For the past 50 years or so, architects, proctologists, and wacky inventors have argued that the human body wasn't built to sit on toilets. The anti-porcelain throne contingent has long pushed the idea of squatting as the optimal defecation position—and though it may sound like quackery, research suggests they may be right, writes Daniel Lametti for Slate. While some of the more extreme benefits of squatting (prevents cancer!) haven't been proven, getting your bum off the toilet could help the 50% of Americans who have, at some point, suffered from hemorrhoids. So Lametti decided to test it out.
It comes down to geometry: Squatting straightens the 90-degree bend between the rectum and the anus, allowing for "complete evacuation" of the colon; using conventional toilets produces a less-desirable angle, meaning we may have to strain to, well, go. So each morning, Lametti squatted on his toilet, precariously holding on to a towel rack "pushing through the week—or, as it turned out, not pushing: Bowel movements just seem to happen in a squat. My 10-minute routine dropped to a minute, two at the most, and within a few days my knees stopped complaining." His experiment is up, but he'll try to again, though he doubts it'll become the next big craze. "Americans, now fatter than ever, are having trouble standing up from a sit, never mind a squat."