The Key to Digestive Health? Touch Your Toes!
I read an interesting article about digestive health the other day and wanted to pass it along, but it made me realize that I haven’t blogged about digestive health or the digestive system in all the years I’ve been blogging.
I’m sure you’re wondering what, exactly, a posture/pain blog could possibly have to say about digestive health. My guess is that you’re thinking your digestive issues have ZERO to do with your knee pain. However, there’s more of a connection than you might think. Remember, we at Egoscue believe that the entire body is a unit.
As many of you know, while you may have pain in your knee, we can’t afford to only focus on the knee. Because the body is a unit, we have to look at your ankle, hip, and shoulder positions as well. We have to remember that the foot bone is connected to the leg bone.
What’s also true is that not only are the foot bone and leg bone connected, but the systems of the body are interconnected as well. The digestive, lymphatic, circulatory, and reproductive systems–just to name a few–are all interrelated, and if your body position (your posture) is compromised, they will be too!
Pete Egoscue has said for years that the key to proper digestion lies in the ability to touch your toes.
While that statement might not make much sense when you initially hear it, if we dig a bit deeper, it makes perfect sense. Let’s think about what happens when you touch your toes. As you reach your upper body toward the ground, the front of your pelvis tilts down toward the ground. When the pelvis reaches its end range of motion, your lumbar spine starts to flex (bend forward), followed by your thoracic spine, and finally your cervical spine. Your arms reach down toward the floor and you place your palms flat on the ground. You can do that…right?
No? You can’t?
Many of you will say that the reason you can’t touch your toes is because your hamstrings are tight. However, touching your toes doesn’t have nearly as much to do with hamstring flexibility as it does proper pelvic function. I have found that the vast majority of our clients who can’t touch their toes don’t have tight hamstrings, but instead have a “stuck” pelvis that can’t move properly on top of the femur (the big leg bone).
Just like touching your toes requires proper pelvic function, your digestive system requires the same. If your pelvis isn’t positioned correctly, your digestive system (along with your reproductive, adrenal, lymphatic, etc.) will be out of whack. With your descending colon running down the left side of your lower abdomen, if your pelvis is out of position, your descending colon will be out of position and unable to function properly. It’s just that simple.
Are you someone who doesn’t have frequent, consistent bowel movements? You don’t need more fiber. You need to change your pelvic position! I once had a client who really struggled to go to the bathroom. So bad, in fact, that he needed to take laxatives every-other weekend so that he could have a bowel movement after not going during the two weeks in between!
After several weeks with Egoscue he called to inform me that he couldn’t get off the toilet! To which I responded, “Great! Which problem would you rather have?!”
As my client’s pelvis returned to its proper position, his digestive system returned to its proper position as well. Not only did he regain proper digestive function but he could get closer to touching his toes than he previously could!
If you’re ready to get to work, watch the following video and you’ll not only improve your digestive health but also your hamstring flexibility. Do these three simple e-cises daily and in order.
QUESTION: What have you been told is the cause of your bowel irregularity and/or hamstring tightness?