See previous parts for important information.

What is the History of Enemas?

Although we do not have direct evidence, many archaeologists believe that the ancient Egyptians practiced a form of enema therapy, which they thought was passed down from the Gods.  Herodotus, the famous Greek chronicler, described the common use of enemas in Egypt.

a ancient egypt

 

In ancient Babylon and Assyria they used colon cleansing as their tablets mention what we would call enemas.  

a babylonian tablet

These writing are dated as early as 600 B.C.

In the Susruta Samhita, a Hindu medical text, we find references to enema syringes and other items related to this therapy.

Around the fourth and fifth century the Greek physician Hippocrates, one of the three fathers of modern medicine, mentions the use of enemas in his text, On Regimen in Acute Disease.  He suggested that they were particularly good for fighting fever and as well as other medical problems.

Following the lead of Hippocrates, the Roman physician, Asclepiades relied on enemas as his therapy of first choice for removing intestinal paracites, relieving constipation, and addressing fever.   

It is widely known that ancient Africans considered the enema a first choice for many problems.  

In the middle ages the rich and royals believed in the enema as almost a health necessity.  For example in 1480, Louis XI’s apoplexy was lessened, after receiving an enema.  The king was so impressed with the results of is enemas that he had his pet dogs treated to enemas whenever there was the slightest hint of a problem.  

I had a friend whose mother was like that.  He did not dare tell her he did not feel good, because he knew what she would do about it.  But after studying about enemas, she may have been practicing good medicine, and at worst it would not hurt.

The 17th century Parisian society embraced enemas as sort of a frenzied fade.  One writer called this age of enemas. They thought internal colon cleansing through colon hydrotherapy provided the key to wellness.

The French King Louis XIV’s doctor recorded 2000 enemas that were given to the king.

The advent of laxatives began the decline of enemas.  The doctors found that less trouble for them.  Just give the patient a dose and leave.   But they were forgetting about the other usages and benefits of enemas also.  

A renaissance of enemas was begun by Dr. John H. Kellogg.  

a john H. Kellogg

He started using enemas again.  He had some 40,000 patients with gastrointestinal problems and never had to do surgery.  Why?  He was doing medicinal enemas instead.  He was the real doctor behind the fictional doctor in the movie, The Road to Wellville.   
Later in the 1950’s colon hydrotherapy became popular, and the fade turned Beverly Boulevard in California into what was called “Colonic row”. It is said that Mae West had an enema every day.  But that fade subsided by the middle 1960’s.  

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