This is the first in a three part series about healthy habits in the bathroom – today, I will be looking at the best way to have a bowel movement, part two will look at abdominal massage for constipation and in part 3 we will look at some of the most beneficial foods for digestive health …..So, let’s talk about your toileting technique! What’s the best way to have a great bowel movement?

First things first, let’s look at how you sit on the loo. Ideally, your knees should be higher than your hips. You can be creative in how you achieve this! You can buy a step (like the ones small children use to reach the bathroom sink) or yoga blocks or as I suggested to one patient, those extra large tins of tomatoes (although she did have some difficulty explaining to guests why she stored tomatoes in her bathroom….) The main thing is to rest your feet on a stable surface – if they are wobbling around, your pelvic floor won’t be able to relax, which is key for having a strain free bowel movement

The next step is to lean forwards and rest your elbows on your thighs; this helps get your tailbone (the coccyx) out of the way and opens up the exit route

When you are ready to move things ‘down and out’ it is really important not to hold your breath! Instead, think of blowing a balloon or birthday candles or a dandelion – a long slow steady gentle exhale as your GENTLY bear down


Keep the breath moving and when you are finished, you may find your pelvic floor muscles around the anus do a contraction to signify the end of another (hopefully successful!) bowel movement!

In the next post, we will be looking at constipation, what causes it, why it matters and most importantly, what we can do about it.