When I visited China last month, I knew I could expect to see three things: massive chain smoking, an obscene amount of “Beats By Dr. Dre” knockoff headphones, and squatting toilets. While many close-minded Westerners may find themselves initially disgusted at the thought of defecating while squatting over a hole, there are many health benefits to using the toilet in this manner.
For those of you who already know about the squatting position, congratulations. Give yourself a round of applause while you huddle your knees tenderly to your chest with your trousers at ankle level. Everyone else is encouraged to read on as we discuss the various benefits of assuming this natural squatting position during your future bathroom adventures.
As if the benefits of hitting a natural squat depth were not discussed enough on this website, we have yet another reason to hit full depth. Much like the topics that were discussed in the third-world squat and 5 basic things you are doing all wrong articles, the “ass-to-grass” squat position is used throughout much of the world, with things like chairs and porcelain toilets considered a product of Western society. As we have been increasingly made aware of, just because it is convenient does not mean it is optimal. Until the mid-19th century, nearly the entire world performed their bodily functions in the squatting position, with throne-like toilets reserved for royalty ("emperor's new throne") and the disabled. This changed after the ushering in indoor plumbing, the modern toilet became standard in many homes in the Western world. The plumbers who installed these fixtures truly believed they were improving people's lives. After all, who wouldn't want to live like royalty?
The problem with modern toilets is that it takes away all the health benefits of using a toilet in the squatting position.
The modern toilet pose involves sitting with hips and knees at right angles while sitting down. While this may be nice for privacy and keeping clothes clean, it comes with a long list of health risks.
The first is that the valsava maneuver must be repeated several times during the bowel movement, which may overload the cardiovascular system and can actually induce fainting. Yes that's right, some folks strain so hard that they actually pass out. Messy.
The time it takes to complete a bowel movement in the squatting position is 51 seconds on average, while a bowel movement in the modern position takes an average of 131 seconds to complete. You know what that means?
As many are aware, excessive effort and force is required for defecation in the modern posture. Contrast that with the squatting position which requires less strain due to the recto-canal being straight in its alignment, allows for a much smoother bathroom experience without having to worry about bursting a blood vessel in your brain.
There is a long list of diseases and conditions that are almost unique to the developed world, including appendicitis, crohns disease, bathroom heart attacks, colon cancer, and constipation. It has been theorized heavily that these conditions are due to the toilet conditions of the modern world, which do away with the squatting position that was used since the dawn of time until very recently. Some have theorized that rather than heavy intake of meat or a lack of fiber in the diet, bowel problems and colon issues are due to the way in which a bowel movement is performed, rather than the food that was eaten.
If you think it only has to do with bowel movements, you are wrong. Researchers have found that pregnant women who relieved themselves in the deep squat position increased the birth canal by 20-30%, allowing women to achieve birth more naturally. The modern toilet is making women lose their ability to give birth naturally by taking them out of the natural birth position: the deep squat. As is becoming increasingly clear, lying on your back with legs propped up is just about the worst position for the women to give birth in, but is quite convenient for the doctor.
My grandfather used to tell me during his life in Africa that women would give birth in the deep squat routinely, with nary a single episode of pain-induced screaming like you see in so many Western hospitals.
"But LBEB, how am I supposed to assume the squatting position on a modern toilet? My feet are huge!" Well my friend, there is hope for your bowels. Many products are available that mimic the natural squatting position with the benefits of indoor plumbing. Here are a few examples:
You may say "wow that's disgusting, why would I want to use a toilet like that?" You are already using a filthy toilet, one that is probably cleaned less than once a week, that has had a hundred sweaty butt cheeks on it. With these, the only contact that is made is with your feet.
By using a toilet like this, you can relieve yourself the way nature intended, with the all the amenities of a common bathroom. Test this method out for yourself and see if it relieves any ailments you may have with your digestive tract. Remember: You can eat 100% Paleo all your life and still have terrible bowel problems due to the usage of a modern toilet.