Nigel Antony Gray is a Scientologist who believes he can predict earthquakes and that the weather is controlled by the government - and recently that fidget spinners send out harmful "frequencies". Nigel has decided that he will allow skeptics to join his secretive Facebook group - Spiritual Awareness New Zealand - as long as they follow his instructions.
For me to be able to join, I need to purchase a copy of Scientology's "How to Use Dianetics" DVD for every member of the NZ Skeptics facebook group - over 2,000 people. Of course, I need to buy them from Nigel - presumably he's either making a profit or it's helping him climb the Scientology "bridge". As an aside, famous Scientologist Tom Cruise is in Christchurch at the moment for Mission Impossible 6 - I wonder if he'll visit the new Scientology building in Auckland while he's here.
For another Kiwi, Noel, apparently he needs to pay for me to have a colonic! This is a little strange, as the normal Scientology method of detox is called the Purification Rundown - and involves exercise, saunas and the ingestion of dangerous amounts of calcium and magnesium, known within Scientology as Cal-Mag.
On another side note, a few months ago I complained (opens new window) to the Advertising Standards Authority about a couple of websites run by New Zealand Scientologists including Nigel that were selling Cal-Mag. Both websites have now been taken down.
Back to the topic at hand - colonic irrigation - I thought that I could use this as an opportunity to look into the evidence for the procedure as a therapeutic treatment.
For those who don't know, a colonic irrigation (also known as colon therapy, colonic cleansing or colon hydrotherapy), there are some good descriptions on YouTube:
The idea behind why colonics are necessary is that toxins, food and other unwanted stuff gets stuck in the bowel and needs to be cleaned out. This assertion is simply not true, as the bowel is perfectly able to clear itself out and things don't get "stuck".
There is frequent mention of toxins in alternative medicine. There's a lot of scaremongering that is used to sell products - telling people that they have toxins inside of them that are making them ill, and that X product or service is a good way to flush those toxins out.
In the case of colon therapy, not only is there no evidence that it is a useful therapy, there is also good evidence of harm (opens new window).
The harm includes kidney failure, infections, gangrene and even death.
I thought that, as a follow on from last week where I looked into things that people put into their vaginas that they shouldn't, I'd do a quick google search of things people put in their rectums as an alternative therapy.
Coffee is one that was mentioned in the colonic description - you can also pay for a straight coffee enema:
"Coffee enema has no proven benefit and carries considerable risk of provoking unwanted complications"
Herbal enemas are also not recommended, and can lead to issues (opens new window).
This case report, written by Indian doctors, doesn't mince its words!
"A 57-year-old male patient presented with persistent massive bleeding per rectum for one month that developed immediately after administration of herbal enema by a religious quack"
There are also (opens new window) ozone enemas, vinegar enemas, oil enemas and alcohol enemas:
As with last week's advice, I would advise not to put anything unusual in your rectum for medical purposes until you've asked the opinion of a medical professional, such as your GP.