Diggers' Lavatorium: another kind of squatting

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Jan 9 00:04:28 GMT 2013

To squat or not?

by NYREE MCFARLANE - www.stuff.co.nz - 09JAN2013


We very rarely discuss it with our peers, but we all do it - call it 
dropping a load, popping to the loo or whatever you like, there's a 
whole school of people who now think the way we go to the bathroom is 
bad for our health.

The elevated toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596 (the 
British writer even managed to convince his famous godmother, Queen 
Elizabeth I, to be one of the first to try it). And ever since then, 
more and more parts of the world - with great patches of the Middle 
East, Asia, Europe and Africa a large exception - have taken to 
sitting rather than squatting while eliminating waste.

"The modern toilet is an ergonomic nightmare," John Edwards, the man 
behind squat-assisting stool the Squatty Potty told the Washington 
Post. "We didn't evolve to 'go' that way." Edwards says squatting can 
rule out "issues caused by modern toilets," from constipation and 
haemorrhoids to pelvic-floor disorders, all of which, he says, are 
"linked to straining" while defecating.

The 37-year-old designer's simple invention costs $42 (minus 
shipping) and is basically just a stool that tucks under your toilet 
and, when pulled out, it allows you to raise your feet and mimic the 
angle of squatting. Why? Well, because Edwards says that's the way we 
were designed to do it.

Indeed, medical studies agree with Edwards, with a 2003 report in the 
Israel Journal of Medicine finding that squatting cuts down toilet 
time from an average of 130 to 53 seconds and leads to less abdominal 
strain. "Because of the anorectal angle being in a kinked position 
while sitting you are forced to strain in order to move the bowels, 
which is the main cause of haemorrhoids. While squatting the angle 
straightens out allowing the faecal matter to eliminate quickly and 
easily without straining."

"Compare sitting on the toilet to a kinked garden hose, it just 
doesn't work properly," explain the people at Squatty Potty. "In a 
squatting posture the bend straightens out and defecation becomes easier."

In fact, colorectal cancer has a much higher incidence in the Western 
world, and some believe - although conclusive medical studies haven't 
yet to be completed - that sitting on the toilet could be a cause of this.

"The conventional sitting position deprives the colon of pressure 
from the thighs and leaves the rectum choked by the puborectalis 
muscle," notes Jonathan Isbit of Nature's Platform, another squatting 
entrepreneur. "These obstacles make elimination difficult and 
incomplete - like trying to drive a car without releasing the parking 
brake. Chronically incomplete evacuation, combined with the constant 
extraction of water, causes wastes to adhere to the colon wall. The 
passageway becomes increasingly constricted and the cells start to 
suffocate. Prolonged exposure to toxins will often trigger malignant 

Keen to try it? If buying a special device seems a bit excessive, a 
simple everyday stool should suffice, and some health practitioners 
say you can even just pile bricks or old magazines on either side of 
your toilet (just make sure they're stable).

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