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NCLMBT Lic. #638

Dr. Darlene Holloway’s skills reflect her own comprehensive health and learning journey, spanning more than 41 years. She is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), a Colon Hydrotherapist (CT), a Structural Integration Therapist (SIT), and Licensed Massage Therapist (NC LMBT #638, Florida License #3984).

A graduate of the Florida Institute of Natural Health and the Florida School of Massage, Dr. Holloway holds the highest level of certification as an instructor with the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy (IACT)/National Board of Hydrotherapy. As a practitioner, she was named the first IACT International Colon Hydrotherapist of the year by her colleagues in 2009, and was voted in as Board Member At Large by the IACT Association. The American Naturopathic Medical Association awarded her “in honor and recognition of distinguished performance” early on, and two years ago, she received the President’s Award, which recognizes outstanding service to the profession.

She is the former owner of the Alternative Health Center of Cary, which she founded 28 years ago.  Contact her at

End-to-End Digestive Health:
Essential to Overall Health

By Darlene Holloway, ND, CT, LMBT, ST

My four decades of experience with healing in many disciplines have taught me that, although we definitely “are what we eat,” we are also “what we digest and assimilate.” Digestion and absorption are very important when it comes to food, and to overall health and vitality. Conventional diets comprised of refined, processed foods, high in saturated fats and low in fiber, contribute to many problems associated with the large intestine, such as irritable bowel system, diabetes, and more.

Dr. Holloway prepares a client for colon hydrotherapy

As a nationally-recognized colon hydrotherapist and naturopath, I know that the elimination of undigested food material and other waste products is equally as important as the digestion and assimilation of food. Waste material allowed to remain stagnant in the colon increases bacteria and toxins. Without a nutritionally rich diet that nourishes and assists in the removal of these substances from the body, over time we lose strength and vitality. Immune systems become suppressed, with dire consequences. My solution is to focus on the end-to-end system, from what we eat, to how we process it, and ultimately, to how we eliminate it and any associated waste products or toxins.

Improving Digesting and Assimilation

So, what type of diet do I recommend to maximize well-being? First, I start with the “what,” the contents of the day-to-day diet. Healthy, organic foods naturally contain enzymes that help break down foods for better digestion. A diet heavy in plant-based foods also contains lot of natural fiber and healthy fats from nuts and seeds. These foods and micronutrients, combined with ample water, keep the digestive process moving smoothly, whereas with highly processed or genetically modified foods, you’re not getting the nourishment—just the calories and the bulk.

Many foods cause inflammation—processed foods, sugars, even nightshade plants like tomatoes. I try to steer clients away from inflammation forming foods to live, wholesome ones. I’m not opposed to eating meat, as long as it’s hormone-free. And I’ll work with clients to identify foods they may be eating frequently that trigger inflammation.
Since sugar breaks down first, it’s important not to have sugars—even fruit—at the end of a meal. My kids would laugh when I would say to eat their dessert first, but it’s true! If you eat all your dinner and then eat dessert, all the other food is held in the stomach until the sugar is digested. That can create gas and bloating.

How you eat matters, too. It’s important to eat in a relaxed environment. You never want to eat on the go or in your car. Being conscious of what you’re eating can also aid digestion. Eating mindfully reminds us to enjoy and appreciate the food we have, and focusing on your food over other distractions allows the digestive process to start.
Remember that digestion begins in the mouth. When you’re focused on your food, you salivate, which helps you start to break down the food and also signals the rest of your digestive tract that food is coming. Chewing your food thoroughly—ideally 32 times per mouthful—also helps; chewing provides the first enzyme in the digestive process.

Improving Elimination and Detoxification

I’m often called to work with clients to fix the problems caused by poor diet and digestion. My approach is to repair and to detoxify the digestive tract. And that begins with colon hydrotherapy.

Over 41 years’ experience as a nationally recognized leader in the field of colon hydrotherapy has taught me the critical importance of maintaining a healthy colon to ensure proper elimination. When the colon is clean and functioning well it helps both the digestive process and the absorption of nutrients.

Colon hydrotherapy is a simple, inexpensive, and remarkably effective way to prevent a host of disease conditions. During a colonic, toxic material is broken down and flushed away so it can no longer inhibit the body or inhibit assimilation and elimination. Colon hydrotherapy is the safe, gentle infusion of warm filtered water into the rectum using no chemicals or drugs. It is a restorative process that is both relaxing and effective—an extended and more complete form of an enema. It extends beyond the rectum to cleanse the entire large intestine.

Combining colon hydrotherapy with a consistently healthy diet can effectively ease such chronic conditions as arthritis and even depression.