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"Despite all the propaganda and all the claims that have been made for it,
the enema is an evil."
Why Dr. Shelton decided to discontinue enemas
In INHS email group we always come back to this topic: the scientific method in Hygiene.
Is NH a science, using scientific methods?
- Listen to Dr. Shelton describe HOW he concluded that enemas were NOT helpful, rather the opposite. Using
(1) nature observations made by others, and
(2) nature observations in his own practice. And
And note how he in a similar way decides that lots of water-drinking in fasting is not necessary, by observing animals in nature.
More health without enemas
More detoxification, of blood &
tissues, without enemas
Dr. Herbert Shelton: from the article "Observations of Nature"
Hunters in the north woods learned many things about bears. They noticed their eating habits, the winter hibernation and the fact that, though they sleep through four or five months of winter, they do not foul their dens with bowel movements. Enema advocates should take notice of this four and five months without bowel movement.
The hunters noticed two other significant facts that have been fully confirmed by scientists. When they killed the bears in the spring, they always found a plug, which they called a "tappin" or a "dottle" in the rectum. They thought the bear prepared this stopper and placed it in the rectum before going to sleep for winter to prevent the escape of any of the food in the intestine.
Biologists, studying the matter, found this "tappin" to be a hardened piece of feces. It occurs automatically and not by intent. I have seen the same thing more than once in fasting patients.
Except in cases of hemorrhoids or incipient hemorrhoids, these plugs never give any trouble.
The second feature noticed by the hunters is that when a bear just settled for the winter is shot and the bowel opened the stench is "overpowering", the flesh "nauseating, fishy and unfit for food. " Jan Welzl, a hunter, says, in his Thirty 'Years in the Golden North, "It is useless to shoot him (the bear) at the beginning of his winter sleep, because he is then very fat, and has a disgusting smell of fish oil. The meat smells just as bad. "
But the picture is different at the end of the winter's sleep. Welzl says: "But at the end of the winter sleep he has used it (the fat) all up and then bear's meat is a delicious treat. " Canadian government biologists confirm this, saying, that by spring the bears flesh has undergone a complete and remarkable change. It has then become "the most sought after of all northern foods. " Very little residue is found in the alimentary tract. "The bowel was odorless" say the biologists, "and quite sterile. No cultures of any of the intestinal flora or bacilli could be obtained. "
Enema advocates are especially requested to notice the contrast between the foulness of the intestines and the unsavoriness of the flesh at the beginning of winter when regular bowel movements have been experienced and the odorlessness and sterility of the intestines and savoriness of the flesh after four to five months without a bowel movement.
I repeat: There is a wealth of valuable information to be gained by observing living nature. We cannot hope to learn about life by going always to the morgue. Dissecting frogs and cats and mounting butterflies is a poor introduction to the science of life.
"I found they recovered in less time, that they are more comfortable, and that bowel function after the fast is much more efficient, if enemas had not been used."
When I first read an article on fasting (back in 1911), I had been previously prepared to accept fasting by having seen many sick animals fast. I was not prepared to accept the supposed need for lots of water drinking in sickness and especially in acute illness. For, I had repeatedly observed that the acutely sick animal refuses water. I had actually attempted to force side cows to drink by taking them to the water and sticking their noses in it. Sometimes a sick animal will take a sip or two of water, but it does not drink much or often.
I accepted the enema, especially as a measure to be employed during the fast, and employed it for the first five years of my practice. But I could not close my eyes to it's many evils and it's unpleasantness. Finally, I began to think the matter over. I recalled that fasting animals did not use enemas. If they do not need them, I asked, why do my fasting patients need them.
I began a search of fasting literature. I discovered that Jennings, Graham, Trall, Dewey, Tanner and others had not employed it in caring for their fasting patients. I was told that their patients would have recovered sooner had they employed the enema. In view of the known and admitted enervating effect of enemas, this did not seem reasonable.
I still employed the enema. When I wrote Fundamentals as Nature Cure (1922) I advised the enema during the fast. When Dr. Claunch reviewed this book in Health First, he questioned the use of the enema. It is not a natural method, he pointed out. This was obvious. I decided to try omitting the enema during the fast. I did so cautiously at first, and for only short periods. Gradually I lengthened the periods between the enemas. Then, at the end of 1924, I discontinued their use.
Did I find that my patients required longer time in which to get well? Did I find that they developed symptoms of intestinal poisoning? No. I found
- they recovered in less time,
- that they are more comfortable without than with the enema, and
- that bowel function after the fast is much more efficient if enemas have not been used.
"The fasting body is capable of breaking up (digesting) all germs, viruses and parasites, visible and invisible and using them as food. It is fully capable of protecting itself."
If the fast has not been long, the first movement is often very foul. But this foulness never gets into the blood stream as is popularly believed. I once cared for a man who had used enemas so long they no longer induced bowel movements. He would take an enema one morning and expel the water the following morning.
There was never any evidence that any of this water was absorbed.
There were no symptoms of poisoning.
There was no decrease in the sense of thirst.
There was no increase in urination.
The amount of water expelled the following morning was the same as that injected the morning before.
If toxins are absorbed from the colon they would certainly be more readily and more abundantly absorbed when the feces are liquified, as in the above case, than when the feces are in semi-solid form. There is no more reason why the colon should (or does) absorb fecal matter held in it for some time than there is why the bladder should absorb urine held in it for hours before being voided.
The facts revealed by the study of the bears show that the fasting body is capable of breaking up (digesting) all germs, viruses and parasites, visible and invisible and using them as food. It is fully capable of protecting itself.
Observations of nature, both in the wild state, in the domestic state and in human beings are sufficient to show beyond doubt that the enema is not a necessary or a helpful expedient. Despite all the propaganda that has been employed to popularize the enema and all the claims that have been made for it, the enema is an evil.
Herbert M. Shelton, 1944, Hygienic Review --- click here for the complete article
Avoid enemas & colonics while fasting - 12-step fasting article by Dr. Shelton
Enemas waste energy - Read about the importance of rest during fasting - and why enemas, colon cleansing should be avoided - article by Dr. Shelton
"Observations of nature, both in the wild state, in the domestic state and in human beings are sufficient to show beyond doubt that the enema is not a necessary or a helpful expedient."
Another enema example
- this Natural Hygiene doctor also observes nature: himself.
Q: What about enemas while fasting?
A: Many years ago, when I first started out I fasted many times while using enemas (colon cleansing). My experiences were negative, I often got weak and dizzy and experienced two blackouts. So I stopped the enemas, and never had any problems after that. Later I found out the Drs. Cursio and Shelton had had similar experiences, and also recommended against enemas.
Dr. Stanley S. Bass
"My experiences were negative, I often got weak and dizzy and experienced two blackouts"