Differences Between
Open and Closed Systems

If you read the ENTIRE section you will have your answers to the questions: WHICH SYSTEM IS BETTER? and WHY? once and for all!

There is a large variety of equipment that can be used to perform Colon Hydrotherapy.

These days the most popular equipment on the market are Class II devices: Closed and Open Systems. These are FDA-approved, state-of-the-art machines with top-of-the-line filtration systems and disposable tubing for your safety.

Colonic Irrigation System (from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)Sec. 876.5220)
Identification. A colonic irrigation system is a device intended to instill water into the colon through a nozzle inserted into the rectum to cleanse (evacuate) the contents of the lower colon. The system is designed to allow evacuation of the contents of the colon during the administration of the colonic irrigation. The device consists of a container for fluid connected to the nozzle via tubing and includes a system which enables the pressure, temperature, or flow of water through the nozzle to be controlled. The device may include a console-type toilet and necessary fittings to allow the device to be connected to water and sewer pipes. The device may use electrical power to heat the water. The device does not include the enema kit (Sec. 876.5210).
Classification. Class II when the device is intended for colon cleansing when medically indicated, such as before radiological or endoscopic examinations.1

Class II Open System

Class II Open System

Class II Closed Sytem

Class II Closed System

There are also Class I Kits which consist of a board that is placed over a regular toilet with a large capacity enema bag in a room with a general vent system for the whole room.

Class I Enema Board

Toilet with Class I Home Colonic Kit attached

Enema Kit (from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 876.5210)
Identification. An enema kit is a device intended to instill water or other fluids into the colon through a nozzle inserted into the rectum to promote evacuation of the contents of the lower colon. The device consists of a container for fluid connected to the nozzle either directly or via tubing. This device does not include the colonic irrigation system (Sec. 876.5220).
Classification.Class I. The device is exempt from the premarket notification procedures. The device is exempt from the current good manufacturing practice regulations. 1

I personally haven't had any experience with any of the colonic boards or other methods other than with Closed and Open Systems. Therefore, you would have to do your own research to find out what is involved in having a session in places which still administer "colonics" using those methods.

By being certified and having practiced on the Open and Closed Systems myself, I am confident enough to talk about some of the major differences between them, and to clarify for you why one is more preferable for most clients than the other.

I see where most practitioners will make strong statements about how much more effective their system is versus the other.

What actually happens is that the colonic schools will have a device for their students to practice on during the course, and it is usually one of the Open or Closed System machines. The school then emphasizes all the benefits of that particular system and how the other system can not achieve the same great results. Of course, most of the therapists after graduating from school will buy the type of equipment they were trained on, believing that it is the best.

Most colonic places that I call have a strong negative opinion about the competing system without having any personal experience with it. When I ask how they know that the other type of system is inferior, they say that “they covered that in school”.

Having practiced on both systems I now strongly believe that they are both equally effective, and they operate on the same basic concept. However, it is the therapist who operates the system and his/her method of administering the procedure that matters the most. Both Closed and Open Systems are gravity-pressurized; they use temperature-regulated water, with a high quality, built-in filtration system, and the sanitation should be equally strict. The process does not involve the retention of water; and usually an abdominal massage is given during a session to stimulate the colon to recover its natural shape, tone, and peristaltic wave action.

Even though both Closed and Open Systems will do the same job, there are, however, some significant differences that make one system much more preferable for most people.

Let me take you through a session on each of those two systems and you can decide for yourself which one is more appealing to you.

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Your session on the Closed system usually begins with disrobing in private from the waist down. Most places will give you a gown to change into, because accidents during a session do happen. As much as I hate to say that, it is true. Then you lie down on the table, which is a regular massage table, without any vent system built-in. If the therapist is experienced you will more than likely have a smooth, accident-free session.

By the time the therapist returns to the treatment room you are laying on the table on your left-hand side with your knees bent (looking to your right). So, there is some exposure that some people would rather avoid if they would have a choice.


Getting Ready for Colonic on a Closed System

The therapist will then pre-lubricate and insert the rectal tube into your rectum.

Here is the number one concern most first-time clients (especially men!) have – the size of the tube that will be used during the session. Most people don't care how the machine works as long as it is effective, but the fear of the size of the tube is what stops them from even considering to try the therapy.

open and closed system rectal tubes

Rectal Tubes: Closed System (top), Open System (bottom)

Look to your left to compare the actual size of the tubes that each system uses. If you were never aware of the choices and already had a session with the Closed System, you were probably not even aware of the size of the tube that was used for the session (usually the therapist wouldn’t even show you). And like I said, both systems are equally effective. It is a matter of preference.

