Monday, November 26, 2012

Squatting on the Potty for a Healthy Body

So I'm not talking about literally squatting on the potty, attempting to balance with your feet on the rims...that would be difficult and probably not very safe! I am talking about squatting on the potty with the help of a step-stool type device called a Squatty Potty, which you use when you're having a bowel movement. Bam! There it is. That's what we're talking about today...poop, fecal matter, excrement, you name it...we're talking about it. I'm going to keep it clean and stick with calling it a bowel movement, but if the talk of this makes you squeamish, then this post might not be for you.

Chances are though this post may help you. Since pooping/bowel movements are something that EVERYBODY does, you could probably benefit from hearing about the "squatting revolution  that's going on right now.

What is it?
The idea is simple, anytime you are going to have a bowel movement, you squat...as opposed to sitting in a normal toilet-style sit, and as a result your body gets healthier in a number of ways. The squatting position is created with a step-stool style device, which elevates your feet.

Why would I want to squat?
Traditional toilets have it all wrong when it comes to posture. Did you know the original toilet was designed by a watch maker? Later it was improved upon by a cabinet maker...and although they made the toilets look nice...they did not have our digestive anatomy in mind.

When we sit on a toilet in the traditional way our anal canal is at 90 degrees, which just so turns out to be counterproductive to helping us get bowel movements out. In this position, our anal canal is kinked....almost like a garden hose, not allowing bowel movements to pass through.  This is a good thing since it keeps us from "going" while we sit and work on the computer or eat dinner at the table.

Traditional toilet, all wrong. 

Unfortunately when we take on this position at the toilet  our bowel movements are more difficult to get out. Sometimes we have to strain or push...thus causing uncomfortable things like hemorrhoids or stress on our pelvic floor muscles.

This is where squatting comes in...
Since the beginning of time, humans have been squatting to have a bowel movement. They didn't have fancy, upright toilets and yet they got the "job" done just fine. They also didn't have the issues that burden our health today like hemorrhoids, constipation, and colon cancer. Could toilets be the smoking gun? A possible source to point our finger at when looking to the source of our ailments? While it's certainly not the answer to all the problems, it can certainly help.

Doing a yoga squat.

I do yoga a lot and when I was pregnant with Avery I made sure to practice squatting daily. I found that this not only helped prepare me for birth, but it also helped me see how beneficial the posture can be for going to the bathroom...lovely I know.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not about to abandon my toilet and start "going" in a hole in my backyard for every bowel movement just for the name of "health"! Lucky for us there's an easier solution...a Squatty Potty.  This simple device that looks similar to a step stool, slides conveniently under your toilet seat when not in use and when you're ready to have a bowel movement, you simply pull  it out, elevate your feet, and let it "slide"...literally!

Feet up on the Squatty Potty.

I purchased the ECCO Squatty Potty on Amazon for $40. I got the ECCO version that is 9 inches high. They have a variety of other styles too like bamboo and their "classic style". I'm sure there are other squatty-like products out there but this is the one I have the most experience with so that's what I'm sharing with you today.

Personal benefits that I've noticed since using the Squatty Potty are:
1. More of a bowel movement (larger amount because the bowel can completely empty)
2. Less time on the toilet (anal canal is completely open so the you don't have to strain, push, or wait around)
3. Decrease in bloating (less excrement remaining in the intestines means less bloating for you)
4. Less toilet paper (with the Squatty Potty, bowel movements empty right out, so there is not much to wipe. Even better, you don't have to make multiple trips to the bathroom, since you can empty out the first time thus equaling less toilet flushes.)

Other benefits as cited by the Squatty Potty website include:

  • helps avoid constipation
  • ends hemorrhoids
  • prevents colon disease
  • strengthens the pelvic floor

One more thing I love about the Squatty Potty is that it slides under the toilet nice and easy.

The Squatty Potty slides
under the toilet easily.

See the Squatty Potty in action (well, not literally) in this week's video...




Don't have a Squatty Potty?
Get resourceful. I used to use a laundry basket flipped upside down. You could also use a box, small trash can or whatever you can find that helps get your knees up above your hips.

Laundry basket can work to create
the "squat" if needed.
Additional tips:

  • When "squatting" try to get your knees above your hips as much as you can and bring your abdomen forward to your thighs. This really enhances the squat without you having to lift your bottom off the toilet seat.
  • Still having trouble with constipation? Start your day with a glass of warm water with the juice from half of a lemon like I mention in this post, then when you feel things moving along have a seat on the Squatty Potty and see if that helps solve your problem. It usually gets the job done!

Want to learn more? Check out this awesome video by the Squatty Potty company. I found the graphics and information very helpful!



So there you have it, the talk about "bowel movements" is complete...yeah! What do you think about "squatting on the potty"? Would you be willing to try or is it just too strange for you? Or are you an avid "squatting" fan? Share your experiences below!

Happy squatting!
*Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it.*
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