If you're interested in reading more on ideas presented in the article below, I suggest reading Alignment Matters. If you'd like movement instruction via video, start with Smart Digestion.
Can I write a blog on farts?
I think I can.
Are you feeling a bit uncomfortable right now?
Good. That's kind of my point.
Gas is a natural phenomenon experienced by every person on the planet although the quantities can vary between a little bit and My Dad. A little known fact about your digestive system: Your digestive tract, from beginning to "end" is considered to be outside your body. Essentially a long tube, anything you put into your mouth needs to be broken down into tiny particles (first with your teeth, then with chemical enzymes, then with the washing machine-like agitation of the stomach) so the energy units, minerals, and vitamins can move across the tubing walls and into the body. Food with very low nutritional quality basically stays outside your body. Even though you eat it, very little energy can be extracted. The result of regular, low-quality food consumption is an increased need to consume more. Calories don't really make a difference when it comes to satiety (feeling biologically satisfied) as artificial fillers don't even make it inside your body. They just shoot out the other side. (*Diet tip: Try eating only whole foods for a week and notice the decrease in appetite and the surge of energy!)
Gas is created in a few ways. It is the sum total of the air you accidentally pull into your stomach by mouth or nose, the by-product of digesting certain foods, and what is created as a result of incomplete digestion. Normally, oxygen you inhale should be funneled into your lungs. Gulping air while eating however, can cause air to move into your stomach instead. Any air you take into your mouth will have to get out somehow, and a fart is a natural equalizing process. If the air doesn't leave your intestines, this trapped air does what air tends to do to baked goods and wet towels. It dries them out! Healthy intestinal walls are moist. Diffusion of nutrients and energy need the water to move across the membrane. Dry intestines mean poor nutrition, even if you are eating the perfect diet.
Certain foods can make gas, as can food that takes too long to digest. Because food is trying to move down, slouching or reclining while you eat decreases the ease of downward movement. The longer food takes to digest, the more it festers in your tract. The more it festers, the greater the gas. Keep your spine up tall when eating and take an easy walk around the block just after to help food move down quickly.
Here's an algebra problem you've never seen before: GAS + TIGHT MUSCLES = A FART (See, math is fun!)
If you have audible farts (which means you can hear them), you can bet that your pelvic floor muscles are too tight. Passing gas is A GOOD THING. For the health of your intestines and to optimize energy pathways, you need to get gas out ASAP. Because gas is perceived as rude or embarrassing, we tend to tighten our anal sphincter or butt muscles (glutes) to keep it in. This is not only a bad idea from a nutritional perspective, but also from a musculoskeletal one. The gas-holding-in muscles are also the pelvic floor muscles. If you have been holding gas is, you may have noticed gas worsening as you get older, which means you have probably been tightening the muscles even more. Although we tend to think tight muscles are strong muscles, this is incorrect. Tight muscle fibers are just as weak as over-long muscle fibers. I can can also tell you that the more you can hear your gas escaping, the tighter (and weaker) your pelvic floor muscles are.
1. Don't talk while your mouth full. This increases the intake of gas into your stomach.
2. Eat dinner with your torso upright and avoid tucking your tail under or rounding the back forward.
3. Farts are a natural biofeedback exercise. Work on developing control over your PF muscles. Can you relax the gas-stopping muscles and decrease the sound of air passing?
4. Do not hold gas in! Get up and excuse yourself until your PF muscles are relaxed enough to allow gas to leave silently.
5. Share this blog with your family, friends, and co-workers. That way you can all fart away and feel good about it!
WARNING: Silent gas can be a potential weapon when you use a little technique called "crop-dusting". Best used while walking down the aisle of a boarding airplane.