Experts Agree: Squat Toilets Are Good For You

squat toilets
Sean McLachlan

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.

Thailand Moves From Squat To Western-Style Toilets

squat toilet For tourists who live in fear of having to use the toilet while touring Thailand, the country has announced official plans to switch over to Western-style facilities.

While the goal of the transition is to help the country’s aging population, the new toilets will no doubt help tourism, as many Westerners find it hard to navigate the in-ground head. The toilets, which are basically holes in the ground, are said to be very hygienic; however, a bit of agility is necessary to successfully do your business.

Hopefully, the switch will also include putting toilet paper in the restrooms, as well.

And, if you happen to find yourself in a venue that hasn’t yet made the switch, you can click here for tips on how to use a squat toilet.

[Image via seamusiv]

Tender American buttocks cause more environmental damage than Hummers

Squat toilets: love them. Toilet paper: love it, too. My ideal bathroom experience nixes both the Western sit-down toilet and the non-Western, left-hand, bucket-of-water wiping method, so that I combine what I consider the best parts of both bathroom experiences.

It might be time for me to adopt the bucket-of-water method, however.

That extra-soft, two-ply toilet paper I buy by the 50-pack at Costco is made of virgin forest. Though I realize I should have known better, I was shocked and dismayed at an article by The Guardian that reports that more than 98% of toilet paper sold in America comes from virgin wood: “The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country’s love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public’s insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.”

The article points out even more American excess: three-ply and lotion-infused tissue. You read it right: lotion-infused toilet paper.

While I’ll certainly be switching to recycled TP, I just might dip into the bucket-of-water method. Tips on how to use this technique are appreciated.

A bathroom problem of “Olympic” proportions

When I first saw the venue designs for this summer’s Olympic games in Beijing, I was quite impressed. The Chinese have pulled out all the stops to create several cutting-edge stadiums for the games, including the Beijing National Stadium designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron and the Beijing National Aquatics Center, which looks like a huge floating cube of water.

However, as the BBC reports, China may have spent a little too much money on those architecture fees. Prompted by frequent visitor complaints at test events, the Chinese are scrambling to replace traditional squat toilets at the venues with western-style “loos” for an expected 500,000 visitors. According to the BBC, who quotes Yao Hui, Deputy Head of Venue Management, “Most of the Chinese people are used to the squat toilet, but nowadays more and more people demand sit-down toilets.”

Gee, Yao, do you think? I have no problem adapting to a traditional squat toilet if I’m coming to visit China on my own, but perhaps when you have visitors coming from as many as 200 different nationalities you might want to standardize? I guess if you’re headed to this summer’s games in Beijing, make sure you bring your own toilet paper and maybe take a look at this for advice. Also take a look at this for more “traditional” background info on Beijing before your visit.


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