In a healthy person constipation does not occur, except perhaps occasionally. Most of us go though life unaware of how proper elimination works: we ingest food, our body utilizes what it can, then rejects the rest. Any waste matter ideally should be expelled after each meal, but at the very least once a day. So there are degrees of constipation, and at the severe end of the scale are the people who can only have a bowel movement every 2-3 days. However, all of this is remedied by making some simple changes to diet and lifestyle.
Once you understand the necessary process of digestion and elimination, it becomes easier to work in tune with your body. Any waste matter in your body is potentially toxic. The longer it sits there rotting away unable to leave by the natural route, the worst it causes you to feel. Headaches, grumpiness, abdominal pain and more, these are all easy to understand when you learn the mechanics of how your digestive system works.
Britannica.com defines the digestive system as the alimentary canal,, also called digestive tract, pathway by which food enters the body and solid wastes are expelled. The alimentary canal includes mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus”.
Do you remember drawing out those diagrams at school and labelling each part? Who cared? Not me, not then! Strangely, I now find it of more interest than I ever imagined. I’m still not particularly keen on all the squiggly and squidgy bits inside us, preferring the skin wrapped outer casing, but as the famous saying declares, “it’s what’s inside that counts.”
Common Causes of Constipation
• Not drinking enough water
• Not chewing food properly
• Not getting enough exercise
• Being overly stressed
• Not breathing deeply enough
• Not eating a diet rich in nutrients
• Not sitting correctly on the toilet
Enough of the negatives! Here are some natural cures for constipation.
Easy Positive Changes
A simple addition to your toilet area can make a huge difference. Avail yourself of a foot stool (the step type made for children to reach the sink is ideal). If your feet are placed on a raised surface, it allows for an easier transition of waste matter. For more effect you can raise your arms above your head.
Drink more water.
Bounce! Get a rebounder, and let gravity get to work. Pump up your lymph and tone muscles. Just 4 minutes 2 or 3 times a day, ideally just before meals.
Take time to breathe deeply throughout the day. Breathe in for a count of 8, hold for 2, expel slowly over 8 counts, and then hold for 4. Do this 3 times, and several times a day.
Eat more greens, and eat a lot of them raw. Anyone eating a raw diet will not have constipation. I belong to the 3 evacuations a day camp, and I feel lousy if my routine is messed up when travelling, and my ‘healthy–ish’ waste is in my body longer than the norm. A green juice or smoothie for breakfast will start the day’s digestive process off beautifully.
Natural Aids for Effective Elimination
Linseeds. Linseeds (whole) soaked in water and then consumed just before bed. Add 1 tablespoon to a glass of water, and allow to stand for 4 hours .The result is a gel-like mixture. Depending on the thickness, add more water if it makes it easier to glug down. (Note: if you take linseeds this way, you do not get their EFA’s, as they need to be ground for this).
DE (Diatomaceous Earth). Start taking this to clean up your digestive tract, 1 teaspoon in water or juice 2 times a day, building up to 4 teaspoons twice a day. Make sure it is food grade. You need to drink extra water to your usual intake.
Magnesium. This can be taken internally or used in the bath as Epsom salts. There are lotions you can apply to your skin as well as the usual capsule preparations. Magnesium Oxide is usually the choice for constipation, 300mg twice a day. Magnesium works as a muscle relaxant, and bathing in Epsom salts is calming as well as detoxifying.
A couple of the people with chronic constipation that I have advised found only temporary relief from any of the above. Each (used separately) worked for one or two weeks, but then the effectiveness seemed to wear off.
This is likely because the stress issues were not dealt with and neither resolved nor reduced. It is important to work with these in tandem to using other methods.
Clean Your Colon
For longstanding and extremely stubborn cases of constipation, the ultimate course of action is to cleanse your colon. There are various ways of doing this.
Dr. Edward Group, naturopath and holistic healer extraordinaire, lists why a clean colon is vital to health:
The colon is exposed to the total combined waste from your body’s other systems.
Toxins absorbed by the colon may lead to diseases and disorders.
70% of your immune system is in your gut.
Every foot of colon can store five to ten pounds of waste.
Herbal laxatives and colon cleansers can be harmful to your colon.
Your bloodstream is only as clean as your colon.
Every neurotransmitter found in the brain is also found in the digestive system.
You can carry out a full 7 day cleanse using Oxy-Power or OxCgen, OR you can use these as a supplement to relieve constipation. Do what you feel comfortable with.
I have twice carried out a week long herbal fasting colon cleanse in the past, and had I known of this method it would have been my preferred choice.
Another option is to have some colonic irrigation treatments. It all depends upon your personal circumstance and finances. A remedy is only as effective as the person taking it. Consistency is important, so honestly appraise your personality and find the remedy that fits YOU.