We Tried TikTok's Viral Hack To Poop In Just Minutes. Here's What Happened

TikTok is a strange and quirky place. So quirky that you can stumble on interestingly presented ancient principles for genius ways to get yourself to poop instantly. We don't think we've ever thought about constipation or poop health as much as when we get on this social media platform. 

Jokes aside, we were intrigued by a viral post shared by acupuncturist, Anita Tadavarthy (who goes by the name empiricalgraceacu on TikTok), which claimed that constipation can be cured by harnessing the power of acupressure from traditional Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM), more specifically by rubbing the soft skin between your forefinger and thumb together for a few minutes (either while you're on the toilet or a few times during the day). 

Is it really that simple? We had to try it, especially since the video seemed to have gotten mixed reviews, with some users swearing by the hack's success and experts writing it off as unscientific. We're not sure if it was just the anticipation for it to work or the fact that the task of rubbing your hands together made you sit up slightly straighter on the toilet, but the method seemed to work. To be fair, we weren't constipated when we tried, but it looked like it got the bowels moving, even when we tried later in the day when we usually don't visit the bathroom. Known as Large Intestine 4 or the Joining Valley, this particular pressure point is a popular recommendation by acupuncturists. How does it work? 

How the poop hack works

Anita Tadavarthy starts off her video by asking her viewers, "Did you poop today?" She then goes on to share that nearly 20% of people are constipated (the National Institutes of Health puts that number at 12%). 

"It (the prevalence) blows my mind," the acupuncturist continues. "All you've got to do is just do this," she adds demonstrating the hand rubbing motion which has its roots in traditional acupressure (the Chinese practice of using pressure points in different parts of your body to relieve pain, digestive issues, and other health concerns). Acupressure is acupuncture minus the needles. Large Intestine 4 is one of many other pressure points associated with constipation relief. Stretch out your hand with your thumb pointing outward and your other four fingers close together and touch the soft skin between your thumb and forefinger. This is Large Intestine 4. According to Healthline, you can simply apply pressure to this point in circular motions (first on one hand and then the other), without rubbing both points together with your thumbs pointing outward and the rest of your fingers in a ball as illustrated in the TikTok video. 

"Couple [of] minutes, couple [of] times a day, or while sitting on the toilet and you'll have a bowel movement. So easy," Tadavarthy shared. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, she revealed that she learned this hack while in graduate school and has seen it work on patients who visited her free clinic near Hyderabad, India. 

What is the theory behind stimulating Large Intestine 4 and constipation relief?

It is important to note that Tadavarthy doesn't recommend this TikTok hack to pregnant women, because stimulating Large Intestine 4 could also apparently induce labor.

"Constipation is when stool gets stuck and cannot pass through the colon, " she told BuzzFeed. "Acupressure/acupuncture accesses various images through our body, like reflexology. There are connecting points on the hand that connect to the colon. It is key in bringing blood flow and stimulation to the affected areas." By rubbing the pressure point Large Intestine 4 back and forth, you're creating a similar motion of contraction in your colon to help move things along, according to this acupuncturist. Her TikTok advice for when you're constipated doesn't stop here. She has more videos talking about different acupressure points — like Stomach 36 located below your knees and even one where she puts pressure on a spot below her mouth. We didn't try the mouth one but did try Stomach 36 and quite honestly, that didn't work as effectively as Large Intestine 4. It could have been because we'd exhausted our "quota" for the day. 

Understandably, medical experts are divided on TikTok's viral video with gastroenterologist at NYU Langone, Dr. Rabia De Latour telling Health, "No, this is not recommended regularly. I have actually never heard of it before." We'll let you decide. We're quite perplexed by the notion of a poop button to help keep things moving. Did it work or was it all in our head?