What kind of story starts with President Carter’s crippling hemorrhoids and ends with fat Americans unable to squat when they poop? An awesome story, that’s what kind.
Maybe it’s just because this Fishie is Jewish–our people seem to have an endless fascination with bowel movements–but Daniel Lametti’s recent story in Slate on the benefits of employing the Asian squat when pooping is the greatest and most practically informative thing we’ve read in months.
Take a gander:
People can control their defecation, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can’t maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend between the rectum–where feces builds up–and the anus–where feces comes out. When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.
Proponents of squatting argue that conventional toilets produce an anorectal angle that’s ill-suited for defecation. By squatting, they say, we can achieve “complete evacuation” of the colon, ridding our bowels of disease-causing toxins.
God bless the Internet. Don’t think a story like this would have ever made it to print.