Why do we sit on toilets?
Humans have always used the squatting position for resting, working and performing bodily functions. Children of every culture instinctively squat to relieve themselves. Although it may seem strange for us, this is the way the human body was designed to function.
Until the middle of the 19th century, only royalty and the disabled used the chair-like toilets in Europe. In the 1800, with the advent of indoor plumbing in Great Britain, the throne-like water closet was invented. Ordinary people were given the same "dignity" previously reserved for kings and queens.
The rest of Western Europe, Australia and North America, did not want to appear less civilized than Great Britain. So, within a few decades, most of the industrialized world had adopted "The Emperor's New Throne."
The plumber and cabinet maker who designed the modern toilet had no knowledge of human physiology – and sincerely believed that they would improve people's lives.
150 years ago, no one predicted how this change would affect the health of the population.
What is better for your health - sitting or squatting?
Many physicians blame the modern toilet for the high incidence of a number of serious medical conditions in today’s modern society.
The seated position while performing bodily functions may be a cause for bowel diseases such as hemorrhoids, appendicitis, polyps, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and colon cancer.
Studies have shown that westernized countries have much higher rates of colon and pelvic diseases. In traditional life style, these diseases are very uncommon or almost unknown.
Why is squatting better for our health?
To be able to control defecation, the body also relies on muscles and a bend between the rectum—where feces builds up—and the anus—where feces comes out. As we stand up, the extent of this bend is about 90 degrees. In this way it puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out and defecation becomes easier.
When we sit, the extent of this bend is still about 90 degrees. Therefore much more pressure is needed for defecation.
Straining during bowel movement increases the pressure in the abdomen, causing the veins that line the anus to swell. In hemorrhoid patients, those veins stay swollen and sometimes bleed. Squatting makes defecation easier and reduces the need to strain and decreasing abdominal pressure. Therefore, it might stave off hemorrhoids.
How can I squat on my toilet?
You don’t need to be an acrobat or have specific skills to get into a squatting position. Neither do you need to exchange your comfortable sitting toilet for a hole in the ground. The solution is very simple: while sitting on a regular toilet, use a stool to elevate your legs and bring yourself in a squatting position. These stools can be simple DIY products, regular stools you find in a furniture store or sophisticated products from innovative brands.