Sheila Shea MA

Getting It Out: It’s NOT A Gas!

Having some gas is a normal part of intestinal health and functioning. Excessive and /or painful gas is not. The intestines register pain from gas before pain from inflammation, adhesion or ulceration. I think this is the body’s way of saying, “Pay attention to gas pain, understand the cause of it, then alleviate it properly.”

What Does Gas Do?
The bottom line: gas is frequently difficult to get out of the large intestines during a colonic. It can inhibit the release of stool. It forms it own wall. It can be a major obstruction. It can weaken, stretch and twist the gut walls. It can crowd or displace organs. It can restrict the circulatory system through its pressure. It can definitely affect the quality of your life. It reflects a pathogenic microbial overgrowth.

Gas is an obstruction. Most clients are confounded when they realize sometimes they have to clear the gas before they clear the solid waste. Gas is a wall the water bumps up against when the water enters the rectum. Sometimes, we clear some waste out then the water hits a gas pocket and releasing stops. Releasing comes to a standstill until we get the gas out.

When people are filled with gas they feel: bloated, distended, inflated, knife pain, tight, tension, about to pop, burning pain, fogged out, low energy, or immobilized. Most people that report gas or do not know they have excessive gas describe themselves as bloated. Some arrive with incredible pressure in their gut and they do not know what is causing it. Some are overweight and obese with very distended abdomens. Others may be slender but have developed an overgrowth from lifestyle habits. Their abdomens may feel very tight or very puffy to the touch. With one female client during her colonic, I used the side or Left Sims position to release her voluminous gas. When she came in 2 days later, she said she felt great after the colonic because she had a flat tummy. She had been so bloated, distended and inflated before and was living with it. Some come in for their colonic and they feel like they could pop or explode. They can’t zip their pants. The excess gas can be an extremely distressing state. You miss out on relaxation, expression, interaction and quality of life with the bloated gut.

Gas can be an ‘obstruction’ in a your life whether you are at work, having sexual relations with your partner, maintaining an active social life, working out regularly or trying to meditate. You might be uncomfortable, not wanting to focus, move, have sex, socialize or even think. And, interestingly enough, some of you will continue to eat through the discomfort.

What's causing all this gas?

The subject is excessive gas not the small and normal amount from digestion. According to Elaine Gottschall in her groundbreaking work, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, the excessive gas is caused from a microbial overgrowth. Bacteria and fungi migrate from the large to the small intestines to feed mainly on complex sugars or complex carbohydrates that the person is not breaking down with normal human digestion. The microbes feed on the complex sugars. This kind of digestion is called fermentation digestion. The fermentation by-products are gases, acids and other metabolites that are toxic to the system. In order to heal, we need to stop feeding the pathogens and take in good bacteria or probiotic.

Basic functions of the GI system are secretion, digestion, absorption and motion. Which of these functions is affected by these causes?

  • Improper food combinations. Major violations: fruits with complex carbohydrates / complex carbs with protein.
  • Drinking fluids with meals dilutes the digestive enzymes.
  • Fast and thoughtless eating without chewing properly.
  • Processed foods, added sugars, and seed oils
  • Overeating, food addiction, and eating disorder
  • Accumulation of waste in the system, slow transit, constipation
  • Carbohydrate indigestion or inability to break down complex sugars and starches
  • Allergies
  • Overabundance of pathogenic bacteria, virus and fungi; imbalanced microbiome
  • Insufficient digestive secretions from the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, stomach and small intestines.
  • Insufficient exercise therefore lack of tone in the abdominal muscles. Exercise stimulates peristalsis (muscle motion) and circulation in the intestinal tract and digestive organs.
  • Stress causes shutdown of the alimentary tract.

