The squatty potty is a rage and it seems like just another health trend that people will obsess over today and you hope 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 fad.
In places like India, people still use a version of toilet that has a hole in the ground and one 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 appearing sometime around the 5th century B.C. Roman public toilets presented a place for citizens to sit and socialize while unloading their
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 Squatting Makes 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
- 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. 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,
- Many studies point to fecal buildup in the colon as a cause of diseases including colon cancer. And when there is buildup in the colon, our bodies can’t absorb all the nutrients from the food we eat, leaving us without the energy we could enjoy if our colons were healthy.
- A new research suggests that squatting can help avoid and eliminate Hemorrhoids—a painful swelling of the veins in the anal canal that affects half of all Americans. Hemorrhoids may be brought on by pregnancy, obesity, and receiving anal sex. But the main cause is straining during bowel movement. Straining increases the pressure in your abdomen, causing the veins that line your anus to swell. In hemorrhoid patients, those veins stay swollen and sometimes bleed. In theory, squatting might stave off hemorrhoids by making defecation easier, reducing the need to strain and decreasing
- Urinary flow is usually stronger and easier when women squat to urinate. The bladder is emptied more completely when squatting rather than sitting or ‘hovering’. Squatting can help reduce episodes of urinary tract infections in both frequency and intensity.
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.
Ayurvedic Rituals To Follow For Better Pooping
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.
Drink a tall glass of warm water/lemon water or herbal tea as this awakens the digestive system and stimulates peristalsis in the intestines.
In yoga, this pose is called ‘Malasana’. This yoga pose helps open the abdominal area and helps in an easier bowel movement.
Go When Ready
You might have heard, that you need to keep a schedule for your bathroom
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.