The rectal tube for the Closed system is up to 5 inch long and this is pretty much how far it will be inserted into the rectum. The diameter of it is big enough to ensure that the whole opening of the anus muscle (sphincter) will be blocked during the entire session and hopefully guarantee no leakage around the tube and on to the table.

If you look at some YouTube videos about colon hydrotherapy sessions on the Closed system you probably have noticed that the therapist holds the tube with one hand during the whole session to ensure that the tube will stay in place. This means that YOU CAN NOT HAVE A PRIVATE SESSION (i.e., be by yourself) WITH THE CLOSED SYSTEM.

The practitioner uses their other hand to operate the unit – rotating cycles of filling you up with water and opening the valves to release the content of your colon.

By the way, EVERY TIME you feel full and need to release the water you have to tell the technician, so he/she will open the valves on the unit for the contents of your colon to flow out.

To avoid leakages and accidents ('blow-outs') on a table the 'filling' cycle is usually done on a slow flow mode, which means that the therapist will fill your colon up with water slowly. In this case the water can get further up into the colon without creating a lot of pressure, therefore not triggering the peristalsis right away (meaning you do not have the urge to push right away).

Any experienced therapist will tell you that an abdominal massage during a session will speed-up the evacuation of old, well-loaded fecal matter.

In order for a technician to give you a massage he/she has to free one of their hands, and it is usually the hand that operates the unit, stopping the 'filling and releasing' cycle. (There is actually a way to free the hand that holds the tube if you know how to secure it under the buttocks).

This actually works to your advantage. While you are full of water, you are getting a massage which, if it is given correctly, will break loose the old deposits.

The method of filling the colon with a very slow flow and massaging the abdomen while the colon is full is indeed very effective. Because of this technique, there is a belief that the Closed system is much more effective than the Open system.

This is, my friends, only half of the truth! Unfortunately people are not aware that this technique can be easily administered on BOTH systems!

Now let's sum up some of the facts:

  1. While you are laying on the table you are not moving at all. Therefore, an abdominal massage or gently 'shaking' the colon will get more waste out sooner, and you will need fewer visits (which will save you money).
  2. A 20-30 min. massage (which is a lot easier to administer on the Open System) will be much more beneficial than a 5-7 min. massage.
  3. An impacted colon is like a dirty bottle, you need water in it to rinse it out. So your colon has to have water in it during a massage.
  4. While your colon is full of water, the peristalsis will kick in, and start to push the water out.
  5. The next thing you know – there is no water in the colon, and you need another fill.
  6. While you are getting another fill you can not have a massage at the same time because most technicians will need their hand back to operate the unit.

What most people do not understand is that the therapist can usually perform only one task at a time, which will cause the whole cleansing process to take more sessions.

Wouldn't it be nice to find a way to not have to hold the tube at all; and be able to slow down the water flow to fill up the WHOLE colon; and to have the therapist massage you abdomen at the same time without interruption, so you could release much more and be done sooner?


Talking about disadvantages, I need to point out at another very important fact.

Look closely again at the Closed System Tube:

closed system rectal tube

As I mentioned before, the tube for the Closed System once it is inserted, it completely blocks the opening of the anus; therefore the filling and releasing is going to be only through that tube.

You can see that there are two openings near the tip of the tube. All of your feces must pass into these two holes which are approximately 5/8-inch diameter. This is a fraction of the diameter of what usually comes out when we defecate.

Most people's decision to have a colonic is based on a feeling of being constipated and impacted. Which means that they have two kinds of feces in their colon: one is 'fresh-formed' and the other is composed of very dense, old, impacted matter. The 'fresh-formed' stool will break down when it absorbs some of the water that would be introduced into the colon and will have an easier time passing through the tube and into the sewer. The 'dense old' chunks will not have enough time to soften right away. Once it is moved out of its place it will be forced out of the colon by peristaltic waves.

Now, you have all these hard 'balls and chunks' trying to come out and getting stuck at the 'exit', because the opening in the tube is not big enough! (If you take a look at the picture you can easily see it yourself). The pressure inside of your colon is building up, and there is no place to release other than on the table (needless to say there is no 'built-in' vent system). That is when the therapist will gently take the tube out, and you make sure that you hold your 'cheeks' tight while you are getting off the table, and go to the restroom.

