Float the Boat, Fill the Sail

Updated: Mar 2, 2018

An occasional constipation can be a real pain, both literally and figuratively. Even though not chronic or severe, it can still be experienced by many here and there, following an unusual stress to the body - a very busy day, an unexpected emotional situation, certain foods, not enough sleep, and more - and accompanied by symptoms like bloating, cramps and belches.


According to Chinese medicine, the emotional state of the large intestine is "letting go". Two main reasons for constipation are mentioned:

  1. Not enough water to float the boat = dryness,

  2. Not enough wind to fill the sails = weakness.

Here are some things you can try for both situations, on the toilet or just before you go:

  • Hydrate your bowels: make sure you drink enough room temperature or warmer water. Other beverages that may help are caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks.

  • Let go of emotional stress: Breath deeply and slowly. Relax your shoulders, jaw and hips.

  • External abdomen massage: go clockwise around your umbilicus. you can use the base of the palm of your right hand for the right ascending colon, the side of your thumb for the transverse part above the umbilicus and then press with the right finger tips into the left descending part. If you use oil, make sure you still press a little bit into your belly.

  • Internal abdomen massage: well, it's going to sound weird. But I assume no one can see you there, right? so here we go. The idea is to use both your diaphragm and the abdomen wall to more effectively move the inner organs:

  1. Lift both arms over your head, to create maximum space for your lungs and abdomen. You can rest your hands on your head.

  2. Take a slow deep breath into your belly. Let it really expand.

  3. Pause for 2 seconds.

  4. Let the air out totally and suck the belly in as much as you can.

  5. hold for 2-3 second.

  6. repeat the process 2 more times, then let go and relax.

  • Breath of fire:

  1. Sit comfortably, relax your hips.

  2. Turn your feet inwards, so your big toes are facing each other - it will help to space the pelvis bones.

  3. Take a deep breath into your belly, and exhale 3 times quickly and strongly through your nose, so the belly is sucked in.

  4. Repeat the entire process 2 more times, then let go and relax.

  • Twist it: seated, twist your head, neck, arms and torso all the way towards one side, then to the other.

  • Squat: all the way down. Stay and slightly move your body, until you feel it's time.

  • Let go no. 2: If nothing works, don't push it. Let go, have some water, take a nice breath and come back later.


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