There are negative and positive sides for everything. You need to dig deeper and find the basis for both sides. I found an article that discusses the references sited by the NCAHF Position Paper on colonic Irrigation. It is titled colonic Irrigations: A Review of the Historical Controversy and the Potential for Adverse Effects. written by: Douglas G. Richards, Ph.D., David L. McMillin, M.A., Eric A. Mein, M.D., and Carl D. Nelson, D.C. Meridian Institute
I will post only parts of the article that pertain directly to the NCAHFs paper, because it is very long. I will also include a link to the article.
The introduction to the Meridian article is as follows:
Colonic irrigations enjoy widespread popularity in the alternative medicine community, while being viewed with considerable skepticism by the conventional medical community. The medical objections include a belief that scientific research has proven that colonics are not effective therapy, and that they pose a high risk of serious adverse effects (e.g., infection, perforation of the wall of the colon) (Ernst, 1997). Furthermore there is a concern that those administering colonics are primarily unlicensed, non-medical practitioners who make exaggerated claims of health benefits, “quacks” (Barrett, 2004; Jarvis, 2004). Our interest arose from the need for information on the safety and efficacy of colonics for informed consent for clinicians and researchers. We found that there is very little information on either the safety or efficacy of colonic irrigations, and that modern sources have not addressed the historical debate among medical professionals.
The goal of this paper is to provide a balanced perspective for clinicians and researchers through a review of the historical information on the safety and efficacy of colonic irrigations, and bring in relevant information on adverse effects from related procedures (e.g., enemas and sigmoidoscopies). Although there have been many books promoting colonic irrigations and making claims of efficacy for a wide variety of conditions (e.g., Tyrrell, 1913; Jensen, 19xx), this paper will look primarily at the peer-reviewed literature, rather than attempting to evaluate those claims.
Studies done in the 1920s found that "high colonic irrigations" were useless and did not reach very high even when fairly long tubes were employed (Snyder, Americal Journal Roentgenol & Radiation Therapy, 1927; 17:27-43).
Snyders 1927 studies were concerning arthritis. The paper by the Meridian Institute states: Snyder and Fineman’s perspective is that in a subset of cases of arthritis, the lack of response to conventional treatment may be due to toxin absorption from the gastrointestinal track. Snyder and Fineman cite several clinicians in addition to Pemberton who have this perspective (Persson, 1923; Smith, 1922; Carter 1923; Forbes 1924). Thus as late as 1927, the autointoxication hypothesis has not gone away. Snyder and Fineman clearly state that the colon is not the etiologic factor in all cases of arthritis, but that, based on clinical experience, “when indicated the elimination of colonic stasis has been of definite value in the management of the disease” (p. 28). Snyder and Fineman also give a call for research: “The ascertainment, however, of the exact value of each factor in this system of irrigations is a difficult matter and will require prolonged study with carefully checked controls in a large series of cases” (p. 31). This is a strong contrast to those physicians who simply dismiss colonics as “quackery.”
NCAHF paper states: In 1985, the Infectious Disease Branch of the California Department of Health Services stated that "neither physicians nor chiropractors should be performing colonic irrigations. We are not aware of any scientifically proven health benefit of this procedure, yet we are well aware of its hazards." (Kizer, 1985) Hazards include illness and death by contamination of colonics equipment (Istre, 1982); death by electrolyte depletion (Eisele, 1980), (Ballentine, 1981).
Franklin (1981) in a Questions and Answers column in JAMA, responded to a question about the efficacy and safety of colonics with two answers. For efficacy, he looked at three major gastroenterology texts (from 1976 to 1978) which revealed no mention of colonic irrigations as a therapeutic technique (i.e., no mention either for or against their use), and concluded that there is no rationale for their use. For safety he referred to a single report on the adverse effects of repeated (every two hours) coffee enemas (Eisele & Reay, 1980); however, the concerns regarding fluid and electrolyte problems from such extreme measures have little relevance to colonics as normally administered.
I also recommend the article from the Medical Journalist Report of Innovative Biologics, titled: VALUE OF COLON HYDROTHERAPY VERIFIED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS PRESCRIBING IT. Written by By Morton Walker, DPM