There is a great deal of controversy concerning the benefits versus the risks of colon cleansing. Colon cleansing is a procedure in which toxins are reputedly flushed from the intestinal tract in various natural or chemically aided ways. Many proponents of colon cleansing claim that detoxification will benefit the body in numerous ways, from removing toxins and unused food waste from the intestines, to causing significant (10-20 pounds) weight loss. They claim that parasites in the body cause everything from stomach problems to a loss of energy and these parasites can be removed with colon cleaning. It is basically touted as a miracle cure for everything and anything including flatulence, bloating, zits, and hemorrhoids.

There are many who claim that the benefits are real and based on scientific data, while others insist that scientific evidence is lacking and state that not only is the process unnecessary (as nature removes waste from the body in its own manner) it might even be harmful. Critics insist that colon cleansing, if done improperly, can cause severe dehydration or a shift in the body's electrolytes that could be very risky for anyone suffering from kidney or heart disease, and could even be fatal.

The specific methods of colon cleansing are as varied and plentiful as the theoretical results. While some insist that it is an all natural process that can be done through a healthy diet alone, others rely on pills, drinks and powders laced with vitamins and minerals to assist them in their colon cleansing. From strict diets of brown rice and fresh vegetables, or liquid diets, to "super foods" with pro-biotic and herbal supplements, to salt water flushes and herbal tea, there are many options for those who wish to aid the natural sewerage system in its job of clearing toxins from the body.

Ironically, some of the companies who produce colon-cleansing products have added the very toxins they claim to remove from the body to the product they expect you to ingest. Carefully reading labels is a good idea if one is considering ingesting any substance in order to detoxify their system. Still, the list of positive results of colon cleansing appears far longer than that of the negatives when beneficial health claims are weighed against the possible risks. Many who have tried detoxification by colon cleansing chant the maxim, "Don't knock it till you try it", and insist that performing a colon cleansing even one time will make everyone a believer because the benefits, they claim, are obvious to those who do try colon cleansing. But, no scientific or medical studies support colon cleaning, only anecdotal evidence and testimonials; still it remains a very popular "cure all" practiced by thousands and has been around for hundreds of years.

There are as many varied opinions on colon cleansing as there are products with which to cleanse. The risks and the rewards need to be weighed, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Keep in mind that it is always wise to contact a qualified health care practitioner before starting any colon cleansing routine. Fad diets aside, it is a known truth that all people can derive great health benefits from consistently eating a healthy diet with a lot of natural fiber intake, drinking plenty of water to keep the body hydrated, and getting adequate amounts of exercise. Try colon cleaning if you must, but be advised that no evidence supports it and it may even prove to be unhealthy.