Vol. 6 No. 6
Meridian Institute News
RESEARCHING THE SPIRIT-MIND-BODY CONNECTION
Colonic Irrigation Project Update
We have been making great progress with the Colonic Irrigation Project (See the July 2002 issue of this newsletter for background).
A colonic irrigation is a gentle infusion of warm, filtered water into the rectum to cleanse the large bowel and promote peristaltic action. Although the procedure has ample historical documentation and is advocated by many alternative medicine practitioners, there is little direct data on the safety and efficacy on this therapy.
To begin the process of addressing this deficiency in documentation, the first phase of our colonic irrigation project is a preliminary study intended to develop psychometric instruments that measure experiences of people getting a colonic irrigation at the A.R.E. Health Services Department. The first phase has also generated some important preliminary data on the experience itself.
During the past six months over 100 people have participated in the study. The results have been very encouraging, as described below. The majority of participants feel that the colonic irrigation was a very positive experience.
Two questionnaires were used, one filled out by participants immediately after the colonic irrigation, and one filled out and returned a week later. The response rate for the one-week follow-up was about 50%, which is excellent for a mail-in form.
The reports immediately following the colonic irrigation have been overwhelmingly positive on items like ?relaxation,? and ?general well-being.? They have also indicated a low incidence of side-effects such as cramping.
The one-week follow-up results are also very positive. The graph (see above) shows the positive (improved) and negative (got worse) outcomes reported. This includes any change (e.g., even slight changes).
Most of the participants reported improvements in sleep, clarity of thought, energy level, and general well-being; only a few reported feeling slightly worse. Most of the people reported no change or not applicable for the other items.
Of those reporting, for some items like indigestion most people reported improvement, whereas for other items like intestinal gas, some people had more and some had less. For most of these items, the intensity of the change was small. In addition, there were occasionally comments, like that of one woman who reported greater anxiety, but said it was probably due to going back to work after a vacation in Virginia Beach.
Based on the encouraging results of the first phase of the project, we will now proceed to the second stage by refining our questionnaires and procedures. For example, several participants noted that the original questionnaire was somewhat ambiguous regarding items like ?abdominal pressure,? which might go up during the colonic, and then release. In response to this feedback the questionnaire has been modified for future data collection to be more sensitive to the timing of experiences both during and immediately after the colonic irrigation.
We wish to acknowledge and thank the staff of the A.R.E. Health Services Department who have been terrific in the recruitment of participants and collection of data.