I’m gonna keep this short, but I think it’s a point worth raising.
Have you been to Japan? I went last July:
One of the big differences over there is the toilets. Or, more accurately, the holes in the ground:
For a country which boasts such an incredible culture of respect towards health, environment and others, the toilets stand out as being perhaps a little more… primitive.
(They do also have the occasional ‘Western’ toilet):
Toilets in Japan are known as ‘squatters’.
The first thing that struck me was a reliance on quad strength. I’m 24 and it was initially all a bit of a challenge. Then you wander around the cities and realise that the Japanese adopt this posture of squatting quite frequently. They are an incredibly fit group of people – active and slim. You notice that instead of bending down to tug weeds in their front garden, they squat down. This both protects their backs and builds strength and flexibility. How many 60-something year-olds in this country can you imagine squatting low when gardening, or crossing their legs when eating?
Now, back to the (faecal) matter at hand.
Yes, they are great for your quads and working creaky knees, but what else can we learn from the squatters?
Well, it took some time to realise it, but in fact, adopting such a low position is fabulous for encouraging bowel movements!
I spend a large part of my day, every day, asking people about their bowel motions and examining stool charts on the ward round in the hospital so I’m not going to be shy on this topic.
Squatting so low helps to increase pressure “down below” and helps to stimulate that sensation of needing to, ahem, drop the kids off at the pool.
Since then, I have used this position frequently to encourage a little more activity down there.
If you struggle with constipation from time to time, or know you’ll need to go soon but can’t quite go now, then try to get into the squatter’s position. If you’re not sure what I mean, it looks a bit like this:
And let me know how you get on.
Honestly, it’s a fabulous hack.
cIBSers, you’re welcome.
Want to learn more?