The Ergonomics of the Toilet

According to the creators of Nature’s Platform, the every day act of sitting on the toilet is not an ergonomically natural position and can lead to serious damage to the pelvic organs.

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This article on the history of the toilet seat indicates that humans are meant to assume a squatting position for elimination and did so for thousands of years. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that we started the practice of sitting instead of squatting.

With the advent of indoor plumbing in the 1800′s, the throne-like water closet was invented to give ordinary people the same “dignity” previously reserved for kings and queens. The plumber and cabinet maker who designed it had no knowledge of human physiology – and sincerely believed that they were improving people’s lives.

The new device symbolized the “progress” and “creativity” of western civilization. It showed that Man could “improve” on Nature and transcend the primitive cultural practices followed by the poor “benighted” natives in the colonies.

The British plumbing industry moved quickly to install indoor plumbing and water closets throughout the country. The great benefits of improved sanitation caused people to overlook a major ergonomic blunder: The sitting position makes elimination difficult and incomplete, and forces one to strain.

150 years ago, no one could have predicted how this change would affect the health of the population. But today, many physicians blame the modern toilet for the high incidence of a number of serious ailments. Westernized countries have much higher rates of colon and pelvic disease, as illustrated by this report in the Israel Journal of Medical Science:

The prevalences of bowel diseases (hemorrhoids, appendicitis, polyps, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and colon cancer) are similar in South African whites and in populations of prosperous western countries. Among rural South African blacks with a traditional life style, these diseases are very uncommon or almost unknown.

Whereas now we think of squatting as an undesirable and uncomfortable position for using the toilet, it is actually a more natural and healthy position for our bodies.

Seven Advantages of Squatting

1. Makes elimination faster, easier and more complete. This helps prevent “fecal stagnation,” a prime factor in colon cancer, appendicitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

2. Protects the nerves that control the prostate, bladder and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged.

3. Securely seals the ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine. In the conventional sitting position, this valve is unsupported and often leaks during evacuation, contaminating the small intestine.

4. Relaxes the puborectalis muscle which normally chokes the rectum in order to maintain continence.

5. Uses the thighs to support the colon and prevent straining. Chronic straining on the toilet can cause hernias, diverticulosis, and pelvic organ prolapse.

6. A highly effective, non-invasive treatment for hemorrhoids, as shown by published clinical research.

7. For pregnant women, squatting avoids pressure on the uterus when using the toilet. Daily squatting helps prepare the mother-to-be for a more natural delivery.

I highly recommend the full article, it is full of more information and links about the history, health, and ergonomics involved with using the toilet