Did You Know…
… the latest popular “detox” remedy is actually a centuries-old medical treatment?
According to popular diet and lifestyle blog, Well+Good, New York City trendsetters are going crazy for an ancient Ayurvedic practice called oil pulling. Devotees claim it can effectively cleanse the body from your teeth to your toes. And unlike other detoxification methods, oil pulling is entirely safe and requires no restrictive diet modifications or expensive supplies.
Best of all, this simple do-it-yourself method offers potent overall health benefits.
Experts Agree, Oil Pulling is “Remarkable”
Dr. Bruce Fife, editor of Healthy Ways and author of 18 books including Eat Fat, Look Thin and The Detox Book, claims that oil pulling is “one of the most remarkable methods of detoxification and healing” he’s encountered over the course of his career as a naturopathic physician.
Predictably enough, the benefits of oil pulling begin in the mouth, says Dr. Fife. “Teeth become whiter, breath becomes fresher, and the tongue and gums take on a healthy pink color.”
Dr. Scott Gerson, M.D., P.H.D, medical director of the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, is another high-profile fan of oil pulling. Over the 30 years he’s been practicing, Dr. Gerson has seen oil pulling improve conditions such as:
| Tooth decay
| Weak teeth
TMJ joint disease
Like Cleaning Your Car’s Engine
Not only does oil pulling have impressive backing from medical practitioners and centuries of case studies to support its effectiveness, but the theory behind why it works is pretty easy to understand too.
The oil cleanses your mouth in much the same way as the oil you put in your car engine. Engine oil picks up dirt and grime and pulls the debris out with it when it’s drained. Subsequently, your engine is cleaner, runs smoother, and works longer. Oil pulling has the same effect on the body. It “pulls” toxins and bacteria from your body; by expelling these harmful substances, you will improve your health so you too can “run” smoother for longer.
Dr. Gerson compares it to another practice—colonics. Swishing a mouthful of oil removes undigested food particles from the oral cavity, and washes the bacteria they carry out along with them.
Oil pulling as we now know it comes from a traditional Ayurvedic medical treatment called oil gargling. A Ukrainian physician, Dr. F. Karach, developed the modern version of oil pulling in the early 1990s. Dr. Karach claimed the practice could cure a variety of illnesses… heart disease… digestive troubles… hormonal disorders… he even attributed the relief of his own chronic blood disorder and arthritis to oil pulling.
Oil Pulling 101
The basics of oil pulling are essentially identical to the directions on the average bottle of mouthwash—swish slowly and try to reach every region of your mouth. Beyond that, health and nutrition writer Elizabeth Walling has some helpful tips:
- Oil pulling should be done on an empty stomach immediately after waking up
- Use about 1 tablespoon of oil
- If desired, a drop or two of an essential or healing oil like oregano can be added
- Be careful not to swallow the oil, which will become very thin and foamy as you swish
- After 20 minutes has elapsed, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with water
If you want to brush your teeth, that’s fine too, just be sure to do it after you oil pull.
A word to the wise: while the traditional Ayurvedic method calls for unrefined, cold-pressed sunflower or sesame seed oil, other oils like unrefined olive or coconut oil can be equally effective and may have a better taste.
All of these oils can be found in most natural health stores as well as from many reputable online sources, so pick the kind that sounds best to you and give it a swish.
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