Oil Pulling: An Ancient Health Technique for the Modern World?


Have you heard of oil pulling or do you know anyone who has tried it? While you might be relating it to the likes of ‘drill, baby, drill’, erase that image from your mind as nothing could be further from the actual truth. Oil pulling is an ancient method of persuing oral health and provides a natural detox solution that is easy and effective.

Oil pulling is a component of Ayurvedic medicine (a holistic form of treatment that began in India and translates to ‘the science of life’) and dates back 3000-5000 years. The therapy involves using approximately one tablespoon of oil, preferably organic cold pressed sesame or sunflower varieties, and swishing it around in your mouth for 20 minutes at a time. You also pull the oil in and out through your teeth during the treatment, hence the fitting name. This is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking, and should always be done, no matter what time of day, on an empty stomach.

While originally touted for its oral health benefits, including naturally whiter and stronger teeth, prevention of cavities and healing and/or prevention of gum related disease and ailments, regular practitioners’ of oil pulling also claim relief from skin disorders including eczema, joint related pain, and sinus infections. It’s been said to offer positive effects for insomnia, slow metabolism and can even help regulate blood sugar. If you are looking to lose a few pounds, oil pulling can benefit your goal in that a body free of toxins is better positioned to burn fat and calories and is in optimal weight loss mode.

In the beginning it may be hard to keep the oil moving in your mouth for the full 20 minutes, and many people start with as few as 3 minutes and work their way up. As the oil of your choice mixes with your salvia, the swishing action activates enzymes. The enzymes then draw out toxins and impurities from your system. After swishing, spit the oil out in the trash or outside and immediately rinse your mouth with water. Never swallow the oil, as it is now contaminated. You can use your finger to lightly go over teeth and gums, swishing the clean water around to rid your mouth of all the oil and saliva mixture. Next, brush your teeth, preferably with a natural toothpaste. Follow by drinking a few glasses of filtered water.

Sometimes you may feel a bit worse before you feel better, as oil pulling is a cleansing therapy. Give your body ample time to adjust as you continue oil pulling. Don’t abandon the practice, as you will stand to miss out on its many health related benefits.

As we enter the fall and winter months, where festive holiday food, late nights and colds and flu are abundant, now is a great time to test out the practice of oil pulling. It’s easy and offers time for daily reflection while you boost your health naturally. We would love to hear your comments on oil pulling below. Please let us know your thoughts.