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What Do Flatulence, Tickling, and Whiplash Have In Common?

I can’t believe I am about to be discussing bodily gas. Seemingly common sense, but not discussed enough, this study identified that the level of disgust people feel upon smelling flatulence is based on whether the ’emissions’ are from them or others.

The moment our nostrils sense the disgusting odour produced by someone else, we flip out, become angry, and may even resort to name calling and physical violence.

I apologize in advance for being crude, but why is it that when we are sitting on the toilet and having a bowel movement (which inevitably results in unpleasant odours) we don’t react in the same manner? Why do we not find our own odours as offensive? Why? 

Theoretical answer: All our sensory organs have evolved to protect us from danger in order to maximize our chance of survival. A foul odour signals the brain of the presence of potential danger as it poses more of a disease risk.

One can appreciate that evolutionary, there is no point in getting angry and defensive about your own flatulence, it would be illogical for the brain to do that. It would make every bowel movement a very unpleasant event- who would we shout at?!

The brain is constantly evaluating the “perceived threat” of input from the outside world. If there is a logical explanation for the odour, the brain ignores the threat. If there is a perceived threat, the brain magnifies it!

Over millions of years, humans who steered clear of foul odours were more likely to stay healthy, survive and of course reproduce. We can therefore conclude that your ancestors are to blame for your innate disgusted reaction by others flatulence.

Now how does flatulence odour relate to WADs?


Watch This 20 minute Complimentary Course to Find Out

Dr Bahram Jam, MPhty, BScPT, Cred. MDT, FCAM

Bahram is a physiotherapist and founder of the Advanced Physical Therapy Education Institute (APTEI). He's taught 1000+ continuing education courses to healthcare professionals across Canada & internationally.

He has instructed over one thousand post-graduate orthopaedic and pain science courses and has been a guest presenter at several physiotherapy and medical conferences across Canada and internationally.

Bahram's primary clinical approach is to identify relevant functional impairments and determine the best self-management strategy to maximize patient independence. 

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