Retraining A Sluggish Colon

Find Out How to Train Your Body and Brain to Help Heal Your Gut With Dr Jacobi's SIBO Success Plan

The two most common types of constipation:



Poor nerve impulses and muscle contraction response. No urge to defecate, erratic peristalsis. Essentially a “lazy colon”.



Excessive contractions, spasms, often stress

In both cases of long standing constipation, the brain needs to be ‘retrained’ in terms of proper nerve impulses to stimulate peristalsis (the rhythmic colonic movement downwards).

This retraining program suggests you do one task from each category daily. After many months or years of dysfunction it can take a few weeks to reset the colon to ensure daily bowel movements.


  1. Regular exercise is important – walking 30 minutes a day is excellent.
  2. Great demonstration of belly exercises Constipation Belly Exercises on
  3. Vagal nerve exercises—the vagus nerve is important in stimulating peristalsis. Often this nerve has lost its ‘tone’ and needs to be strengthened. The exercises include:
    • Gargling—rigorous gargling with water stimulates the vagus nerve in the soft palate. Do multiple times a day
    • Gagging- same effect as gargling. Depress tongue with tongue blade or spoon handle and try to elicit a mild gag reflex. Do multiple times daily
    • Enemas—see below

BONUS: Check the SIBO Success Plan where Dr Jacobi explains the vagus nerve and the exercises above (and more).

Take by mouth

  1. Magnesium – both a muscle relaxer and used as a laxative. Magnesium citrate or chelate are good magnesium products. Alternatively, use epsoms salts (magnesium sulphate) – 3?4-1 tsp in water before bed. Reduce the dose if stools watery or loose.
  2. Constipation herbal tincture (if prescribed) – 1?2-1 tsp in water before bed

Coffee Enemas

Important tool to stimulate receptors in the colon.

View Enema How-To and please add the coffee as suggested. If you do not experience an urge to defecate shortly after infusing the water, make the coffee stronger.


Squatting is actually the proper anatomical position for the colon to more easily evacuate. To make this easy, a toilet stool is a handy device.

If you do not own a toilet stool, please get one - a good one is EasyStool.

Stress Reduction

Getting out of the ‘fight or flight’ and into the ‘rest and digest’ mindset. The nervous system in your gut (enteric nervous system) is extremely susceptible to stress. Chronic stress and inner tension can cause your body to stay stuck in ‘fight or flight’ – a state that overrides the digestive system. Relaxation is crucial to restore the rest and digest response.



Breathing – proper breathing moves the diaphragm. This big muscle moves and massages the organs whilst breathing. Lie down and place hand over belly button. When breathing, your hand should move up and down towards the ceiling, not side to side (towards your head and feet).

  • Slowly inhale over 5-8 seconds through your nose
  • Hold for 4 seconds
  • Exhale through mouth or nose over 4-6 seconds. Do this multiple times daily for 30 seconds or longer

Inner Balance device

Inner Balance device from - this is a training device that gives you biofeedback in real time - you can see if you are currently in fight or flight. The device gives you breathing instructions and feedback to get you relaxed. Great prior to meals. Need iPhone or iPad.



There are many apps and websites for meditation and relaxation. A good one app is HeadSpace and a good website for quick 15 minute guided meditations is Chopra Meditation Centre