No denying it is an awkward topic, yet we all know a good poo is satisfying. Don’t squirm. If you were honest, a clean, complete poo is exciting, right? In my family, we get so thrilled by this biological process, we’re inclined to tell each other about our toilet successes. This goes way back, thanks to my health-loving father, perfectly setting me up for a career in Chinese Medicine. To us Chinese Medicine folk, details of your excrement gives clear and concise information about what is happening inside, so in that sense, it’s good to take notes.
One obvious bowel quality is constipation. People who suffer from infrequent motions really know about it. Not only is life in their body a constant uncomfortable, it is hard to loose weight, you’re bloated, have digestive issues, facial pimples and brain fog.
After being prompted by a reader for help, I’ve curated these tips to get you some productive toilet time.
Tip 1 – Abdomen Massage
Give yourself a daily abdomen massages in a clockwise motion. Place one hand over the other and rotate around your belly in large circles. This is the direction the faeces travels through the ascending, transcending and descending colon.
Practice this before you get out of bed every morning for 5 minutes. Use massage oil or some other natural oil like almond, coconut, argan, and notice where there’s lumps and tender points and gently give them an extra rub in the clockwise direction.
Tip 2 – Fluids
Drink lots of warm fluids. Not room temperature, not cold, but warm. Sipping on herbals teas during the day are excellent. The principle, if you can imagine it, is to “float the boat”…the boat being the faeces. Seriously, that’s how we talk in TCM-land
Tip 3 – Fibre
Make sure your fibre intake is regular and in every meal through abundant fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s almost rhubarb season here in Australia, and that’s a wonderful bowel mover. As are legumes.
If you want my opinion on it, I don’t love the idea of Metamucil – it creates lazy bowels and lazy eating habits, but use in the short term if you want to get some quick movement.
Tip 4 – Acupressure
There’s a acupuncture point on the abdomen called Tian Shu, Stomach 25 that with strong stimulation will help with a bowel motion. This point is two breadths of your thumb lateral to the belly button. Rub and rub and rub this point. It might be sore to start off with which means it’s even better for the rubbing.
Tip 5 – Chillax
Get into the habit of relaxation and meditation. A lot of constipation can be from internal heat which is generated from stress. Also, constipation can be a physical manifestation of emotional hanging on. Check in with yourself, do you “hang on” to issues, things, emotions?
Tip 6 – Avoid heating foods
Avoid heating and drying foods like chilli, too much garlic (even though we do love lots of garlic for it’s antiseptic actions), cinnamon. These will all contribute to drying out the bowels.
Tip 7 – Black Sesame Seeds
Sprinkle black sesame seeds on your morning breakfast, vegetables, curries, yoghurt, salads (Spring and Summer only). Black sesame seeds – called Hei Zhi Ma- make an appearance in the Chinese Materia Medica and used for moistening and moving the bowels, relieving constipation. You can find black sesame at Asian grocers or health food stores.
Tip 8 – Eat Breakfast
And yep, while we’re on the subject, eat breakfast. Between 5 and 7 in the morning is the time when Qi (chee) of the Large Intestine is at it’s peak. In an ideal world we are waking and moving the bowels during this time. In an ideal world.
Eating breakfast stimulates the digestion. A morning chew gets digestive enzymes juicing up our gastrointestinal tracts and is a prompt for peristalsis (the wavelike motions that move food through the gastrointestinal tract), boosting metabolic processes.
Porridge is perfect as oats are high in fibre. Steel cut, organic, minimally processed will ensure the bran (aka fibre) is intact. Add stewed fruit (bonus fibre) and chew well.
Tip 9 – Probiotics
Bowel motions are a part of the overall scenario of good digestive health, so supplement with a good pro-biotic such as Inner Health Plus.
Better still, a raw sauerkraut will have the added benefit of heaps of fibre, minerals and enzymes. Just ensure there’s no vinegar (inferior product) and it’s un-pasteurised. Try Byron Bay Organics for those in Australia. In the US? I had an awesome sauerkraut from Hawthorn Valley Farm in New York.
Other foods containing naturally occurring pro-biotics include: Kefir, Kimchi, Kombucha, Yoghurt, Miso, Tempeh, Poi, Micro-algae.
Do you have any tips that you can add? Please comment below and share your success.
Look after yourself,