How to Give Yourself an Enema

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An enema is a great way to stimulate a bowel movement.  It will not cleanse the entire intestine nor will it condition the muscle.  However, it can bring instant relief when you are “in a bind” and when you know how to give yourself an enema!


  1. A stainless steel enema bucket or silicone enema bag kit with silicone tubing. We do not recommend non-silicone enema bags / pink hot water bottles or non-silicone tubing because of the possibility of toxic leaching and difficulty of cleaning. The enema kits available at the Tummy Temple come with silicone tubing.
  2. Water based lubricant or any edible oil such as coconut oil. This is used to make insertion of the rectal tube easier and more comfortable.
  3. An elevated surface to place the bucket or hang the bag if self-administered. The enema should be suspended no more than 18-24 inches above the level of the rectum.
  4. A good location:  The best place to give yourself an enema is in the bathroom, either lying on a bathmat or in the bathtub on a towel. You can also give yourself an enema on a bed with a towel underneath you. Use a pad or heavy bath towel to be placed underneath the buttocks during the enema.
  5. Clean water: Your colon will be absorbing this water into your body. Distilled is ideal, but any clean-sourced bottled water is acceptable. A high quality water filter is good, too. 

For best results, and your own comfort, the enema should be taken while lying down.  If you will be giving the enema to yourself the first thing you should do is set up the area for the procedure.

Follow these 16 steps to give yourself an enema:

  1. Make sure the bag or bucket is suspended at the proper height (18-24 inches above the rectum). Enemas work via gravity so the higher you place the bucket the faster the water will flow.
  2. Then place a pad or bath towel where you will be lying down.
  3. Before putting liquid into the bucket or bag, there is a flow-control clamp on the end of the tubing that should be moved down towards the speculum end and kept fully closed. Slide the shutoff clamp to a point on the tubing where you will be able easily reach it while in position. Check this out ahead of time by hanging the empty bag and lying down, just to be sure.
  4. Warm the water to around body temperature. Cold water can cause cramping, but cool water can strongly stimulate bowels. Hot water can damage the mucosa lining of colon, but moderately warmer water will be easier to retain. In general the water temperature should be slightly above body temperature, between 98 and 104 degrees F at time of use.  You may need to heat water on the stove but DO NOT TO USE HOT water that could hurt you, cool it down if necessary till it’s comfortable to the touch.
  5. Fill the enema bucket or bag with the water and place on your elevated surface / hang up with a hook.
  6. Open the shutoff for a moment and allow enough solution to flow to expel the air from the enema tubing. This helps to reduce cramping.
  7. Lubricate the rectal nozzle with water based lubricant or edible oil such as coconut oil.
  8. Hang the enema bag on the hook.
  9. Lie down in position. On the bed this should be on the left side with the left leg straight and the right knee flexed (Sim’s position). Your left arm should be behind your back and if the shutoff is properly positioned you will be able to control it with your left hand. Your right hand will comfortably rest under your pillow. On the bathroom floor or in the tub, lie on your back with both legs drawn up, knees bent. Make sure you can easily reach the shutoff valve. Put a pillow underneath your head.
  10. If someone else is giving you the enema you may find it more comfortable to assume the knee-chest position. To accomplish this, get on your hands and knees and then put one or two pillows underneath your chest, and lean forward on them. Turn your face sideways and rest it on another pillow, and snuggle both arms underneath. This particular position is an especially comfortable one to have an enema during pregnancy, but if you attempt it on your own the rectal tube tends to slip out and it is difficult to work the shutoff. If you do this on the bathroom floor rather than the bed, make sure your knees are cushioned by a pillow or a pad, or the pressure on them might cause knee damage.
  11. Gently insert the rectal tube 3 to 4 inches into the rectum. Rotate or twist the tube back and forth to make for easier insertion.  The speculum should go through the internal sphincter. 
  12. Open the shutoff valve and allow the solution to flow. At the first indication of discomfort stop and wait a few moments. Then release the shutoff and allow the enema to resume. Feel free to interrupt the flow as frequently as is necessary to assist in minimizing the discomfort.
  13. Taking slow deep breaths will help, and if you feel cramping at any point try shallow quick breathing. As the enema progresses a feeling of fullness will develop. This is normal, and discomfort can be minimized by insuring that not too much solution is introduced too quickly. Take your time.
  14. When the bucket or bag is empty clamp off the shutoff and slowly remove the rectal tube. Remain in position and retain the solution for a while. For a maintenance enema a few minutes are sufficient, but if you are constipated try to hold it in for 5 to 15 minutes.
  15. Go to the toilet and expel the enema. Encourage total elimination by massaging the abdomen in a clockwise motion (looking downward toward navel). An enema seldom comes out in a single movement so stay near the toilet for one half to one hour. After evacuating, most people find it comfortable to lie on the bed in a prone position to rest for a while.
  16. Clean the equipment thoroughly and hang it all up to dry. It may take several days to thoroughly dry out, and should never be put away while even slightly wet.

There are three primary reasons that cause an enema to be a more uncomfortable procedure than it has to be:

  • Wrong position:  Use the positions suggested here and don’t give yourself and enema while seated on a toilet.
  • Wrong temperature:  An enema that is too cool can cause excessive cramping. If it is too hot it can damage the delicate mucosa lining the bowel. Body temperature or slightly above (98-105F) is just right.
  • Too much pressure:  If the bag or can is suspended too high, excessive pressure can cause discomfort. The bag should be just high enough to allow the solution to flow in comfortably.


  • Use a sufficient volume of water.
  • Retain the water for 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Retaining the enema for a while before expelling it can significantly contribute to good results.
  • Start using Diju Herbal Intestinal Regulator for regular stool maintenance and/or to prepare for enemas.  Diju has been the top selling product at Tummy Temple for over 20 years for a reason.   To prep for enemas take 15 pellets (about 1/2 teaspoon) at lunch and 25 pellets (about 1 teaspoon) at bed time for 3 days prior to the enema.  Make sure to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces daily.


    • Put water and coffee into a large non-aluminum pot, bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 3 minutes.
    • Turn down and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
    • Strain coffee through a fine sieve or unbleached coffee filters 2 times to ensure there are no particles that may clog enema speculum (do not use bleached coffee filters).
    • Let coffee cool to correct temperature (around body temp), and then pour into enema bucket (or bag) and follow directions above.

If you’re still seeking relief after an enema, consider making a colon hydrotherapy appointment. 

**Note: With nearly 20 years of experience as coffee enema specialists, SA Wilsons leads the industry in providing beans selected and processed to maximize what researchers say are the two most important components of coffee for enemas: caffeine and palmitic acid.
Without using any additives, SA Wilsons took a careful selection of organic coffee beans and developed a process that produces coffee with up to 44 percent more caffeine and 87 percent more palmitic acid than regular, commercially available coffee.