What in the Hades is oil pulling? I asked this very question a few months back. I stumbled across a post online (don’t ask me where, I have no recollection) and it sparked my curiosity. Now I can’t imagine NOT pulling every day. I won’t call it life changing but it has had a very positive impact on my daily life.
Ok, so back to the original question: What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient holistic practice, part of the Ayurveda system of medicine, according to Livescience.com and The Chopra Center. (Although, I did use Wiki too). In traditional uses, oil pulling was a way of ridding the mouth and body of bacteria and toxins. It is the technique of gently swishing or gargling cold pressed oils such as sunflower, sesame or coconut in your mouth.
Practitioners of oil pulling have said that it helps with migraines, obesity, acne, liver function, cancer pain, oral health and a great number of other ailments. Now, here is where I remind you that I am NOT a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
I am just a believer in the benefits of oil pulling.
That’s great, but HOW do you OIL PULL??
As you can see, I prefer organic, unrefined coconut oil. According to traditional practice, you should oil pull on an empty stomach. I find the best time is in the morning before breakfast. Oh and reminder – Don’t swallow. Seriously, that’d be gross. You would be putting all of those toxins right back into your body.
So, to oil pull, use about a tablespoon of oil. Don’t warm it up. If it’s room temperature, that’s fine, but heating the oil first rids it of all those good nutrients. I microwave my coconut oil just to melt it down a bit before drinking. (About 12 seconds). You could put the whole chunk in your mouth, but it makes it harder to swish.
The next step is to swish in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. It took me a few tries to get to 20 minutes. (I may have drooled on myself once or twice in the beginning). The oil will expand in your mouth as it pulls out all the nasty bacteria and toxins. Once you hit the 20 minutes, spit the oil out into the trash. Don’t spit into the sink because as the oil hardens it could clog the drain. Ew.
So, what are the benefits to oil pulling?
The benefits may vary from person to person. I have some pretty serious TMJ but since I started oil pulling, that has all but gone away. (I also stopped chewing gum). My jaw is a lot stronger now than it was when I started. I don’t have dental insurance, so the oil pulling has also helped to keep my mouth clean and free of bacteria and cavities and pain. My teeth are also much whiter and (knock on wood) my migraines haven’t been quite as frequent. Disclaimer: the first two days, I did get a mild headache but that’s totally normal as your body adjusts to the pulling. It doesn’t happen anymore.
I don’t know about the whole metabolism/obesity benefit, but with healthy diet and exercise, who knows, right? I’ve been oil pulling every morning for about 2 months now and I feel better overall, so I think I’ll stick with it.
Do your own research before you try, but I highly recommend at least trying for a week. See if you notice a difference. If you do try, I’d love to hear about your experience!
Oh and happy swishing!