Niki Hershberger discovered a couple things about her native Wichita when she moved back after 30 years.
One is that there aren’t as many “good food choices” as in Portland, where she’d been living. “I was amazed and miserable at how much my stomach became distended,” she said.
That led her to seek colon hydrotherapy – also known as colon cleansing or irrigation – which she’d become an advocate of on the West Coast. But Hershberger said she had trouble finding it offered locally, so she decided to begin doing so herself.
“I was running into old friends that I could tell needed colon cleansings,” she said. “I was nearly getting choked up at the sight of them.”
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Hershberger opened Tallgrass Health in Riverside earlier this year. More recently, she has also begun offering colon hydrotherapy at the Opti-Life health and fitness center, near 21st and Webb.
Hershberger describes hydrotherapy as a “safe, gentle and effective way to remove waste from the colon without drugs.”
The procedure is similar to an enema, she said, but "reaches the entire length of the colon.” She said it “is the equivalent of 30 enemas.”
The Opti-Life website describes hydrotherapy as “an alternating cycle of gently filling and then draining the colon with water.” Hershberger uses 20 gallons of water in a typical session.
The procedure takes about 45 minutes. It costs $78 at Opti-Life and $110 at the Riverside location, with multiple treatments available for a lower rate. Hershberger recommends people undergo several sessions.
Most people seek her help because they’re suffering from bloating or constipation. Another benefit, Hershberger said, is the therapy’s effect on skin.
“That’s why so many models and celebrities are known to seek colon hydrotherapy, because they have to look good both in their skin and fitness, and they have to look good quickly.”
Hershberger said she first got involved in alternative medicine as a chiropractor in 1997 “and quickly developed a passion for what even further avenues of what perfect health looks like.” She said she’s been a recipient of colon hydrotherapy and an “apprentice” performing them for 20 years.
The medical establishment is skeptical about the detoxifying effects claimed for colon hydrotherapy, whose proponents also believe it enhances energy and the immune system. The Mayo Clinic’s website, for instance, says “there’s no evidence that colon cleansing produces these effects or is beneficial at all.”
But Hershberger said her clients find it amazing.
“There’s an old saying,” she said, “’Life beings in the womb and death begins in the colon.’”
Address:1401 N. Perry
Owner: Niki Hershberger