive issues, such as frequent constipation, bloating, cramping and nausea
- improving gut health
- improving low energy levels and moods (such as fighting signs of depression)
HOW DO YOU DO THEM?
Coffee enema’s can be easily done from the comfort of your own home. In short, here’s an 8-step guide how to do them:
1. POSITION: lay down on your right side on a towel + (yoga)mat on the bathroom floor and get comfortable.
2. PLACE CONTAINER: with the clamp closed, place the enema bucket about 1 ft above your abdomen.
3. LUBRICATE AND INSERT: Relax and insert the lubricated tip gently and slowly approx. 4 inches into your rectum. If it doesn’t go in smoothly, breathe out, relax and move it around a little bit until it goes in. Be mindful: this should never hurt!
4. LET IT FLOW: Breathe and relax again. Open the clamp and let gravity do its work so the coffee solution can flow in. This can take a few seconds up to a few minutes.
5. CLOSE THE CLAMP: close the clamp when the entire solution is inside. You can choose to leave the tube inserted or to remove it slowly.
6. RETAIN FOR 12-15 MINUTES: Still laying on your right side. Use this time to read a book, listen to music, meditate, visualise your future goals, catch up on your favourite tv-show, rest, …
It is normal to feel bouts of sudden urges to release the enema. Hold them in, as it is important to give the enema enough time to do its work. Breathe through these waves, you can do it.
7. RELEASE: After 12-15 min you can release the enema. If you haven’t already done so, remove the tube gently. Go sit on the toilet and release.
8. WASH EQUIPMENT: Wash the enema bag/container and tube thoroughly after each enema. Use a natural, gentle soap and hang it to dry. It needs to be ultra-dry before you store it away!
If I would tell you I wasn’t a little nervous and giddy before trying this out, I would be lying. The fact that I was sharing an apartment with two other friends at the time, did not really make it more comfortable either (afraid of smells ‘n such … know what I mean?).
But, I got over it, since, well … I really wanted to know what it was all about. I bought my coffee enema kit at the Green Moustache but you can also buy them online easily. I made sure to wash it before I used it the first time. I used Castile soap, as it is a gentle and natural soap that doesn’t add more toxins to the equation considering I was trying to get rid of those.
This first time I made sure nobody else was home. Having a lock on the bathroom door helped too since you don’t want somebody barging in all of a sudden when you are laying down on the bathroom floor, half naked, with a tube in your rear end. Not really the epitome of elegance.
If you don’t have a lock, I suggest making a funny sign “go out and get yourself some coffee, I’m having mine” or something like that, to make your housemates aware you need some private time.
As a lubricant I used organic coconut oil. Other possibilities are organic Castor oil, organic olive oil, and even saliva will do.
When you want to do it in the morning, always eat something first to start your digestive system, prevent nausea and wait after your bowels are emptied. In fact, you should only do a coffee enema after you have had a bowel movement. As mentioned above, this is not something you do to empty the bowels but to get rid of toxins.
Off course I felt the surge -more than once- to release the coffee before the 12 minutes were over. But I managed to hold it until it was time to release by taking deep breaths and focusing on the latest episode of Suits.
A tip, before releasing: make sure to be aware of “holding it in” when you are getting up. Those few steps towards the toilet can be daunting. Make sure not to leave a trail ...
Sit far enough on the toilet when you release. It can be quite a “blast from the past”. Also be aware that, usually, after the first release a second one will follow. Stay put on the toilet for a while until that one has passed too -unless you feel like practising your sprints back to the toilet.
All of this might seem a bit “too much” BUT you’ll soon find that, after this first time, you feel SO LIGHT and it was all worth it!
- A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases, Dr. M. Gerson
- Healing the Gerson Way, Charlotte Gerson
- Liver Detoxification with Coffee Enemas, Morton Walker, DPM excerpted from July 2001 edition of Townsend Newsletter
- Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer, W. John Diamond,M.D., W. Lee Cowden, M. D. and Burton Goldberg, Future Medicine Publishing INC, Tiburon, CA 199
- Journal of Cancer Research, April 1982, “Isolation and Identification of Kahweol Palmitate and Cafestol Palmitate as Active Constituents of Green Coffee Beans That Enhance Glutathione S-Transferase Activity in the Mouse”
- Gerson Institute: https://gerson.org/pdfs/How_Coffee_Enemas_Work.pdf
She loves going off the beaten path, following her (gut)- feeling and isn't shy to try new stuff. After all, nothing beats experiencing something yourself.
As a former university college teacher, researcher, independent (sports)dietitian and jack of all trades at a vegan restaurant, she has now discovered her life goal of teaching & helping others to work towards a healthy, energised life filled with love, peace & happiness.