What is oil pulling?

What is oil pulling?
Image courtesy of coconut-oil-pulling.net

Friends. Hold on to your chairs. A lot of things will be said in this post that sound weird and disgusting.

Today we are talking about oil pulling.

We're talking about oil pulling, because I actually do it. This is not a post on the benefits of some weird earthy-crunchy granola thing that I've heard about and don't actually do. Honestly? I can't start my day without it.

So what is oil pulling? This is where you have to promise you won't just let your eyes glaze over and stop reading. It sounds gross — I know this, but I tried it, and I was hooked, even though I started off wrong (more on that later).

Oil pulling is swishing a high-quality oil (I prefer extra-virgin, cold-pressed, organic coconut oil) around in your mouth for an extended period of time — some people do it for 2 minutes; others do it for 20 (the longer you can do it, the better). In my case, I scoop out a spoonful of solid coconut oil (it turns to a liquid from the heat of your mouth) and I swish for 10 to 12 minutes first thing every morning, without fail. Then, I spit it into the garbage — you'll ruin your pipes if you spit in the sink — and brush my teeth.

Why pull oil? (Why do they even call it that?) Oil "pulling" pulls a LOT of toxins out of your body. I've done only one other "cleanse" in my life, and it involved hours of chopping vegetables, which just isn't practical for me (I also cannot exist without solid food). So this is a type of "detox" that is more manageable for me, because I actually ENJOY doing it every day.

What's so good about detoxifying? These are the benefits of detox I've noticed via oil pulling, which I've been doing for about the past 3 months:

  • Whiter teeth (even though I'm not the most consistent flosser in the world and I don't use toothpaste with fluoride or whitening agents) — I didn't notice this but someone else pointed it out, AND my dental hygienist commented on how good my molars were looking at my last checkup, after I had only been oil pulling for two weeks!
  • Clearer skin — I have dealt with comedonal acne (tiny pimples, not cystic or inflammatory) since the 90s, especially during my monthly cycle and OH MAMA when I was pregnant...I thought it was a dead giveaway with my second child, before I told everyone we were having another baby. Some products helped a little bit in the past, but nothing ever took it all away, and if I missed a few applications I was screwed. I am not kidding you, I only know now that my cycle is coming because I become a rage monster, not because of the pimples! My skin hasn't looked this good for as long as I can remember.
  • Lighter periods — men, you can ignore this part. Ladies, who here is with me when I say my cycle got WAY out of control after kids? I had such heavy bleeding, I could tell you so many stories...I almost went to the doctor to complain, but I'm glad I didn't. My periods are much lighter now, and the bleeding doesn't last as long. Why? If you don't have as many toxins to release through the blood, you don't release as much blood — plain and simple.
  • Seasonal allergy relief — I used to get weekly allergy shots because my allergies were so bad when we moved back up here in '07. Well, I quit that last summer when our insurance changed and the serum would have cost me upwards of $600 every time I needed a refill. This summer, although I still wake up a bit congested some days and have been known to sneeze from time to time, I have stopped taking over-the-counter allergy meds (and when I do want something to alleviate the itchy nose, I inhale lavender essential oil). I remember so clearly the misery I experienced even WITH the allergy shots in the past — to be able to save myself from the pain, time, cost and uncertainty associated with allergy shots in general (um, I was getting shots for about 10 years...isn't that too long?) is such a plus for me.

Others may tell you your gums will be healthier, your other PMS symptoms will improve, you will have less headaches (which I don't really get anyways) and you will have a clearer mind and increased energy. I can't personally vouch for any of that, although it's possible — I am getting up and exercising during the kids' afternoon naps nowadays, when I used to sleep. And who knows, maybe my dentist will congratulate me on my gum health at my next checkup?

I really, REALLY hope you'll try it. How did I go wrong at the beginning, as I mentioned above? Word to the wise: Use coconut oil, not sesame! I gagged on the sesame oil even though it was also cold pressed and organic and all that (not the toasted stuff you use in Asian food). I still used it again the next day, but I gagged again and switched to coconut immediately. Regardless, above all, do NOT forget that whatever oil you choose, it MUST be of a high quality. Get it on line or at the health-food store, and if someone's around and you're not sure if you're buying the right thing, tell them what it's for so they can better advise you.

Do you already pull oil? What benefits have you noticed? Leave a comment and share below!

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