While you are sitting there the appointment time is ticking away. After you are done there, if you still have enough time left, you can get back on the table, the therapist will reinsert the tube and the session will continue. Unfortunately most places will offer you 30-45 min. cleansing time per visit.

This is where you would need to buy a package of 5-10 colonics.

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Your session on the Open system usually begins with disrobing in private from the waist down. You will be able to keep most of your top clothing on. Before the therapist steps out he/she will explain to you how to get on the table and put the rectal tube in. It is very easy to do. You will be given some kind of lubricant and fresh sheet to cover yourself during the session. So, there is no exposure, unless you need assistance with putting the tube in.

By the time the therapist returns to the treatment room you are all covered and the session begins. (Please read 'Your Appointment' section to get all the details).

The Open system’s specially-designed, tailored table has a built-in vent system, which will GUARANTEE a smell-free session for both the client and the therapist in any circumstance. All the knobs to control the water temperature, the flow, and flusher jet to flush your releases (which works pretty much like your own toilet), are within your reach. You can have total control over your session if you choose to..

Most regular clients like their session in private, so they can read, listen to a music, or meditate while they are cleansing.

The size of a rectal tube is as small as a pencil and will go in only as far as 1 to 1.5 inches (see the picture comparing the 2 tubes above). You can hardly feel it. Because it is so small, its opening can carry only water. During the session you will be repeatedly receiving water through the tube into the colon and releasing all the contents of your colon naturally, around the tube and out. ANY SIZE of feces can be released easily and naturally. There is no need to interrupt the session to go to the restroom! Everything that is being released, is now being passed into the sewer system.

Like I mentioned above, slowing down the water flow will give you superb results. You just need to know when to adjust the flow. Everybody responds to the treatment differently, that is why there is no set-time that will work for all clients.

On your first visit I will guide you through the whole process, so you will understand when is the best time for you to change the water flow. Since everybody responds to the treatment differently, there is no set-time that will work for all clients.

It is also nice that you can release (or push the water out) at any time YOU want, without a need to inform the therapist.

The massage is also a very important part. The Open system will allow a therapist to have free hands during the whole session. Therefore clients can get massages for up to 20-30 minutes straight without interruption!

For those who prefer solitude I can show you what to do and how to massage the abdomen, so that you can get the best results. But if you ask me I would prefer to assist you on your treatments, since I am a little more experienced in this field.

IMPORTANT! While you are very gently but constantly getting water into your colon, the peristaltic waves are constantly pushing the water out. Having a constant massage DURING this process will flush your system in fewer sessions. Also, keep in mind that you will not waste any time having to get off the table to go use the bathroom. You are on the table, uninterrupted, for up to one hour, with or without a therapist (at least this is what we offer to our clients).

One of the strong points that Closed System schools like to emphasize about Open Systems is that “the clients who get colonic on the Open device have to sit in a pile of their own feces during the session”

This is not correct.

Once you expel whatever it is (feces, mucous, water, parasites, bacteria, gas, etc.), everything goes down the drain and into a sewer (don't forget, there is a built-in, odorless vent system). Releasing the body's waste during the colon hydrotherapy session is equal to a trip to a bathroom. You do not expect to be dry while you are on the toilet. After all, next to the toilet there is a toilet paper for you to wipe yourself after you done, to maintain personal hygiene. The Open system unit has a built-in sprayer hose for you to rinse yourself with AFTER the session. You will be COMPLETELY clean before you get dressed. This is a very nice feature since some people do get colonics on their lunch breaks, or before going out on a date (to get a flat stomach, get tighter more hydrated skin, or just to feel better).

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It is very difficult to try to cover every little detail. But these are the main points. And of course everybody is going to have their own unique experience due to the combination of the location of the place, its atmosphere, the way they were greeted, the therapist’s experience level, the bed-side manner of the therapist, the type of system, and their own mood that day.

These are some of the reasons why we decided to work with the Open System at New Life Health & Wellness Center. I now feel like I have given you enough pros and cons for you to be able to make your own decision. Like I said earlier - they are both effective. It is a matter of preference of what kind of experience you would be more comfortable with.


1) http://www.i-act.org/Resources/SOPa.pdf

   Standard Operating Procedures, Regulations & Guidelines of the International Association for

   Colon Hydrotherapy (I-ACT), Equipment Classification, 3-4 pg

Disclaimer: Information on this website is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, or treat a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for medical care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your primary care provider.

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