How to alleviate the gas

  • Use herbs, digestive enzymes, or charcoal.
  • Practice breathing exercises.
  • Meditate.
  • Abdominal massage.
  • Take enemas and/or colon hydrotherapy treatments.
  • Fasting, Time Restricted Eating
  • Take a hot and/or detox bath.
  • Avoid complex sugars and starches.
  • Cleansing and Detoxing: colon hydrotherapy, enemas, detoxes of intestines,
 liver, parasites
  • Complex carbohydrate free diets: see links
  • Exercising: keep moving
  • Keeping stress-free: good luck
  • Avoiding environmental toxins
  • Eating Real Food
  • Chewing
  • Avoid eating all day long, late night eating, overeating, overlapping 
meals, 5-6 small feedings daily.


Diets to reduce gas and heal the gut

The diets for reducing the gas and restoring a normal balance of intestinal flora are free of processed foods, added sugars, seed oils and complex sugars. One male, 40’s, had such severe gas it made his life miserable at work and pretty much killed his social life. He was in pain. This situation had been going on 13 years when he came in. He chose to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to reduce his gas and heal his gut. It took him about 10 months to begin to see progress. However, there were good signs from the beginning that he was getting progressively better. The moral of this story is that it takes time to heal, to change the patterns, to create the right microbial balance in the gut. The quality to cultivate is patience. (SCD Specific Carbohydrate Diet) (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)

Paleodiet by Lauren Cordain

Ketogenic and Carnivore protocol

Gas and importance of breath during colon hydrotherapy

Deflation-Inflation and Inhalation-Exhalation!

Inflation and deflation occur in the gut when the colon hydrotherapy is able to relieve the gas. Clients come in ‘inflated.’ It’s hard to get anything out of the large intestines or colon because the high volume gas serves as an obstruction. Most clients who experience a release of this excessive gas are not aware that they have this high volume. What I am referring to is that 95% of what is released during the session is GAS, not stool, mucus or particles. The state of being full of gas I call ‘inflation.’ When this happens, I have the client go from their back to a left side position called Left Sims. We use a low inflow rate and the gas pours out on each outflow. I ‘deflate’ the person. Deflation refers to the reduction of gas during the colonic procedure.

Gas is the effluent created by pathogenic bacteria and fungi that feed on your consumption of processed foods and complex sugars. Read foods based on grains, beans, starchy roots such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and white sugar and milk products. Gas may also be created by bacterial and fungal imbalances caused by antibiotics and steroids. Elaine Gottschall in her book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, describes the diet and science to alleviate the gas situation. Excessive gas weakens the walls of the gut. Gas can stretch the intestines
 creating redundancy, or extra lengths, loops, coils and prolapses in the gut. In its most severe form, it can twist the loops of the bowel. Even more reason to avoid creating gas. It will also sap your energy. Your food is not being converted into your energy. It is converted to gasses, acids and other metabolities. You wonder why you feel fatigue. Change the diet, add fermented foods or probiotic, receive colon hydrotherapy and begin to reduce the gas.

I would take deflation over inflation for obvious health reasons. another spin on inflation and deflation that is positive and something you can practice on the colonic table as well as every living moment. The breath. Inhalation is the inflation. Exhalation is the deflation. Stay focused on that. The inflation creates spaciousness in the gut and energy. The deflation creates a sense of relaxation. You are exercising your gut. That’s a good thing!

Educating Colon Hydrotherapists

We have had to develop a protocol for getting gas out of the large intestines because it is such a problem. We have a host of techniques we use when the client rests on their side or their back. The issue is so prevalent that students need to be educated and trained in how to deal with it in their practice.

How do I know if I have a gas case? If gas is an issue during the colonic process, I will hear it from the beginning, or I cannot get very much water in or I start to get good releases and then nothing else comes out. The gradations of what clients feel vary. Some do not feel the gas at all yet they have an abundance during the colonic session. Some clients feel some gas yet are shocked to find out how much gas comes out of them during a colonic. Some clients feel very uncomfortable with gas and may release an excessive amount during the colonic.

