It’s not just about the bottom line, it’s also about your bottom. Are you sitting comfortably?

When, or rather if, we discuss going to the loo it’s generally either with your partner and it’s personal, with your friends and mates but its humour, or with your doctor, because you have a problem.

Loo talk is generally taboo, but it may be about time to change all that, or at least make it an acceptable topic of conversation. Truth is, sanitary ware manufacturers, yes the people that make all the stuff you find in your bathroom, including the loo, are focussing more on ‘the bottom line’ than they are about your bottom.

Thank goodness for that you’re thinking, and anyway how would they see my bottom without having a series of law suits being filed against them? Well, that’s not quite my point. What I’m talking about is more to do with your health, in particular health issues relating to sitting on the toilet (aka ‘the throne.’)

Mums and dads have probably been telling you forever, that it’s bad to spend too long on the loo, and they’re right of course. So that’s probably the message you impart to your own children.

Straining isn’t good – you’ll recognise the kind of outcomes of straining that we’re discussing here; haemorrhoids (piles) and/or constipation, hernias and pelvic organ disorders incl. prolapse, or worse, colon cancer and even heart attacks. But that’s not solely to do with spending too much time on the loo. There’s a reason that begins way way back many centuries ago (that’s not a cue to sing the intro song from Joseph by the way) it’s a plain fact.

Quite a few of you will know this, or will almost certainly say, ‘yer, that’s right, of course!’ on hearing this… we, the human race, were designed to squat. Let’s face it, in times of emergency we’ve probably all squatted outside behind the bushes and completed the task in record time, thus avoiding bumping into a stray dog walker or other potential embarrassing scenarios.

The reason things speed up and slide out with such ease, is because you’re actually back in the correct posture to achieve the end goal. In other words, sitting kinks your colon and makes it more difficult to go. What actually happened when the first sit down system was invented (centuries before Thomas Crapper then mistakenly took the title of inventor of the loo) was nothing! What do I mean nothing I hear you ask over the hissing and booing about my seemingly discrediting Mr Crapper?

Well, the answer is simple and the subject so ancient, that one the question everyone should have asked over all of these years, has only recently been put out there, ‘Where was the research and backing of such a dramatic posture change that changed the way many from the world of squatters did their business? It’s taboo has unintentionally left a legacy of problems for generation upon generation.

There’s heaps and heaps of research to support this fact, and wide ranging agreement from doctors to osteopaths across the ‘sit down’ globe, that sitting simply isn’t how nature intended us to evacuate. The same specialists also confirm the impact it has on your health and, with osteopaths and yoga teachers pointing out that it also impacts your flexibility and agility throughout your life.

Picture the squatting nations (not squatting on the loo, that’s not quite the picture I wanted to put in your head) but picturing the fact that they can sit in a squat position, comfortably and easily for anything up to and beyond 10 minutes. Ask most ‘thronees’ if they can do that? Unless they do yoga or are exercising a lot, probably not, and as people get older, it becomes even more difficult. Especially if you gave up squatting from the moment you had your first triumphant sit on the potty, when you were in the 2s and 3s.

What’s my point? I’d advised you not to spend too much time on the loo, and I’ve been on it, metaphorically speaking, for far too long. In fact it’s such an fascinating subject, covering so many things; design, history, culture, comedy, hygiene, engineering, mechanics, etc. etc., that I could go on, but back to the point.

The point is, as was revealed to me by a leading expert in the field of sanitary ware, that manufacturers aren’t interested in changing the designs of your wall or floor mounted toilet(s) to enable you to sit better, they’re more interested in the bottom line. Unless they begin to realise the cost to individuals, the burden on the healthcare services, the far-reaching consequences of their inaction, then many of you can kiss your arse goodbye!

Angle35In the USA a few years back, on their equivalent of Dragon’s Den, there was a pitch to get funding for a plastic step, that enables you to raise your feet to a 35 degree angle whilst sitting. That product was funded instantaneously. Its adoption has resulted in sales reaching close to $33 million this year. It’s helping millions of people but it’s not a common feature in today’s bathrooms.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, there’s a lot of taboo about the loo. So, a plastic stool (foot stool that is, for those with their toilet funny bone still intact) is not the aesthetically discreet solution the majority of us would prefer to choose. In saying that I must congratulate and fully support the remarkable owners/inventors of the ‘squattypotty’ for helping so many people and continuing to innovate and design.

This year, I patented a number designs that use common bathroom materials and features to wrap neatly around the toilet with simple chrome fittings and an attractive look, to seamlessly blend with most bathroom designs and to your raise legs, not eyebrows, when you visit your or any other bathroom.  What’s the reaction to this so far, in spite of there being quite a simple, cost effective and attractive solution? Effectively…

‘We’re not interested in fixing this problem because it doesn’t help our bottom line.’

In fact, I strongly disagree. It would help their bottom line, and as people are educated about the right posture and how easy it is to alleviate and avoid potential or current problems – they may find they have a great selling opportunity, as well as being honest and caring for their customers. I was bought up to believe that’s what made an average company, a truly great company.

For those of you who don’t experience any problems, thanks for reading this and hope it provided a useful insight. For those of you who do suffer, and for future generations, and for the health of the nation and other nations who sit, it’s time to fight for our squatters rights!!

by Mark Hendriksen [copyright, HendriksenPublishing 09.2018 First published 10.09.2018]

With thanks to Giulia Enders for the inspiration from her best selling book, ‘The Gut’ and to Albright IP in Cheltenham, Gloucs UK for their help and guidance through the patenting process. Additionally to all the bookshops and researchers who have provided me with a wealth of information in support of the need to squat, along with some great toilet humour and remarkable facts about our most private room and the history of its many functional furnishings.

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