Abstract Abnormal colonic motor patterns have been implicated in the pathogenesis of severe constipation. Yet in health, the mechanical link between movement of colonic content and regional pressures have only been partially defined. This is largely due to current methodological limitations. Utilizing a combination of simultaneous colonic manometry, high-resolution scintigraphy and a quantitative technique for detecting discrete episodic flow, our aim was to examine the propulsive properties of colonic propagating sequences (PS) in the healthy colon. In six healthy volunteers a nasocolonic manometry catheter was positioned to record colonic pressures at 7.5 cm intervals from terminal ileum to the splenic flexure. With subjects positioned under a gamma camera, 30 MBq of 99mTc sulfur colloid was instilled into the terminal ileum, 22.5 cm proximal to the ileocolonic junction. Isotopic images were recorded (10 s/frame) and synchronized with the manometric trace. In the proximal colon we identified 137 antegrade PSs, of which 93% were deemed to be associated temporally with movements of luminal content. Low amplitude PSs, with component pressure waves between 2 mmHg and 5 mmHg, were as likely to be associated with colonic movements as higher amplitude PSs. As such there was no correlation between the amplitude of the PS and the temporal relationship with colonic movements. Within the proximal colon, 24 retrograde PSs were identified, 23 of which were associated with retrograde movements of colonic content. We conclude that proximal colonic PSs are highly propulsive and are a major determinant of proximal colonic flow.