Posted by: thaiyogacenter | 05/24/2011

Epsom Salts and Constipation: Part 2 of 4

Have you correctly assessed the correct or actual health issue? (Continued from part 1)

Maybe you have chronic constipation! If I do something that’s going to slow down peristalsis and start to block certain digestive and assimilation processes in my colon, will that be helpful? What if I take too much? Symptoms of a magnesium sulfate overdose include nausea, vomiting, flushing, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, drowsiness, coma, and death due to respiratory depression and paralysis. How many times do we sit in front of the TV and see those drug commercials and then they go through the list of the 17 ways that this drug might possibly kill you or cripple you and you say, “Ah! Those drug thumpers! It might help you sleep, but a risk of death! A sleep from which you never wake!” So maybe it will help you sleep, maybe you’ll wake up and maybe you wont! We look at that and get all critical of those chemical people and those drug people and that information, but here’s something you have to know as a naturopath if you are going to call yourself professional: just because its natural does not mean that it is safe! That is the most common error of newbies, lay-educated practitioners or self-educated practitioners.

Anecdotes can lead you down the wrong path

The most common error is to assume a good enough reason to use the substance is because it is natural or because they heard someone who used it and it worked for them. People get harmed that way every day. That’s why we have holistic health programs for nature-cure doctors and that’s why we have always had very sophisticated, long-term, in-depth training in nutrition, supplementation, herbology, etc. for people who will be the go-to people for natural health. If you don’t have that training and education, then you don’t know what you don’t know and you also don’t know the history of the use of the remedy.

You may work from an anecdotal basis, but perhaps the people that were harmed by the remedy aren’t posting on their blogs. Just because it’s not on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean that it is true! Everything that you look at and research on the Internet has to be taken with a grain of salt and you have to put it in the context of who is saying it. What is their background for expertise? There is a lot of stuff on the Internet. I did a few minutes of research this morning and what I found out is that there are a lot of people who are experts and their expertise is based on listening to a lot of people who are experts whose expertise is based on listening to a lot of people who heard about something from somebody who they can’t remember. Nowhere in the chain of information is there someone who might have a chemistry, biology, physiology, health or medical background. No actual background or education either alternative or mainstream was involved in the postings/  conversation at any point in time! I was fascinated to see that. I also understand that this is causing a lot of problems. By problems I mean harm to those unlucky individuals who follow and use these anecdotally recommended “cures”.

What are symptoms of overdose?

Again, symptoms of a magnesium sulfate overdose include nausea, vomiting, flushing, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, drowsiness, coma, and death due to respiratory depression and paralysis. Some people experience an allergic reaction, which looks like difficulty breathing and closing of the throat, swelling of the lips, tongue or face and hives. Other less serious side effects can occur such as depression, lethargy, confusion, disorientation, coma, flushing, sweating, dilated pupils, hypertension, flaccid paralysis, depressed reflexes, hypothermia, circulatory collapse and cardiovascular depression (just to name a few). For example, lets say you are a little bit constipated but you have issues with depression. A side effect of using magnesium sulfate as a laxative is depression, lack of energy. These are so-called symptoms of hypo-glycemia. You cannot say that you are accurately diagnosed or assessed as being hypoglycemic if you haven’t been assessed as to whether or not you are taking saline laxatives because saline laxatives give all the same symptoms as hypoglycemia. It also causes an upset stomach!

Certainly anything that has a restricting or paralytic effect on the intestinal walls and interferes with the process of digestion long-term will not be very helpful. The first question you should ask when you talk to someone who is constipated is: is it nutritional or emotional? If it is emotional, you should not be taking laxatives. In fact, laxatives will have zero effect on the cause. The second question you should ask yourself, if you are a woman, is where are you at on your period? Two times a month for as long as four or five days each, (that’s 10 days out of a 28 day cycle) the uterus accumulates water, causing bloating and a feeling of fullness.

It is possible, ten days out of the month, that you can feel constipated or full in your lower abdomen, and it has absolutely nothing at all to do with anything that is going on with your digestion. It is actually a body-evident feeling of a natural, normal, metabolic process of the two cycles that every woman has. Second thing you want to ask is: what’s the hurry? If you are constipated or you think you are constipated- so what? What’s the hurry? Why do you have to handle it now? What is the sense of urgency? The impetus to evacuate, which is not based on a biologic necessity or as part of a side effect of something else has to be emotional. Technically speaking, the clinical diagnosis of constipation means that you fail to evacuate for at least a week or more per month. If you don’t fail to evacuate for at least a week or more per month, you cannot be clinically determined to have constipation. You are within a normal range, and this is also taking your period into consideration. That’s why I can’t even start to look at you as if you are constipated unless it is for more than a week if you are a woman because you can be constipated up to 10 days per month and that’s considered normal!

