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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Art of Pooping

The following is a complement to a recent youtube video post by Sean from UnderGround Wellness.com; This is an article I wrote about a year and a half ago for my JocsonHealth Newsletter. Some things are alwyas relevant.


The Art of Pooping

Let go of what you think this article is about. It’s a more serious matter than what you may expect. I could have used “shitting” in the title but felt that was too vulgar; or “defecating” but felt that was too boring; so I decided to use what my 4 ½ year old son refers to his bowel movements, “poops”. We are living in a nation of constipation. Modern society is more backed up than our ancestors could ever imagine. If you’re reading this and think that just because you poop 1-3 times a day, that everything’s okay, you’re in for a rude awakening. There are two things to consider in this situation: 1) The diameter of your pipe (intestine) becomes narrower as you become more backed up. Your bowels may be moving but through a smaller hole. This is what happens before a pipe becomes completely clogged; 2) Throughout the course of the intestinal tract, some portions may be narrower or wider than others due to an accumulation of uneliminated feces, mucoid plaque, and intestinal wall encrustation. So you see, just because your bowels are moving does not necessarily mean that they are flowing as freely as they can be. Everyday life stress, poor diet choices, lack of movement, prescription drugs, lack of direction in life, hating your job, negativity, faulty posture, stubbornness, hopelessness, etc. are all reasons that can contribute towards constipation. The colon is the “elimination” center where it literally packs things up and prepares waste to be removed from the body. It also reabsorbs things that may still be useful to the body. When you’re constipated, things that were meant to be eliminated hang around longer than usual leading to a toxic waste dump type of a situation. The body will continue to function with this extra toxic load but it eventually takes its toll. Laxatives may help to a degree but are not the”quick fix” solution that many people believe them to be. Years of uneliminated feces and other toxic waste will not be removed so easily from a round of taking laxatives. Although there are many things one can do to address constipation, I will focus on the physical, or mechanical, aspects that can help assist the situation. And quite possibly relieve or lessen the need for the other approaches.

The Modern Toilet

The “porcelain throne” was actually invented in the UK as a way to “civilize” such a “barbaric” act as defecating. Previous to about the late 18th and early 19th centuries, our ancestors didn’t have toilets and were pooping by the most natural way our bodies were meant to poop: by SQUATTING. In ancient civilizations, the only people sitting to poop were royalty and the handicapped. Squatting was considered too lowly and an act of the common folk. Sitting was a much more dignified posture as compared to the animalistic squatting position. The problem that arose is that the sitting posture was more for the satisfaction of the ego rather than the function of the body. If one looks at the anatomy of the human colon, what you’ll find is that humans are the only species where our bowels have to move upward against gravity. This is evident where the small intestine transitions into the large intestine by the ascending colon (as an anatomy refresher the ascending colon goes up on the right lower front ribcage and then across the lower rib cage as the transverse colon, to the left, where the descending colon goes down towards the pelvic basin and turns into the sigmoid colon before it turns into he rectum and then your anus). Before the small intestine turns into the large intestine there is a one-way valve called the ileocecal valve that prevents feces from re-entering the small intestine (which would contaminate it). Around this area attached to the ascending colon is the appendix. The appendix has an important function (despite what many in the medical community think) in “screening” toxins as they enter the colon. At the other end of the colon, by the sigmoid portion where it meets the rectum, there is another valve that prevents feces from leaking out of the anus until one is ready to go poop. This valve is called the puborectalis portion of the levator ani muscle. This muscle literally “chokes” the rectum so that we don’t poop ourselves.

The Art of Squatting

In the natural squatting posture, the pressure of the right thigh against the ascending colon allows for the ileocecal valve to completely close and creates pressure so that the feces can be mobilized upward through the ascending colon. At the other end of the colon, the pressure of the left thigh against the rib cage allows for the puborecalis muscle to completely relax and open, allowing for a clean evacuation of the feces. Ideally this process is effortless and there’s no straining involved. During sitting, the ileocecal valve is not supported enough and is loosely “open” allowing for the feces to back log into the small intestine. This can create a tremendous stress to the appendix which can also become back logged and lead to the condition of appendicitis. Also, as a result of sitting there is no mechanical pressure against the ascending colon to assist peristalsis, so the common way for people to get things moving is to strain. Straining involves holding one’s breath and pushing. This is called a Valsalva maneuver and causes the diaphragm muscle to be blown downward which causes the pelvic floor to also become “ballooned”, or pushed downward. Sitting also reinforces the “choking” of the rectum by the puborectalis muscle which is another reason for one to strain. Pooping while sitting is obviously possible, but my point is that it’s not as efficient or ideal as squatting. You’re creating unnecessary stress to the body from a lifetime of pooping on the modern day toilet. Conditions such as appendicitis, constipation, uterine/ovarian fibroids, prostate dysfunctions, bladder incontinence, endometriosis, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, Chrohn’s disease, and any other disease or dysfunction of the abdominal/pelvic viscera as well as degeneration of the lumbosacral spine, hips and knees can be linked to seated pooping.

When I physically assess clients, one of the movements I check is their ability to fully squat to the floor. This is not only giving me information as far as the mobility of their spine and lower extremities but the function of their digestive system as well its relationships to the rest of the body. If I find someone is unable to fully squat, part of their program is to get them as much as possible to do so. In this way, I’ve addressed many birds with so few stones. My recommendation for many of you right now is to get your ass off the chair and see how low you can comfortably squat towards the floor. Another thing I recommend is to either purchase or make your own “squat stool” to be placed around your toilet. A device such as the Nature’s Platform product is a fantastic way to allow for a natural squatting position. I no longer recommend the Life Step foot stool since it is not as effective as the Nature’s platform. The Life Step still promotes most of the weight on one’s ass (or sitting position) rather than the feet.

In summary, if you’re not squatting, you’re not pooping effectively. If you feel you can’t squat (for whatever reason), hire someone that can help you. This is something so simple and so effective that I put it on my list of “Simple Things Patients Can Do on Their Own before Seeing a Doctor”. I also classify it as a clinical pearl. Try it. It works.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Love Is All That Exists

Be drunk on love, because love is all that exists;
Without love, no one has the right to enter His house.
They ask, "What is love?" Reply: "Giving up your self-will."
He who hasn't given up his will isn't chosen.
The lover's an emperor, the two worlds are at his feet:
Does an emperor notice what is thrown in his path?
It is Love and the Lover that live eternally-
Don't lend your heart to anything else; all else is borrowed.
How long will you go on and on embracing a corpse?
Embrace the soul that is embraced by nothing else.

RUMI

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Meaning of Michaelmas

The following article was taken from this month's Jocson Health newsletter. I thought it was appropriate to post it to my blog so those who don't get my newsletter could also benefit. Enjoy!




The Meaning of Michaelmas

During the end of September (9/29 to be exact), around the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and the start of the Fall season is a little known celebration that is popular in esoteric circles but utterly unknown to the masses is the Feast of the Archangel Michael. Why hasn’t commercialism banked on this universal spiritual holiday? Well, for starters, I don’t think the selling of the mythological story of Michael slaying the Dragon and banishing it from the Heavens into the depths of Humanity where it forever dwells waiting for its opportunity to spark chaos throughout. Hmmm,..I just can’t imagine Walmart making a commercial for a Michaelmas season sale where dead dragons are featured with Michael’s sword of Truth and Wisdom piercing their hearts.

So what exactly is Michaelmas?

So as the story goes, Archangel Michael slays the Dragon, who is otherwise known as Satan, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, etc. The Dragon was also a Divine Being who chose to separate itself away from God (or the Creator) and because it was so influential, the impulse of Michael was warranted to send this fallen angel not into the depths of the Earth, but rather into the essences of Earth’s main inhabitants, Humans. The shooting stars that are so common during the late Summer and early Fall symbolize the flashing Sword of Michael battling the Dragon. This Dragon lives within each and every one of us and the way we feed and nurture it is by not acknowledging our soul-spiritual natures as well as ignoring the soul-spiritual natures of all living creatures. The greatest energy of this Dragon centers around our heart region. Imagine the phrase “having a heart of coal or stone” and this is what happens with a fattened Dragon. When one achieves the self-realization of the God within us (ie. discovering our true and original spiritual nature), the Dragon starves.

Despite the Dragon giving a sense of evilness, it actually serves a grander purpose and has its gifts. It is because of this Luciferic Being that Man has Free Will and the capability to be independent and free. And it is for this reason that we can not “blame” God when bad things happen to good people. We did that. And as one gains a deeper understanding of this, there’s no longer any need to blame because things are simply the way they are (if this perplexes you or confuses you, some study into karma and reincarnation may benefit). And on the other hand, because of our Free Will, we can choose to fulfill our destiny of accelerating our evolution of Humanity into Higher Spiritual Beings as “begotten sons of God”. The Dragon doesn’t want this to happen.

Michaelmas is a festival and celebration of the Individual resurrecting his/her soul-spiritual natures; it celebrates the realization of one’s Higher Self. The Michael Impulse is “inspired” during the Fall season infusing us all with the characteristics of courage of the Soul, strength of the will, and the wisdom of the Light received within us. Michaelmas is the polar opposite of the Easter celebration in the Spring just like where the Spring is opposite to the Fall. In Easter, Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross (Death) and His soul was then resurrected into Heaven. In Michaelmas, the Soul is resurrected from within and what is dead is let go of without. This reflects the rhythms of the planets and the seasons where during the Spring, the Earth is in a state of expiration (exhalation) and during the Autumn it is in a state of inspiration (inhalation). In Autumn, the Earth on a superficial level is experiencing death with the shedding of the leaves and the dying of its plants while within its greatest depths it is taking in (inspiring) the newly, Heavenly forces from the Cosmos in which new growth can be manifested and “exhaled” during the Spring and Summer seasons. This is why the spiritual characteristic of Autumn is Clarity. One can not take in (and be clear with) what is new if one does not let go of what is old.

Interestingly enough, one does not have to be a Christian to celebrate Michaelmas. In fact other religions have similar celebrations around the Fall season. In Judaism, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish “New Year” is typically around the Fall Equinox and is followed ten days later by the “Day of Atonement” of Yom Kippur. Michaelmas is about a week after the Fall Equinox and a day after Yom Kippur. In Yom Kippur, one makes amends for the past year’s sins and one can look at a sin as anything that brings one further away from their soul-spiritual natures. In Islamic religion the ninth month of the Muslim calendar is called Ramadan and it is believed that this was when the Holy Quran “was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation”. This is a month where Muslims intensify their worship and contemplation through acts such as fasting. Fasting is another way of clearing away the “death” within you so as to step fully into your faith. Hmmm, sounds like Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Michaelmas, and the Fall season are very much in line with each other. Ramadan changes every year due to the movements of the Moon and for 2009 it started on August 22 and ends on September 19 (the first day of Rosh Hashanah). With the coming years, Ramadan appears to be occurring earlier in the year. In the North East of the United States, we experienced some early Fall weather during the last couple of weeks of August demonstrated with a drop in the temperature and some early leaves falling in certain parts of New York. Coincidence? Probably not. The rhythms of the macrocosm and microcosm are rapidly changing and if you take an open-minded understanding of the Mayan calendar and all this 2012 talk, what you’ll find is that the times are definitely changing; and fast.

What does this all mean for you? Take advantage of the cosmic rhythms by doing some fasting and cleansing and detoxification during this Fall season. Know that the season’s characteristics of courage, strength of will, and wisdom with clarity are all there for you to use. Many of you may have already experienced some kind of upheaval in your lives within the past few weeks. Whether it be you lost your job, got sick, or someone close to you has died, or any other tragic experience, just know that you have so much more going for you at this very moment if ever in the history of time, where the rhythms are flowing and the planets are aligning and all you have to do is to get off your sorry-ass, woe-is-me little self and step fully into your True Authentic Self and “slay the Dragon” within you.

Have an Enlightening Michaelmas Everyone!