The topic no one likes to talk about....bowel movements. As difficult as this discussion might be, everyone poops, and the way you do is telling of your overall health.
According to Chinese medicine, you should be having a bowel movement once or twice every day that is well formed, complete, and easy to pass. If this isn't happening for you, it can be a sign of a larger problem with your health and digestion.
See, the digestive system is one of the most important for your overall health and well-being. Your body needs to be digesting foods properly, effectively assimilating nutrients, and efficiently eliminating waste products. When this system breaks down it can cause low energy levels, weight gain, decreased immunity, and more. So let's get this train moving - shall we?
A whole foods diet full of fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains and beans should provide you with enough fiber to keep things moving. If you've been eating too many processed, refined foods out of boxes and bags lately, it may be time to add some more whole foods back in. Be aware however, that for some people, too much fiber can be a cause for constipation as well. So be mindful and moderate in your fiber intake.
In addition, prunes, kiwis and prune juice contain natural laxative substances to help you poop easier. So add these into your diet every day if you need to get things moving.
2. Herbs and Supplements
If you have any digestive problems at all, you should be taking a daily probiotic. Be sure to find one with a few different strains, and 50-100 billion organisms. Take it at night for the best effect. And if you have to take antibiotics for any reason, be sure to space out your probiotics and antibiotics by at least an hour, so that the antibiotic doesn't kill all the lovely probiotics you're trying to feed it.
For occasional emergencies, an herbal tea mix containing senna and other digestive herbs (fennel, ginger, etc.) can be helpful. You can find them at a health food store. Pour your boiling water over the tea bag, cover it (very important!) and steep for 10-30 minutes. Squeeze the tea bag and drink. Do this in the evening, and by morning you will have a bowel movement. Be prepared for some uncomfortable cramping. Only use this on occasion, because regular use can cause dependency.
3. Squatty Potty
Our bodies were made to squat during a bowel movement, and sitting in a chair position on your porcelain throne activates muscles that need to relax in order to defecate completely. The squatty potty raises your feet to bring you into a squatting position, relaxing muscles and changing the angle of your colon to make pooping easier. Don't believe me? Just Google it for some great videos and Amazon reviews.
Still having issues? Try acupuncture. Your acupuncturist will assess the root cause of your constipation, whether it is lack of fluids, leaky gut, structural issues, or more. They may also be able to recommend herbs to fix the gut as well.
Try this bonus acupressure technique: massage the Stomach qi line. See the photo below for more info.
Have you tried any of these techniques? Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.