Experts Agree: Squat Toilets Are Good For You

Chances are your morning glory isn’t good for you.

In the Western world we’re second place when it comes to doing Number Two. A growing number of medical experts agree that our seat toilets aren’t nearly as good as squat toilets, which are what’s used on the majority of places in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

It all comes down to positioning.

The medical textbook Gastroenterology, the definitive reference to the subject and written by three MDs, states, “The ideal posture for defecation is the squatting position, with the thighs flexed upon the abdomen. In this way the capacity of the abdominal cavity is greatly diminished and intra-abdominal pressure increased, thus encouraging expulsion …”

In plain English, squatting releases pressure on your rectum and makes it easier to poop. Sitting in a Western style toilet is means you’re pushing against your own muscles. Many doctors say that using squat toilets reduce the chances of constipation, hemorrhoids, even bowel cancer.
Neuroscientist Daniel Lametti writes that wile there haven’t been any smoking gun statistics for cancer, it makes intuitive sense that people would be less constipated if they squat and less likely to put strain on their anus that would cause hemorrhoids.

Having spent a great deal of time in countries where squat toilets were the only option, I can testify that squatting is easier on the bum, if not the thighs. You get through your business quicker, and it does feel easier and more natural. It’s how we’re built, after all. Interested in learning more? Check out this article on how to use squat toilets.

Healthy Spa Travel Becoming A Popular Option

Not all that long ago, ask just about any travel agent about “Spa Travel” and they would probably not have known what you were talking about. Hotels have had spas and nicely equipped exercise centers for decades. Cruise lines promote spa treatments on ships at sea almost as much as shore excursions. Chains of fitness centers around the planet have had a focus on health for a while. But the arrival of spa-focused travel is an entirely different animal and one that looks like it will be around for quite some time.

Not really fitting in any particular category, spa travel can combine adventure, budget, wilderness and even air travel to make a new lifestyle-oriented option that can be an excellent choice for people of all ages.

A recent survey found that travelers “are now more interested in traveling to spas specifically for programs like stress-reduction, fitness and weight loss,” notes Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Wellness, a service that connects those seeking a healthy lifestyle with its worldwide network of wellness providers in a MySanAntonio report.Just how popular is spa travel? Agents surveyed reported that spa travel bookings increased 37 percent in 2011, a “healthy” growth in and of itself. But that number nearly doubled for 2012 with agents reporting a 68 percent growth in the number of clients choosing spa travel last year.

Better news: spa travel can be a real value-oriented choice with many agents reporting discount pricing on spa vacations. If the idea of centering travel on spa services sounds like something for older travelers, think again. The 26-45 age group is now most likely to book spa vacations. Another Hot spa travel destination? Mexico. Recovering from drug lord-induced bad press, this destination has some of the best deals around.

“The results are a clear indication that more travelers are deciding they simply can’t afford exhausting, unhealthy vacations,” concluded Ellis.

But what is spa-focused travel?

The bloggers at Traveling Mamas inspire women to explore the world via vacations with the kids, girlfriend getaways or romantic escapes. One option to make that happen is a spa vacation as we see in this video– in addition to their library of information – on the topic.

[Photo credit – Travelingmamas]

InterContinental Hotels Group launches EVEN, a wellness-focused hotel brand

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) today announced the US launch of EVEN™ Hotels, its new, wellness-focused hotel brand.

What is a “wellness hotel”?
Over a span of 18 months, IHG closely analyzed emerging trends, conducted studies and talked to over 4,000 customers. The research showed a demand shift to a holistic wellness travel experience, and confirmed an unmet need among customers – staying healthy while they travel.

Keep in mind, these won’t be destination spas or luxury resorts. The operating model for EVEN Hotels will be similar to limited service hotels.

What will guests find?
Guest rooms will be designed for in-room workouts with multi-functional room amenities (e.g. coat rack that doubles as pull-up bars); a best-in-class gym with equipment and group exercise activities; a “Wellness Wall” resource for fitness tips, walking distances, and equipment rentals; and personalized guest services offering advice on fitness options.

Rooms will feature tech amenities such as high speed Wi-Fi, multimedia ports, easy access to outlets, and ample desk space. Additionally, there will be social areas in the bar and lobby. Rooms will also feature green and allergy-friendly amenities, including: hypoallergenic linens, powerful showerheads, natural lighting, LED dimmers, and antibacterial wipes.
Nutritionally designed menus will offer a particular focus on natural, fresh, fit, and energizing meals. In an open-air café and bar, guests can enjoy complimentary coffee, mini-smoothies, and flavored, filtered water with glass bottles available to fill up and take back to their rooms.

The company is so confident in the brand that they have planned an aggressive $150 million growth plan over the next three years and expects to sign contracts for 100 EVEN Hotels within the next five years.

Look for the first locations to be announced soon and the first hotel to open in early 2013.

Photo of the day – Lunch in Serbia

One of the best parts of traveling is indulging in a few vices. The “hey, I’m on vacation!” attitude enables you to order dessert, have a glass of wine with lunch, and not worry about the calories you’re taking in, especially as you figure you’ll burn them off walking around museums or hiking the countryside. This photo by Flickr user eolone in Serbia shows some of the best travel food groups: the sausage group, the fried group, even the “hey, I’m in Europe!” tobacco group. Just switch out the water for a beer and you’d have the perfect guilt-free (for now) vacation meal.

Enjoy any food vices on your last trip? Take a photo for our Gadling Flickr group and it could be our next Photo of the Day!

Stop getting sick when you fly – Airplane tip

Forget buying expensive products that promise to keep you healthy when you fly. This simple, but unglamorous trick, prevents me from getting sick every time.

Before I head to the airport, I put a generous amount of antibiotic ointment on a cotton swab and then coat the inside of my nose. It creates a barrier for the germs and keeps my nose from becoming dry and irritated while breathing the recycled air in the plane.

(Of course, I have no medical proof, but I never get sick after flying when I remember to do this.)