According to those who prefer salt water flushes, toxins that enter the colon during a fast are removed from the body entirely via the salt water flush. However, potential risks are involved as well: dehydration, muscle spasms, seizures, heart problems, numbness, and other hazardous situations could occur. Before attempting a salt water flush, a doctor should be consulted.
What is a Salt Water Cleanse?
A salt water flush occurs when a person drinks a combination of warm water and non-iodized salt. This mixture has a laxative effect and is a method of treating constipation and bloating. It is also used to detoxify the colon during a fast or another type of cleanse.
Salt water cleanses gained popularity within the last 10-15 years. Initially, they were designed to be a prep for a “master cleanse,” which is a liquid-only juice fast. Today, many perform salt water cleanses to specifically help the body’s natural detoxification and waste systems work more efficiently. The bowel movements caused by salt water cleanses are believed to remove toxins, parasites, and other particles that are trapped or lodged in the colon. Many believe salt water cleanses help a person feel less sluggish, weighed down, and lighter overall.
Effects of a Salt Water Colon Cleanse
The effects of salt water cleanses have been the focus of many studies:
A study on the effects of a salt water flush for colonoscopies found that the results of the cleanse were comparable to patients who were given a commercial polyethylene glycol solution. The study also noted the salts achieved excellent bowel cleansing with “acceptable tolerability and minimal electrolyte shifts.” Researchers concluded the study saying both patients and endoscopists should be pleased with the use of salt water cleanses in lieu of traditional applications.
Salt water flushes play a crucial role in Shankha Prakshalana, which translated means “cleansing of the counch.” Shankha Prakshalana is an ancient yoga practice, where saline water is consumed, immediately followed by performing various movements to stimulate bowel movement. In addition to cleansing the gastrointestinal tract, the ancient yoga practice provided a psychological boost and feelings of rejuvenation. 
Salt Water and Constipation
Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea. For some individuals, constipation can affect their quality of life (this is especially true of older individuals). It is estimated that 4 million people in the United States have frequent bouts of constipation annually.
There are many potential causes of constipation, with two being irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Other causes of constipation include the following:
Diet: Diet can play a factor in constipation as well: a lack of fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables and not drinking enough water are potential causes.
Neurological causes: Memory, brain, and spinal cord conditions can cause constipation.
Anorectal disorders: Anal diseases that could cause or increase the risk of constipation include anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and anal strictures.
Metabolic and endocrine causes: Pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and hypercalcemia can cause constipation.
Salt water flush has been used to alleviate constipation, with most bowel movements within thirty minutes of consuming the mixture.
Salt Water and Bloating
Bloating occurs when the gastrointestinal tract becomes filled with air or liquid. Abdominal distension can occur with bloating, but studies have shown it only occurs in approximately half of all cases. There are several potential causes of bloating:
Food intolerance/Carbohydrate malabsorption: lactose intolerance has been shown to cause constipation. Also, those diagnosed with IBD can experience constipation when consuming too much fiber.
Abnormal Abdominal-diaphragmatic reflexes. Studies indicate there may be a connection between bloating, diaphragm contractions, and relaxation of the internal oblique muscle.
Salt Water Detox Recipe
The following ingredients are needed to perform a salt water detox:
- Two teaspoons of sea salt (pink Himalayan salt or pure salt) Note: do not use iodized salt
- 1 liter of filtered water
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- One glass jar w/lid
How to Perform a Salt Water Flush
After preparing the ingredients, the flush directions are as follows:
- Drink the ingredients quickly.
- Lay down on one side, massaging one side of your abdomen
- Switch sides and massage the other side of your abdomen
- Attempt to refrain from going to the bathroom for 30 minutes
After the cleanse, replenish the healthy bacteria by consuming nutrient-dense foods and/or take a probiotic supplement.
Risks Associated with the Salt Water Flush
While salt water flushes are gaining in popularity, studies are still ongoing regarding its safety and effectiveness. When dealing with colon conditions that are chronic or appear to be serious, consulting with a doctor is strongly advised. Colon issues could be linked to a variety of other health conditions in the body6]. A salt water flush may worsen preexisting conditions.
Dehydration: Drinking salt water could cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This is due to the rapid loss of fluids and sodium.
Nausea: A salt water flush can cause nausea, especially if performed on an empty stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should I Do a Salt Water Flush?
A salt water flush should be done on an empty stomach. First thing in the morning before eating is the most popular time to do it. Two hours after eating later in the day is also acceptable.
Is It OK to Eat Before a Salt Water Flush?
A salt water flush should be done on an empty stomach. The rapid intake of salt on a full stomach could cause nausea and vomiting.
What Kind of Salt Should I Use for a Cleanse?
Non-iodized salt (such as Himalayan pink salt) is best for a salt water cleanse. Iodized and processed salt is ineffective.
How Long Does a Salt Water Cleanse Take?
A person can expect a significant bowel movement within 30 minutes of ingesting the salt water. Some people have just one bowel movement, while others experience multiple bowel movements over several hours. Each person is different.
A salt water cleanse is a natural way to release toxins from the body. It is also used by many to alleviate other problems as well, such as with constipation and bloating. Salt water cleanses work quickly, causing bowel movements within 30 minutes of consumption, removing parasites, toxins, and other particles that are trapped or lodged in the colon. Salt water cleanses have been used for centuries, but recently gained popularity as part of a master cleanse. There are potential side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and high blood pressure. While many tout their benefits, talking to a doctor is advised before trying a salt water cleanse.
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