Oil Pulling

coconut oil picWe like trying new ways of living healthy, and I (K) recently started oil pulling. This is only new to me, because it’s actually an ancient method of Ayurvedic medicine for detoxing. Of course there are some who might argue that there is not enough evidence to provide proof that it works, and others who are using it as a part of complementary and alternative medicine. Before I try things like this I ask myself a few questions. Does it make sense? Could it be harmful? How does this fit with my way of living? What are the benefits if it works? What is lost if it doesn’t?

What is Oil Pulling? Oil pulling is the act of pulling and pushing, or swishing, oil in your mouth for a period of time, for the purpose of the oil attracting and removing toxins. You do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. With oil pulling, you use the very best, high quality oil you can find. We’ve been using expeller pressed, organic, virgin coconut oil in our cooking, so this is the oil I’m using. Originally oil pulling used sesame oil. I intend to try that too, but haven’t yet. I must admit I’m still getting used to coconut oil in general because I’ve never liked coconut. But it is refreshing! It has many benefits, including antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. We are using expeller pressed, organic, virgin coconut oil by Spectrum. This one is readily available to us and we can get it in a large jar at Whole Foods.

How do I do it?  You will do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I floss my teeth and rinse my mouth, and then start the oil pulling process. To prepare your oil, you’ll notice that it’s solid at room temperature, so you will want to melt it in a pan (not the microwave!). Take a regular, small spoon and put some in a clean pan. Heat it on low until it is liquid. I poured it into a tablespoon sized measuring spoon until I could eyeball how much I needed when it was solid. You will then put it in your mouth and begin rolling, pulling and pushing it around. Your goal is to keep it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. The first time I did it I could only handle about 10 minutes. I also figured out that if you are too vigorous with your pushing and pulling that your saliva mixes with it too fast and makes it foamy, and it feels like you have too much in your mouth. You want to move it around in your mouth to flow over the entire inside, and to gently pull and it push it through your teeth. That’s why it’s good to floss first. Another good thing to remember is to keep it away from your throat – you’re not gargling! I set a timer and either sit quietly when I can, or go on about my business. When you are finished, you will spit it out. Spit in the trash can or something like that, not down the sink so it doesn’t clog. Rinse your mouth with warm water, and then brush.

The benefits I’m seeing So far I can tell a big difference in how my mouth feels. You know how fresh your mouth feels after you go to the dentist and get your teeth cleaned? My mouth feels even fresher than that. I have also noticed that I am not having near as much of an issue with my sinuses, in spite of the fact that it is spring in Memphis. My gums feel and look healthy. My teeth were a bit sensitive at first, but now they aren’t. I’m about to start using this coconut oil on specific skin spots and see what all the benefits are, but I am definitely going to continue the oil pulling. Anything that we can do in the mornings to remove toxins and start the day anew is a good thing! Another thing to do after you brush your teeth is to drink a lot of water and eat a clean, healthy breakfast. Let us know if you try it and what you think! What benefits have you experienced from oil pulling or other uses for coconut oil? Tell us!

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