I notice that it does not come out easily during the colonic process while they are laying in the traditional colonic position on their back. I believe the bowels are so stretched and weakened by the continuous gas bloating that their colon muscles do not have the energy to move and release the gas. However, we are able to get the gas out in Left Sims position. If the gas is prevented from coming out by the weakening and stretching of the walls, so is the ability to eliminate stool. Some individuals have gas and that does come out during the session with all the solid waste. Those individuals have stronger colon muscles and very often, better lifestyle habits meaning diet and exercise. Some of them have done a series of colonics. Their bowels are strengthened and they are able to release more spontaneously and easily.

Two clients have reported painful gas a few hours after they received a colonic during which the contents of the large intestines or colon evacuated thoroughly. I have thought about this phenomenon and I speculate that the ‘overgrowth’ theory in likely in operation. We remove the gas and other waste products during the colonic. However, gas continues to form in the small intestines. The gas will move into the large intestines as the day progresses now that it has been emptied by the colonic. Likely, gas is continuously forming because the fermentation process is so active.

If the theory of gas moving into the cells is accurate that might explain why more gas pours into the intestines after a colonic. Diffusion allows the high volume gas in the cells to move into the intestines which now have a low volume gas.

What is the best colonic position to relieve gas?
We find that Left Sims position is the best posture to relieve gas. I ask the client to roll onto their left side with knees drawn toward the chest or the left leg stretched straight and the right drawn slightly toward chest. The water pressure is low is both the Left Sims and Back position.

Herbs From the Colonic Kitchen

While perusing Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, I found some culinary tips on plants which aid the digestive system. Give them a try in salads, juiced, or as a tea.

ANISE: a tea brewed from the crushed seeds can relieve digestive disorders and cramps.

BASIL: from the Greek word for king, is an effective remedy for a variety of digestive disorders, including stomach cramps, vomiting, and constipation. More pesto, please!

CARAWAY: soothing for gas and other stomach disorders. Toss a few seeds in your next soup or stew.

CARDAMOM: a standard ingredient of curry. It stimulates the production of gastric juices, improves metabolism, and even helps relieve gas.

CELERY: has a calming effect on the digestive system, relieving gas and indigestion. Try a pint juiced.

DILL: best known as a digestive aid and remedy for a sour, gassy stomach.

FENNEL: similar in taste to anise, used to relieve gas, too. Sold fresh in most supermarkets, it can be juiced or chopped into salads.

GARLIC: a powerful digestive aid and gas reliever. It’s an antibiotic and works on the pathogenic bacteria.

GINGER: a time-proven remedy for upset stomach, indigestion and cramps. Fresh ginger and orange juice are the basis for the oriental sweet and sour sauce and salad dressings.

OLIVE OIL: an excellent laxative, and it stimulates the production of liver bile.

PAPAYA: breaks down and metabolizes protein and relieves indigestion.

PARSLEY: a natural antispasmodic which helps to settle the stomach after a meal. It’s great juiced with carrot, or minced in salads.

PEPPERMINT: lessens the amount of time food spends in the stomach by stimulating the gastric lining. It also releases the stomach muscles. It’s effective for stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ve started using it abundantly, fresh or dried, when I make tabouli, salads, or steamed vegies.

TURMERIC: essential to the foods of India, especially curry. 3000 years ago Indian healers used it to treat obesity. It stimulates the flow of bile from the liver, which breaks down dietary fats. In Asia, it was used to treat stomach disorders and liver-related ailment. Modern research shows that it protects against gallbladder disease.

THYME: Culpepper, one of our earliest herbalists, said, “When taken internally, thyme comforts the stomach much, and expels wind.”
On that note, I will finish.

Dr Estes and a historical view of gas

Dr. St. Louis Estes, author of Raw Food and Health, has a chapter on blood gas concepts called ‘Gases’. He writes:
“These gases have a very definite power in undermining health. They deplete the nervous system to such an extent that weakness, loss of memory, vertigo, eye troubles, depression, hysteria and even paralysis occurs where the pressure is so intense that a large blood vessel gives way. Intestinal gases can cause severe contraction of the muscles around the heart and sharp, stubborn pains through the heart areas that may shut off the breath for a few seconds. The great strain on the heart under these circumstances lowers its vitality and changes the heartbeat, making it slower and irregular, or quickened with frequent rapid flutterings and racing throb. Fainting may occur for the sudden congestions due to gas around the heart draws the blood from the brain. Continuous recurrence of this reaction to gas deprives the scalp of its nourishment, and the hair dies and falls out.”

