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Toilets of the future, and the art of squatting

Toilets of the future, and the art of squatting

squat3In a campaign to alleviate back pain and other musculoskeletal problems derived from sitting at the computer or in a car, a Los Angeles-based yin yoga teacher who extols the physiological benefits of squatting built a website with information on the posture and produced a chair-bashing music video. With the “Squat Song” now stuck in my head, I want to flag a post I came across today on Smithsonian Magazine‘s blog noting that three students from the University of the Arts London have created a squat-friendly “wellbeing toilet,” which earned them first prize at the Toilet of the Future Competition.

Smithsonian.com explains the prize-winning pot’s potential health benefits:

The wellbeing toilet features built-in screening systems that could be used to analyze urine and other waste matter to check for biomarkers, indicators of diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease and even nutritional deficiencies. It could also test for pregnancy. But perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of this re-imagined fixture in our lives is its ergonomically-friendly shape, which encourages users to fold their legs up and squat, rather than sit.

The commode is carefully molded to gently encourage people to scoot up their legs, so that their posture rests in more of a 45-degree angle, rather than the conventional 90-degree sitting position. 

A couple of studies have suggested that the squatting method is superior at least in one respect, reducing the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids.

Previously: Museum sheds some light on early electric medical devices
Photo by Phillippe Put

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