A few days ago I found myself with multiple jars of coconut oil in my shopping cart at the Ventura Vons. The cashier was looking at me like I'm "coco-nuts" and asked me what my plans were with all this creamy goodness. I sarcastically said I basically bath my life in it… unsarcastically it’s kind of true.
We’ve previously shared blogs on how the Ventura Pop Up Yoga team uses coconut oil in our daily lives (link here)… it included coconut oil baths, coffee creamer, lotion and even dog allergies. I still on a weekly basis utilize my vats of oil for these things. However the particular use that first turned me onto bringing coconut oil into my home was the ancient technique of Oil Pulling.
Like many of your reading this I first heard about Oil Pulling on a blog about 4 years ago. I was intrigued by what the blog was telling me the benefits were; whiter teeth, immunity boost, oral care, etc. But when I got to the part where it said how to do it, I immediately thought you want me to swish “what” for “how long”?! It sounded odd and a little too much for me at the time.
However the idea sat with me and I continued to research what oil pulling was and where the idea came from. Oil Pulling comes from Ayurveda (which at the time was a new word to me). My modern interpretation of Ayurveda is: the ancient yoga science of bringing balance (health) to the body through self-care and eating. Oil Pulling is just one of the self-care regimens.
So if you’re skimming reading and waiting for me to get to the point, here it is:
What is Oil Pulling? How to get started? Why might you add it to your life?
Oil Pulling is the “art” of swishing oil in your mouth for approximately 20 minutes. This is something that should be done when you first wake up in the morning prior to even taking a sip of water or brushing your teeth. The pulling that the oil does rids the mouth and body of toxins and harmful bacteria. Making this the first thing you do in the morning allows the oil to extract the nightly build up in your mouth prior to your body re-ingesting it. Modern science reiterates the importance of oral care. Recent studies have even proven it’s not just about tooth and gum decay and that oral hygiene actually correlates to overall healthiness of an individual.
My oil pulling practice I have always used cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil. I simply scoop a spoonful of oil into my mouth and swish it around. After about 15-20 minutes you’ll start to notice the oil’s consistency change. At this point the oil has becomes toxic. Make sure you don’t swallow the oil and I recommend spitting it in the garbage to avoid the bacteria in your sink. Rinse your mouth out with fresh water and spit any residue that might be remaining. I would say I typically fit this in about 3-4 times a week, but you can easily do this daily.
So now the million dollar question… why would one consider swishing oil for 20 mins daily? As I mentioned above the removal of harmful toxins and bacteria is one benefit. Some recommend doing this daily during cold and flu season to help the body ward off any foreign bacteria’s that might bring you down. However if “not getting” sick isn’t a glamorous enough reason to try out oil pulling yourself than how about this? I believe that oil pulling keeps my teeth white naturally and cheaply. I have a coffee activated body and even with several cups a day I can keep my teeth fairly white without sacrificing a ton of money or dealing with overly sensitive teeth from the modern teeth whitening options.
So if my rambling hasn’t convinced you to try this 1000s of year old tradition… do some further research like I initially did. By all means you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet and I’m certainly not a doctor. This is just my experience and my interpretation of something I believe has improved my overall health and wellness.
I’d love to hear your experience with Oil Pulling or other Ayurveda practices.
Much love and happy “pulling”!