An expert weighs in on how to do it:
I have a habit of asking healthy, thriving seniors what their secret to longevity is.
I get a mixture of old wives’ tales as well as tried and true practices (drink lots of water daily, don’t drink alcohol, eat five veggies a day, don’t smoke). Occasionally I get an answer that piques my interest and leads me to do research and experimentation.
Oil Pulling was one of those interesting suggestions. I can say, after having done it for quite a while now…it really works. This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice used to detox the body with results like:
- Whiter teeth
- Healthy gums
- Clear sinuses
- Decrease in allergy symptoms, asthma & PMS symptoms
- Increase in energy
- Better sleep
- Clearer skin
- Regulated menstrual cycles
There are reports of other benefits due to the cleansing effect it has on the immune system.
The idea behind the practice is that, through the process of swishing, pulling the oil through the teeth and around the mouth, the toxins, bacteria and latent infections are pulled out and into the oil. We harbor an unbelievable amount of toxins in our mouth and because of that, our immune systems are kept quite busy in that region. When we eliminate that energy drain by oil pulling, our immune system can then focus on other things. Makes sense.
My husband and I began oil pulling using the traditional sesame oil. Heed my warning…if you use sesame oil, you probably won’t make this a regular practice. We both gagged our way through five minutes and decided the benefits couldn’t possibly outweigh the nastiness.
We then switched to coconut oil, and the experience is much more pleasant.
As a side note, coconut oil is just a wonderful oil to have on hand for a number of different uses: cooking, body moisturizer, hair conditioner. So, if oil pulling ends up not being your thing after investing in a tub of coconut oil, it will not go to waste. Also, coconut oil is solid at room temperature but will quickly liquify when it reaches body temperature.
Put approximately one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish around your entire mouth, pulling through your teeth and around your tongue for 15-20 minutes. The frequency is up to you, although people report experiencing the most notable benefits when performed daily. Some do it up to three times a day while others shoot for once a week. Best when done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
After the pulling is complete, be sure not to swallow the oil as it is full of bacteria. Do not spit it out in the sink, but rather into your compost or trash—otherwise you’ll clog the pipes when the oil congeals. Rinse your mouth out well with water and follow with a good brush.
That’s it. It’s cheap and easy enough that it’s certainly worth a try to see if it works for you.
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