by Clark Zimmerman, LAc.
One of our teachers used to explain bowel function by comparing it to a sailboat traveling down a river. The boat is the stool, the colon is the riverbed, the water is the moisture in the colon, and the wind is the smooth muscle movement, or qi that propels the boat. In order to have healthy bowel movements, you need each of these factors to be functioning properly. If one or more factors is unhealthy, it can result in constipation.
The “boat” or the stool is mostly made from the food that we eat. Depending on our diet, our boats can resemble a sleek speedboat or a crude log raft. If we mostly consume a diet that is low in fiber and high in foods that are cloying and mucous producing, such as dairy products, sugars and gluten foods, we produce sticky stools that are difficult to move through the colon. (Did you ever notice the word gluten contains the word “glu”?) If we eat a diet that is high in fiber and low in foods that cause sticky stools, we are more likely to create well formed stools that move through the colon with ease.