5 Ways To Relieve Constipation
1 – Food intolerances can cause a spasm in the pelvic floor altering the tone of the muscles essential for healthy bowel movements. Food intolerances can actually cause a dysfunctional peristaltic motion (wave like movement of the gut tube) anywhere along the gut tube from mouth to anus. Therefore it’s important to avoid all foods that are upsetting you in any way.
The primary one that I know gets a bad wrap, but is such an issue, is gluten. Keep a food and symptoms diary and see what other foods you notice are causing blasting, gas, water retention, headaches, blotchy skin etc. Cut these foods out for a minimum of 12 weeks and slowly reintroduce to test your tolerance to them.
2 – Perform deep squats. Squatting just like you see people do in India, for example, is essential for a healthy bowel. In the deep squat the thigh pushes against the ascending and descending colon aiding in the peristaltic motion and actually allowing the bowel to work optimally.
If you can’t squat? Well, if you can’t, you must!
If you can’t get all the way down into a deep squat I would make it a priority to open up the hips, knees, ankles and lower back to allow you to get into this desirable position.
Using the foam rolling, massage ball and mobility routines I advocate and teach all clients is needed to achieve this.
3 – Hydrate. Drinking quality water with a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt in each litre is critical for good bowel health. Dehydration results in the colon squeezing water from the stool to recycle it if you’re drinking enough. Yep, not a very nice thought so don’t forget to drink (your weight in kg x 0.0333 = amount in litres needed daily).
4 – Chew your food thoroughly. Partially chewed and under digested food can harbour fungus and parasites that will lay eggs and other nasties, that will alter the peristaltic motion of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Remember this Buddhist proverb: “drink your food and chew your water”. This refers to the liquified state your food should be in ideally before swallowing.
5 – Calm yourself and switch on the para-sympathetic (rest/digest) branch of your autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS has two branches. The well documented fight/flight and the calming, rest/digest branch.
Even if your bowel is full but you’re overly stimulating the fight/flight branch of the ANS you will struggle to fully relax the internal anal sphincter. This is switched on by the rest/digest branch. If this is the case it usually results in only small amounts of faeces being passed when you do go to the toilet, which can be quite frustrating.
Straining to try and move a stool is a sign of constipation.
Trying some of the mindfulness techniques I have described in the previous 2-3 weeks will help to calm the ANS and switch on the rest/digest branch.
These are some thoughts on correcting dysfunctional digestion and freeing your bowels.