Health is a relationship between you and your body.
– Terri Guillemets
When we’re feeling unwell, or not looking our best, so often we turn to unnatural solutions to help us out. Finding all natural, less expensive remedies empowers us both as people and consumers, leading us to feel healthier, too.
For example, instead of paying hundreds of dollars to have our teeth whitened by a dentist, what if we could solve the problem on our own, simply by adding a little oil pulling into our morning routine? Ditto for drugs that the money-hungry pharmaceutical companies try to push on us as cures for the common cold, sore throat, or as digestive aids: made of chemicals, and harmful when taken over long (and sometimes even short) periods of time, our prescribed pills are not only unnatural to ingest, but frequently create more symptoms than they solve, and are pricey to boot.
An ancient, all natural practice called oil pulling might be one of the natural answers: cheap and eco friendly, swishing around high quality oil in our mouths for 20 minutes every morning can improve our overall health, including our lymphatic system, and oral hygiene. Already popular among yogis and homeopaths alike, there’s no reason why the average person can’t also give it try and reap the multiple benefits of this simple practice.
Yesterday we spoke with my friend Isabelle Vauthier, an oil puller enthusiast, who explained her personal experience with the age-old practice. Today, she shares even more useful tips for integrating this health and beauty practice into our daily routines. I even managed to nudge her into divulging her own personal morning routine that leaves her feeling energized for the day. Before reading on, check out yesterday’s conversation to catch up!
K: Okay! Any more good tips that we should remember when oil pulling?
IV: “After you swish, the best thing to do is rinse your mouth with salty water (sea salt is the best) to finish the detox process. Then, you can brush your teeth afterward.
2 spoons of oil (about 10 ml) are enough, as you want the liquid to become fluid after about 15-20 minutes.
Also, know that in the beginning, the practice stresses the jaw. This is not very pleasant, but it becomes easier with time, and soon you don’t feel the stress anymore — in fact, it becomes enjoyable to swish!”
K: After starting to oil pull, what benefits have you personally experienced?
– My teeth have become much more white, without stains or lines on them.
– My gums are more red and healthy.
– I have less pain in my gums, and in my teeth — especially the ones that have had root canals, which used to be very painful.
– Better smelling breath!
– I don’t have any more cavities (though, I also reduced my sugar intake a lot!)
– I feel my jaw is more relaxed, and I very rarely have headaches anymore.
– I feel more aware of, and in touch with, my digestive tract.
– I feel clearer in my mind, and calmer after I swish.”
K: Do you have any advice for people who are considering embarking on their own oil pulling practice?
IV: “I would tell them to practice oil pulling the same way they brush their teeth: don’t question it — try it, and keep doing it. You might see results after couple of weeks, or after a couple of days — it depends on your body, overall health, and diet.
Be patient. It is not so pleasant at the beginning. Feeling nauseous, yucky taste, and pain in the jaw are all normal things to experience when you start out. So, make a personal commitment of doing it for at least one week, and then see how it feels. The results will do the talking.”
K: Do you know anyone else who has had positive results from this practice?
IV: “Oil pulling has helped many of my friends. I’ve seen it help to heal:
– Very bad teeth: after 1 week of swishing every morning, teeth that were green and black became white.
– Receding gums: the gums were rebuilt, and grew longer.
– Sore throat and colds
K: Many people seem to be averse to taking the time to swish: they don’t have 20 minutes in the morning to sit around with oil in their mouths. For people with kids, or regular morning shifts, I can fully understand! What would you say to this?
IV: “For people who have a short time to prepare in the morning, you can swish while…
– Making your breakfast
– Taking your shower
– Getting your stuff ready for the day
– Reading emails
I do all of these things while swishing, depending on what I need to do. But, I always find the time for it — it’s never a problem. It is a silent practice, so it’s great if you don’t like to talk in the morning!”
Ah-ha! She hooked me with that last tip, since it takes me about an hour in the morning before I’m ready to verbally communicate with anyone — having a ‘reason’ to stay silent could actually come in quite handy!
K: Lastly, I know you are really into healthy, energizing daily rituals. Can you share your morning routine with us? I’m always looking for ideas to start the day right.
IV: “Sure! My personal daily routine is this.
– Wake up early (and meditate when I am disciplined!)
– Do oil pulling, and salt water rinsing
– Brush my teeth with salty water (this is a yogi practice)
– Skin brush if I have time
– Drink warm lemon water, or apple cider vinegar
– Have a shower, finishing with very cold water
– Do my personal practices (yoga, qi gong, or dance)
– Have breakfast, and… then live my life!
I like hearing about other peoples’ morning routines, since mine tends to vary often. Creating a steady, structured set of rituals — including health practices for both our mind and body — helps to ground us for the day ahead.
Certified holistic health coach Morgan Potts confirms Isabelle’s comments, and adds some more reasons to oil pull:
Why oil pull? A popular reason for oil pulling is to find relief from congestion in the sinuses and throat. It is unbelievable how quickly this happens! Immediately after rinsing, you will find yourself blowing your nose and clearing your throat. I have worked with people struggling with chronic sinus congestion who experienced relief unlike anything else, after oil pulling only once! Their condition improved and the congestion eventually went away completely.
I began pulling to benefit my gums and teeth, which used to be extremely sensitive. My gums strengthened, and teeth became much whiter! It also proved to be beneficial to my skin, which cleared up dramatically, and became bright and almost glowing. Swishing with coconut oil has also proven to be beneficial to those with skin disorders such as psoriasis, and is great for anyone who wants to detox and begin taking better care of their immune system.
After investigating this Ayurvedic tradition, and hearing what Isabelle says about it, I’m going to give it a go (admittedly, mainly in attempt to have whiter teeth!) for a few reasons: I can afford to do it; I don’t like talking in the morning anyway; and it’s probably time that I start putting the effort into keeping my mouth as healthy as the rest of me – which, I’ve now learned, is one and the same, since a clean mouth means a healthier body. Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever tried oil pulling, or if you’d ever consider trying it like me! Happy swishing.
My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass.
– Leslie Grimutter