health

Squatting to defecate improves colon health and lowers hemorrhoid risk

Saturday, February 02, 2013 by: Michael Ravensthorpe
Tags: squatting, defecation, colon health

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(NaturalNews) While few people can deny that the modern flush toilet - pioneered in 1591 by Sir John Harrington but refined numerous times thereafter - is a marvel of engineering, an increasing number of researchers are starting to question the health implications of the 'sitting' position they force their users to adopt. Why are hemorrhoids, for instance, so common in the West but comparatively rare in countries in which squatting is necessary or preferred? Is it possible that modern toilets, despite their sophistication and elegance, are negatively affecting our colon health? According to several studies, the answer is yes.

In 2003, the Israeli doctor, Dov Sikirov, conducted a study for Digestive Diseases and Sciences that analyzed the differences between squatting and sitting to eliminate matter. For the study, he asked 28 healthy adult volunteers to use a digital timer to record the time it required them to completely empty their bowels when using three separate toilets: One standard-sized toilet (41 centimeters high), one lowered toilet (31 centimeters high), and a squat toilet. Dr. Sikirov found that it took volunteers an average of 51 seconds to defecate using the squat toilet, versus 130 seconds for the raised toilets. He also found that the height of the toilet directly correlated with difficulty of evacuation.

There is a reason why children instinctively squat to defecate

The results of Dr. Sikirov's study should not surprise anyone who understands the position and needs of the colon. Simply put, sitting to defecate places enormous strain on the lower rectum since the downward pushing of the diaphragm (coupled with the holding of the person's breath) causes the veins to stretch and swell - leading to an inefficient evacuation at best, and hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and a host of other bowel-related conditions at worse. Squatting, on the other hand, decreases abdominal pressure since it straightens the rectum and relaxes the puborectalis muscle, inducing an effortless and complete evacuation. This is the way mankind defecated for thousands of years prior to the advent of the modern toilet, and it is also the preferred method of young children, who are guided by instinct rather than societal norms.

What can you do?

Fortunately, you don't need to replace your lavish modern toilet with a decidedly less attractive 'Third World squat' toilet to reap the benefits of squatting. Instead, you can simply squat while balancing on the toilet seat. This is a perfectly safe way to use the toilet - toilet seats are designed to accommodate an adult's full body weight - and you'll experience an instantaneous improvement in the quality of your bowel movements, as well as eventual relief from conditions related to colon pressure.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.slate.com
http://www.naturesplatform.com/health_benefits.html
http://www.toilet-related-ailments.com/hemorrhoids.html

About the author:
Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world's healthiest foods.

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