According to Dr Estes, “cleansing the colon is the number one way to ensure bloodstream and cellular cleanliness. Remember that the colon is the central waste station of the body, the trashcan for all our junk. Colon Hydrotherapy is like taking out the trash. Cleansing the colon empties any gas and waste that may be present and creates a now-empty five-foot long receptacle for the toxins of the body to pour into. Additionally, due to the process of gas diffusion, Colon Hydrotherapy lessens the gas pressure and enables our cells to continually purify.”

Dr Estes writes that raw foodists will create a lot of gas if they do not completely chew their food. I would add that raw foodists are adding a number of raw complex sugars to their diet. Raw or cooked, they are complex sugars and can create gas if the person’s enzymes are not breaking them down. Examples are chocolate (37% starch), wild rice, sprouted grains and beans, flax and chia seeds (the mucilage is a polysaccharide or complex sugar), sweet potatoes and parsnips. Also, some people do not have the enzyme ability to break down raw fruits and vegetables and that creates more gas.

Where does gas store itself? Where does it go in body?

We certainly know gas stores in the stomach, small and large intestines. The standard answer is that gas passes out of the colon or we pass gas. Gas also moves upward and we belch it out. Some studies say the gas absorbs through the gut wall, through the blood stream to the lungs where it is exhaled. Some breath tests can be given that let us know what pathogenic bacteria or fungi are creating the gas. That explains why some people have bad breath.

Matt Monarch, in his book Raw Success has his theory of gas. He believes the gas stores in the cells of our body. “What is actually happening inside us on a cellular level? Our cells are full of gas. Gas is a result of fermentation. The quality, quantity and combinations of foods we eat determine the amount of fermentative gas released into our system. When this gas is released, our cells absorb it into their structure and it gets locked in through the process of diffusion.” Matt defines gas diffusion in this way. “Cell membranes are the boundaries between the internal and external environments of a cell. Diffusion across this cellular membrane is the movement of gas molecules from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration. The cells must enlarge to accommodate excessive amounts of incoming pressure from gas. The poorer our eating habits, the more fermentative gases are released in our system, and the more abnormally enlarged our cells become. 

The cells are continually working to rid themselves of this gaseous waste. However, with a diet high in complex sugars and refined foods, our inflated cells are constantly subjected to elevated levels of fermentative gas that keep the cells distended. When someone improves his or her diet, the fermentation decreases considerably. The process of detoxification, cells contracting to rid themselves of stored gaseous waste, continues for life especially if one is consistent with an improved diet.

Cells cannot release their gaseous waste if a person is chronically constipated
in the intestines or the cells.

The goal is to relieve the body of this gas. The two most effective ways to accomplish this task are adhering to a healthier diet while undertaking colon hydrotherapy. When you eat a healthier diet, less fermentative gas is produced in your bloodstream during digestion. This lowers the gas pressure on the outside of the cells. Through the process of diffusion, these gases exit the cells and rapidly discharge into the bloodstream into the intestines.

Colon Hydrotherapy removes gaseous waste. Cells are free to contract and release any accumulated toxins and gaseous waste with a clean diet such as raw food, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet, Paleodiet, Ketogenic and Carnivore. The principle of diffusion works in reverse. The gas passes from a higher concentration in the cells to a lower concentration in the intestines. Now the cells experience less pressure. Colonics remove the build up of solid waste from our colon. And, it can release a build up of toxic gas. The colon equipment has a viewing window where you can look at what is coming out of your colon during the session. In addition to solid waste, you can also see and hear big gas pockets release.”

The bloodstream is the conduit for the gas. When we detoxify we are clearing our cells, our bloodstream and our intestines. It’s all one.