In the old days of TCM, stool analysis was a major diagnostic tool. The emperor’s stool physician would examine the stool and then give recommendations to the herbalist and the cook. We don’t examine stool any more but we still always ask clients about their stool because shape, consistency and frequency are indicators of the state of many of your internal processes. The perfect stool is neither runny nor dry, it is the balance of both and is well formed. If stool is hard difficult to pass it is a sign of yin deficiency.

Evacuating your bowels every morning right after waking (which correlates with the time your chi is in your large intestine 5am – 7am) and around 9pm when chi is in the san jiao (which regulates movement of fluids and substances) is the goal to aspire to, it is the picture of internal health and a sign that your life is flowing smoothly.

If that doesn’t happen it holds up all the organ processes that should naturally follow elimination, and it sets the scene for lifestyle diseases to develop. Constipation is a sign that your lifestyle is interfering with the elimination process. The fast pace of our lives, lack of rhythm, overwork, stress and behaviours such as drug addiction or excessive sexual activity deplete kidney yin, the prime organ for the nourishment of fluids, so stools become hard, and difficult to pass and eventually can’t move at all creating constipation.

So, as well as looking at fluids and fibre intake, look at establishing a daily rhythm of yin and yang. Always start the day with drinking water and exercise, and always follow this with a calm breakfast. Almost everyone I have treated who had constipation would wake up, get straight into work and skip breakfast. They would then race through the day trying to get more than humanly possible done. We can’t function like this. Balancing yin and yang is the lifestyle medicine that will treat constipation.  If you don’t have a bowel movement in the morning adjust your lifestyle ASAP to correct this because a regular morning bowel movement is absolutely essential for health. Book in for my holistic lifestyle consultation to discover how many simple things you can do in your daily life to improve overall health and happiness and catch the rhythm of success. Look into Chinese herbal formulas. For more info on the daily health rhythm lifestyle get my book Clock On To Health.

If constipation is related to drug use get my book The Rebel’s Guide to Recovery. You could also see a health professional in case magnesium supplements can help.

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