What is Oil Pulling? Where did it Come From? Why is it so Important? and How does it Work?
Because we cannot scrub our inner body we need to learn a few skills to help cleanse our tissues, organs, and mind. This is the art of Ayurveda.
― Sebastian Pole
What is Oil Pulling?
Would you believe there is another use for coconut oil? The ancient Ayurvedic technique involves swishing oil in the mouth for 5-20 minutes each day to absorb and expel bacteria, toxins and fungi reaping huge benefits not only for your mouth but for your entire body as well.
Oil Pulling is a natural way to gently detox your mouth and body.
What is all the Fuss About?
Leaping onto the teeth whitening scene, oil pulling is also known to cure a number of socially embarrassing issues such as foul breath, rosacea (reddening of the face), PMS, and allergies.
It helps reduce tooth sensitivity, drain sinuses, keep colds at bay, prevent and remedy migraines and boosts the immune system.
Anecdotally, it is also said to cure up to 30 different systemic and localised diseases.
Where did it Start?
To talk about oil pulling and its origins we have to talk about Ayurveda. Ayurveda, meaning “life-knowledge” or Ayurvedic medicine, is a medical system from ancient times dating as far back as 5,000 B.C.E.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of very few old forms of medicine that is still widely practiced today, being introduced to western civilization in the 1970s.
Legend tells us that the methods and practices of Ayurveda were taught to sages by the Gods, who then shared this medical knowledge with human physicians.
Ayurveda is about being mindful of what you put in and on your body and teaches practices that keep your body in a natural state so that you may live a fuller longer life.
Why is Oil Pulling so Important Today?
The importance of using natural ingredients to detox our mouths and bodies is twofold.
First, the modern lifestyle and diet places an increased load on our immune systems and the rising number of people who are afflicted with diabetes, arthritis etc. is highly representative of the bodies inability to cope with these new processed, convenience foods and chemical based cosmetics that it is exposed to every day.
The need for natural detoxing is more relevant today than when it was introduced thousands of years ago.
There is an endless supply of products and cosmetics at our fingertips, thankfully there are a growing number of people who are becoming more mindful of what they put in and on their bodies and the long-term effects these substances have on us.
Oil pulling plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mouth through removing bacteria, toxins and fungi etc. that result from the increase in refined carbohydrates that the bacteria get to feast on thanks to the modern diet. Using the correct oils, this extends to detoxing the digestive tract which has a positive impact on the entire body.
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that a complete diagnosis of a person’s health can be determined by simply examining their tongue.
The ancient health assessment of tongue analysis is still used widely today in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine but you may have noticed that even in Western medicine one of the first diagnostic steps of a patient is examining the tongue. This is because our tongue is a detailed cheat sheet of what is going on in the body. It is believed that different parts of the tongue show what is happening to different organs.
The science of yoga and ayurveda is subtler than the science of medicine, because science of medicine is often victim of statistical manipulation.
― Amit Ray
How does Oil Pulling Work?
When high quality oils are swished in the mouth, bacteria, toxins and fungi are attracted like iron filings to a magnet. These are then carried away when the oil and saliva is discarded.
Oil, being a lipophilic, attracts other oils, toxins and fat soluble bacteria. The bio-film of this build up are ‘pulled’ or cleansed from the surface area the oil comes in contact with. The oral cavity, one of the nine openings of the body susceptible to collecting impurities, is the only gateway with direct access to the digestive tract and the bloodstream (sores, ulcers, cavities, and inflamed gums). With the tongue then connected to all the organs of the body it makes sense to use this surface area to cleanse the system of toxins, bringing it more in balance.
By swishing or holding oil still in your mouth for 5 to 20 minutes, until it has turned a slightly thicker, milky white, you have completed a detoxification. More than just the minimal wash that comes with regular brushing; the exposed teeth, tongue, gums and other soft oral tissues are thoroughly cleansed through this method.
Oil Pulling is not a replacement for your existing routine of flossing, brushing your teeth, or visits to the dentist but rather a welcome complement to benefit your overall oral hygiene
― Christian P. Marriott
There are long term benefits to consider. A study showed Oil Pulling to be an effective form of decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. While water and alcohol based solutions can be effective remedies with immediate anti-bacterial properties, the consistent practice of Oil Pulling provides a protective layer within the mouth. This shield of oil adheres bacteria to it, like the bacterial plaque that causes gingivitis (inflammation of gums), rather than the bacteria adhering to the delicate surfaces of the gums. The plaque cannot thrive in such a defensive environment, inhibiting re-population. Water and alcohol based solutions offer no such defenses against bacterial plaque.
While there may not be much for studies of holistic forms of alternate medicine such as Ayurveda, the fact that it is one of the oldest medical systems speaks for itself.
We can only hope that with its growing popularity in the west, oil pulling benefits will be studied further in systematic research and unbiased clinical trials, giving it a chance to prove itself to skeptics who are firm on seeing the seal of approval by Western medical research.
It is agreed on all fronts that oil pulling is safe; therefore trying it out for yourself will prove that there is benefits to the practice.
How Do I get Started With Oil Pulling?
Click here to go to our introduction video for people who are looking to start Oil Pulling.
Alternatively, see the article getting started with Oil Pulling.
Have you tried oil pulling? Share your experience here.