I remember being weighed down by a horrifying feeling of inferiority during an Asian Medicine lecture one day. You see, I have always been proud of a strong and reliable digestive system until I learned that the Chinese believe that one should experience an elimination – you know, when you make “a #2” – at least 2-3 times a day.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a healthy individual should experience a bowel movement after every meal. Any less than that and he or she receives the uncomfortable label of being “constipated.”
The last time I remember being constipated was either during an intense period of stress or when experiencing some travel-induced IBS while in South America. However, by the Chinese’s standards, I’m pretty much constipated all the time, as I’m sure most North Americans are.
While chronic constipation can be attributed to many things: lack of fibre and water in the diet, stress and repression of the urge to defecate (because you’re in a rush or you don’t feel comfortable “going” at work and so on), or even a more serious medical problem (see your naturopathic doctor if you’re not sure of the cause of your constipation), it wasn’t until I watched this video, that North American chronic constipation issues started to make more sense:
I recommend watching the video but, just in case you’re short of time (maybe you’ve gotta go!), I’ll give you the gist of it:
– As humans we’d spent most of our existence pooping in the woods, in a squatting position, until the invention of the modern toilet.
– Bathroom posture, rather than diet, is likely the leading cause of gastrointestinal complaints.
– According to researchers at Stanford University, the puborectalis muscle, which chokes off the lower end of the rectum, preventing you from eliminating waste, is partially flexed while in a seated position (like when you sit on a modern toilet). This prevents waste from leaving the rectum and prevents you from having a proper bowel movement, leading to straining and constipation.
– However, when in a squatting position, the puborectalis muscle is able to fully relax, releasing its grip on the rectum and allowing waste to be freely passed.
– Instead of squatting over a hole, however, one can achieve the 35 degree angle (between torso and legs) by using a stool (no pun intended) to rest his or her feet on while sitting on the toilet.
The makers of the video recommend buying their fancy model. However, I explain how to achieve similar (or equal) effects for $2 or less.
Step 1: Find an empty plastic storage bin. I bought mine from Dollarama (my one-stop shop) for $2.
After trying my made-at-home “Stool Stool”, I noticed almost immediate results; no more straining, no more constipation. Without giving too much information, let’s just say you too can make the Ancient Chinese proud with this simple and affordable method!