The squatty potty is a rage and it seems like just another health trend that people are obsessed over today and you hope it will eventually go away. But here is why you may need to look at this more seriously and consider how it might actually benefit your health instead of dismissing it as another passing trend.
In places like India, people still use a version of toilet that has a hole in the ground and the person needs to physically squat to do their business. The squatty potty does the same but by merely elevating your feet so as to stimulate the same experience for your body, as people today have become very used to the ‘sitting chair poopy position’.
Either ways, you may want to know why squatting is such a big deal. Haven’t people been pooping like this for years and decades, you may argue? Actually this way of elimination has only been practiced for a few decades which appeared sometime around the 5th century B.C. Roman public toilets presented a place for citizens to sit and socialize while unloading their poop.
However, thousands of years later, more reserved European and Western societies still favored to squat over chamber pots in private rooms. Around the 18th or 19th centuries, this mainstay began to give way to the outhouse, and squatting gradually started to fall out of favor.
The modern flush toilet came into being in the 1890s and by the 1920s, as sit toilets were cemented in bathrooms across the country, and pooping transformed from an impure deed into one of luxury and leisure. Hence, the modern colloquial term for our toilets as ‘thrones’.
Why Does Squatting Make Sense?
- Your body is meant to be in a squatting position to properly eliminate stuff from your colon. You can control to some extent your need to defecate by contracting or releasing the sphincter on your backside. But that sphincter muscle can’t maintain proper pooping function on its own.
- Our body relies on a bend between the rectum, where the feces is stored- and the anus- where the feces comes out.
- When you’re sitting, the angle is ‘kinked’, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps your poop inside. Not only does this create straining and constipation, but it also inhibits complete elimination – which means that you can have old feces stuck in your lower digestive tract.
- When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which like we discussed earlier, puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In order to evacuate our bowels more easily, it’s desirable to have this angle straighten (to 180 degrees). However, when sitting on a toilet this angle increases by a mere 10 degrees, which was hardly an improvement. On the other hand, squatting increases it by 36 degrees. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.
Are There Any Studies Proving This?
An Israeli doctor named Dov Sikirov tested this idea for a 2003 study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences. He had several dozen patients defecate in each of three positions: sitting on a 16-inch-high toilet, sitting on a 12-inch-high toilet, and squatting over a plastic container. He asked his subjects to record how long each bowel movement took and rate the effort required on a four-point scale ranging from effortless to difficult. Sikirov found that, when squatting, subjects averaged a mere 51 seconds to move their bowels, versus 130 seconds when sitting on a high toilet. And as they moved from a sit to a squat, subjects were more likely to rate the experience as easier.
A group of Japanese doctors extended Sikirov’s findings by looking at what happens inside the body while people squat and sit. For a study published in the medical journal Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, six subjects had their rectums filled with a contrast solution and then released the fluid from a squatting or a sitting position while being filmed with X-ray video. Image analysis showed that the anorectal angle increased from 100 degrees to 126 degrees as the subjects moved from a sit to a squat. The researchers also recorded abdominal pressure, and found that the subjects were straining less when they squatted.
Ayurvedic Rituals To Follow For Better Pooping
Keep Calm: Relax for a few minutes after waking. Don’t check your phone or emails straight away. Like every other muscle in the body, the sphincter also responds to tension. So keep it relaxed. Think relaxing thoughts.
Hydrate: Drink a tall glass of warm water/lemon water or herbal tea as this awakens the digestive system and stimulates peristalsis in the intestines.
Squat: In yoga, this pose is called ‘Malasana’. This yoga pose helps open the abdominal area and helps in an easier bowel movement.
Relax: Don’t read or surf the Internet or make a call. If possible, don’t even think. Relax your body. Relax your belly, pelvis, and sphincter. Drop your weight into the support of your elbows on your knees. If you’re suffering from constipation, then visualize your sphincter muscles relax (because often the contraction will cause a lot of abdominal pain) and breathe deeply.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet. PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.