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Body Works Interactive
Charles Atlas and colonic cleansing

Wednesday, July 30, 1997

THE information exchanged through Body Works Interactive is usually very practical and down to earth. After all, health and fitness are serious subjects. But every so often the traffic does veer off the beaten path. Still, this is your bulletin board, so today we'll venture down some of those roads less travelled.

The query: What is it with "colonic cleansing," asked James McCullough . "The rationale is that it cleans out accumulated yeasts -- is this correct? Does it also clean out useful things? Who accredits the practitioners?"

Interim response: In advance of an in-depth discussion of colonic irrigation and the like, here is Jack Brunke of Toronto on just who accredits the practitioners. "For starters, go back to that scrawny teen-ager who had bullies kick sand in his face -- Charles Atlas. Some 65 to 70 years ago, Mr. Atlas wrote in his world-famous Dynamic Tension Course :

"One of the simplest means of cleansing the colon is the internal bath, or enema. In my course I instruct you to use it because of the inestimable value in purifying the body and removing toxic matter from the system. As a quick and safe method for thoroughly washing the bowels, I highly recommend it. I am advocating that you use this means because of its rare value in eliminating the waste products of the body -- one of the most important steps in building superb health, strength and power."

Even today, asks Mr. Brunke, "who would dare argue with The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man?"

Internal update: Colonics aside, BWI readers have long demonstrated a keen interest in alimentary afflictions. For example, our examination of Irritable Bowel Syndrome continues to generate enquiries months after the fact (for back issues, please visit our web site listed below). What's more, dedicated researchers still report back whenever they come across info of interest.

"I've found another book that may be very helpful," writes Thomas Hunse of St. Catharines, Ont. Entitled IBS: A Doctor's Plan for Chronic Digestive Troubles (Hartley and Marks, 1992) and written by Dr. Gerard Guillory, it's described as "the definitive guide to prevention and relief."

Actually, if you'd like to see an excellent reading list on this subject, locate a computer linked to the World Wide Web (libraries are often good for this) and visit the IBS Self-Help Group's site maintained by Torontonian Jeffrey Roberts (http://www.ibsgroup.org/ ). He suggests a new book, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection by Dr. William B. Salt II (Parkview Publishing), sections of which are also available (http://www.parkviewpub.com/ ) on the Web.

Second opinions

The query: With luck, this will prove to be the definitive entry in a discussion that Phil Crouch of Welland, Ont., began by writing: "I have heard that a person having a crease in his ear lobe is a candidate for a heart attack. Is this fact or folklore?"

The response: To recap, Ryerson Gretzman of Hamilton, Ont., replied with his personal experiences. "The doctors at the McMaster University Medical Centre, where I was treated [for a mild myocardial infarction], talked of the correlation as common knowledge. When the post-M.I. group held its Christmas party, 145 of the 158 people (92 per cent) had ear-lobe creases. So, I would say that this is a factual indicator of heart disease."

Mr. Gretzman's analysis failed to impress Charles Crockford of Waterloo, Ont. "He took this [the 92 per cent] to be empirical evidence that there is a correlation. I do not feel that this in itself proves anything, since it makes no reference to people who are not candidates for heart attacks. A survey of the latter might show that they too have a high incidence of ear-lobe creases."

Coincidentally, Michael Peters of Guelph, Ont., conducted a little research of his own and came up with two studies on the subject.

The first study (American Journal of Medicine, Volume 75, p. 1024, 1983) examined 112 patients about to have an angiogram taken and concluded that coronary arterial disease was significantly more common in those with creased lobes.

The authors also stated that the link was independent of age, which is important because the older people get, the more likely they are to have both creases and heart attacks. So, the correlation between the two could be due simply to age.

The second study is both more recent and more methodologically sound. It involved 670 patients about to undergo angiograms and appeared in the German medical journal Zeitschrift fuer Kardiologie (Journal of Cardiology) in 1995. In this case, the authors determined that when age is taken into account, the relation between crease and coronary disappears.

"So, going with the best study available," concludes Mr. Lewis, "I would say that any significant relation has not been confirmed."

A need to know

In keeping with our offbeat theme, today's query comes from BWI itself. As you may imagine, we receive copious publicity material, including a pitch entitled Xeronine: A Miracle of Nature.

"Tahitian noni juice, a pure, wild-grown, natural fruit juice, imported into the U.S. since July, 1996, contains a high percentage of xeronine . . . an alkaloid that actually works at the cellular level to strengthen and revitalize cells and help stimulate the immune system.

"Traditional Polynesian healers have been using noni juice for over 2,000 years and thousands of people in the Western world are now using Tahitian noni juice with unbelievable results."

Okay, can anyone shed some light on xeronine and the powers of Tahitian noni juice?

BWI asks that you consult a practitioner before acting on anything you read here. You may place a query to BWI by telephone (1-800-461-3298 or 416-585- 5168) but submit an answer by fax (416-585-5085), E-mail ( [email protected] ) or writing c/o The Globe and Mail, 444 Front St. W., Toronto, Ont., M5V 2S9. Include your name, address and any sources you have consulted. Body Works, like all MK features, has a permanent online archive and discussion group listed at http://www.TheGlobeAndMail.com/docs/webextra/middle_kingdom on the World Wide Web.

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