Homo sapiens seldom select suitable seating stations. Let's see if we can remedy that. This video demonstrates the flatfooted squat, which unlike the "in chair" seated position, is a anatomically natural and structurally healthy resting posture for humans.
"A fourth of mankind habitually squats in fashion very similar to the squatting position of the chimpanzee, and the rest of us might squat this way too if we were not trained to use other postures beyond infancy." -Gordon W. Hewes
With studies emerging that suggest that sitting is a potentially harmful activity — "Sitting is worse than smoking" is the new meme — one has to ask the question, is it sitting that is really so dangerous, or is it sitting in chairs, couches, and lazyboy’s that is so detrimental? In other words, what results would we see if a study was done examining the health effects of prolonged flatfooted squats (as we see in modern Asian populations and amongst many indigenous groups) compared against the effects of sitting in modern chairs?
Going Number 2
The flatfooted squat is also the natural position for human defecation — yes, I'm talking about pooping — and a far healthier way for us to void our bowels. A study published in the journal Digestive Disease and Science titled "Comparison of Straining During Defecation in Three Positions" states the following:
"The present study confirmed that sensation of satisfactory bowel emptying in sitting defecation posture necessitates excessive expulsive effort compared to the squatting posture."
Just how significant are these "straining forces"? Here is an interesting article on spontaneous fainting and death that can occur in individuals with compromised cardio-vascular systems when straining on the toilet.
Fortunately achieving the healthier squat position in the bathroom is fairly simple, despite the gleaming porcelain centerpiece that adorns most of our throne-rooms. In the video above I show the Lillipad, a device from New Zealand that converts your existing toilet into a squat toilet. Using this device or something similar — there are many items like it available online — will help to ensure that you get into a full flat footed squat at least once a day (if you are voiding your bowels less than once a day then you'll likely find the squat position all the more valuable).
What About Babies?
There is much more that could be said about the flatfoot squat than is really within the scope of this post. In particular I am thinking of its use as a natural labor and birthing position. Incidentally if you are a female reader who may have used this posture during your labor or while giving birth, your input in the comment area below would be invaluable to this community!
The Benefits Of The Flat Foot Squat
I have noticed several benefits from adding the flatfooted squat into my daily movement patterns, and while they are subjective I think many of them will be felt by you too if you give it a try.
-Greater ease and comfort in my body in general
-Increased hip mobility
-Increased knee mobility
-Increased ankle mobility
-Reduced lower back discomfort, reduced lumbar compression
-Greater ease in bowel elimination and bowel health
-Increased range of motion in the pelvic girdle
-Increased "space" in the pelvic floor - I suspect with benefit to the prostate
-Greater ability to compress my body into a smaller area.. not sure if that is really a benefit, but I think it's pretty awesome
-Increased ability to comfortably rest on rocky and wet terrain without having to sit on the ground
My Challenge To You:
Are you ready to give it a try? If so then I challenge you to 1 minute in the flatfooted squat per day for the next 10 days. If by then you see no benefits, simply stop doing it.. But if you do, then you have yet one more tool in your personal health development toolkit. Remember, this isn't some new exercise infomercial I'm selling, rather it is an atavistic mobility and resting posture that is an essential part of your hominid heritage. For me it is a crucial component of my ReWilding Sovereign Self Health Care Strategy.
Have you already been flatfoot squatting? Noticed any health benefits? Are you taking the challenge? Please feel welcome to describe your experience below!