We don’t treat normal, we support normal

That’s why we are called the natural health people. We encouraging people to move towards a greater body awareness of what normal is, and there are natural fluctuations in your bowl cycle, which have to do with your menstruation cycle, especially for women. For a man who doesn’t evacuate, a week or more per month, I would consider him to be constipated. It is not considered pathologic at any given time if you fail to go to the bathroom for up to two days.

Every health care practitioner should know what constipation is, how to assess it, and how to make recommendations to correct it, if it exists. The operative word in that sentence is “if.” There are a lot of common misconceptions about health and I would expect the average person to have no bleeding idea what it means to be healthy. I mean literally no freaking bit of an idea of what constitutes health. We are in the dark ages. As a general populace, we are no more knowledgeable about what constitutes full, normal, optimal health than a peasant in a medieval city in the middle of the 14th century. Just because you’re doing a little bit of that self-research and you’re hangin’ out with some relatively healthy people doesn’t mean you understand health. You still have unresolved emotional issues, which act as filters to take the information that you take in and to twist it. So even if you’re in a healthy environment hearing healthy information, who knows how much is going to stick, because there is this whole emotional filtering apparatus that’s been going on the whole time! That’s why, for example, nature cure doctors have also always supported science. We use science to discount the emotional filtering. Science helps to balance the scales of negative emotional filtering of information. This doesn’t mean that I’m not open to science or not interested in science, but it is part one of the tools in my tool chest.

So what’s the hurry? If you were going to take magnesium sulfate, how much would you take? On a short-term basis, take no more than one teaspoon per eight-ounce glass of water. It should work within thirty minutes, but can take up to six hours. The recommendation is whenever you are going to use a laxative you should have enough time that you can hang out in the bathroom for up to six hours. If you do not have enough time to hang out in the bathroom for up to six hours or until you evacuate, whichever comes first, you should not do it! You don’t get to say, because how fast it works is based on where you are in terms of hydration and what the current status of your mineral balance is at the time. It also depends on what your digestion and eating habits have been for the past 24-48 hours, and many other factors.

If you take a dose like this and you haven’t had a bowel movement in three or four hours and you take another dose, you are now on your way to overdose. Under no circumstances should you take it once a day for longer than a week. Why? Refer back to the list of side effects. What is it worth to you to have a satisfying bowel movement? Is it worth throwing your system into renal failure? Is it worth causing heart arrhythmia? Is it worth exacerbating your depression? Is it worth stealing your energy and making you more tired all day? You need to know, first of all, if you even need to have one, and what is the urgency? What do you care? A normal, healthy bowel movement is like this: if you are perfectly healthy, technically you should have a bowel movement within thirty minutes after every meal. That’s the technical, optimal model of digestion, as per my teacher Dr. Bernard Jenson. However, it is not considered pathologic until you haven’t had one for two days and that is only as an alert to think about it. You cannot assess it as constipation until it is for a week or more. Clinically, anything less than a week is not considered constipation.

Q: So if you were to log your bowel movements and there were more than 7 days that you didn’t go at all, then you would be considered constipated?

No, then you would talk to someone like me. I would do further assessment and then I might use that as part of a basis of determining that you are constipated. There are other factors, so by itself it might not be enough. Just not going to the bathroom is not enough to diagnose you as constipated. You may have other problems!

I prefer treatments which do not have a risk of death!

So you know, manual therapy and abdominal treatments like we do in SomaVeda™ Thai Yoga are considered to be more effective long-term than laxatives. There are no side effects and it promotes evacuation, elimination and balancing of fluid and electrolyte balance in the body because of the way it enhances circulation and oxygen metabolism. It also reduces antagonistic muscle tension, which has a balancing effect on the blood pressure, etc. There are no side effects or any risk of death! Personally, as a nature cure doctor, I prefer treatments that DO NOT have a risk of death…

When I make recommendations for health and I go down my list of all the possible things that I might recommend to you, I always put the ones that don’t have any possibility of killing you, crippling you, or exacerbating your condition at the very top of the list, and then I’ll put the ones that might kill you…actually I leave them off the list. That’s just how I do it. Its part of my ahimsa vow: that I will not participate in the origination cycle of the creation of suffering or death as a result of my practice.

So far in my thirty years of spiritually based natural medical practice (knock on wood) I have never directly killed or had anyone indirectly die as a result of my therapy or my therapeutic consultation. Not one single person has ever died. If I were to take the 5,000 doctors who belong to my medical association, and all of the millions of people who have been treated by us over the last thirty years, we are still close to zero. There might have been one that we know of. That puts us so far off the chart for the standardized practice of medicine as to not even be on it statistically. It’s because we have conversations like this!  (Continued in Epson Salts and Constipation: Part 3)


All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. While all attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information. The author and ThaiYogaCenter.Com does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.

Copyright© 2011, Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH  All rights reserved under International and Pan American copyright conventions. World rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Inquires should be addressed to: Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH, 4715 Bruton Rd. Plant City, FL 33565 ·  http://www.ThaiYogaCenter.Com


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: