Detoxing with Oil: an Oil Pulling Diary
Oil pulling. It sounds like an environmentally friendly activity, doesn’t it? And it is. For your internal environment, that is. It’s an Ayurvedic detoxifying/purifying technique involving swishing sesame or sunflower oil (ideally cold-pressed, although refined works, too) in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, first thing in the morning, until it turns white and foamy and, essentially, toxic. Then you spit it out. It’s purpose is to pull out toxins before they can cause problems, as well as getting rid of the ones of which we’re already aware. One nice outcome is the balancing effect this has on the endocrine system. According to EarthClinic.com, it has also been used to heal “mouth & gum disease; stiff joints; allergies; asthma; high blood sugar; constipation; migraines; bronchitis; eczema; heart, kidney, lung diseases; leukemia; arthritis; meningitis; insomnia; menopause (hormonal issues); cancer; AIDS; chronic infections; varicose veins; high blood pressure; diabetes; polio; cracked heels.” A client told me about it. I thought it seemed like a fairly easy way to detox, with the possibility of some very favorable results, and I’m always interested in finding simple ways to feel better, for me and for my clients, so I decided to try it out.
Day One. Swishing oil around my mouth for 15 minutes wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I think I even managed to avoid swallowing any. My teeth feel amazingly clean, like I just came from the dentist. I’m reluctant to eat, lest I get them dirty, but somehow I manage. An interesting side effect: my mouth has been shooting out saliva all day. I’ve clearly started something happening. All I want to do is spit. Why are there so many people around all the time? Why didn’t I pay attention when my older brother was learning to hock a lugie with flair? Maybe I could carry a little cup with me, be discreet about it…oh the images that just popped into my head. Scratch that. I think I must be a little giddy. With any luck, this will be a temporary thing.
Okay. I accept and honor my saliva. Let the detoxifying begin!
Day Two. Note to self – drink a glass of water before swishing thickish oil around your mouth first thing in the morning. Things weren’t quite as smooth this morning. On the up side, the saliva situation was much improved today. And, dare I say it, I’m pretty sure I had more energy! Hooray! That will definitely keep me going. I’ve also felt clearer-headed. Placebo effect? We’ll see…
So far, so good. Given the amount of sleep I’ve not had in the past few nights, I’m feeling great. Ordinarily, I would be much foggier. This little experiment is truly bringing home to me how inflammation/imbalance in the mouth can have a profound and powerful affect on your total well-being. In fact, in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda both use the tongue as a mirror for the rest of the body, dividing it up into sections representing different organ systems. So stimulating your tongue every morning must have an effect on the rest of the body as well. Day three has gone well – I remembered to drink water first. It really does make a tremendous difference. There has also been some, um, movement shall we say, a bit further down. All part of the detoxification process… What hasn’t really happened yet is any sort of internal, getting-in-touch/clearing kinds of things. But I’ve been extremely busy (though I have had incredible luck in finding just the right gifts for people). I think journaling needs to be added to the process.
I’ve heard that some people experience sinus irritation and/or exacerbated sinus issues when oil pulling. I haven’t noticed any sinus problems, but they aren’t usually an issue for me. I did notice a little extra phlegm in the back of my throat today. In my research into the process I remember reading that some conditions will worsen before they get better – as in any detox.
Today was a work-at-home day for me, and I managed to get much more done than I usually do. Maybe it’s just the frame of mind that started me oil pulling the in the first place, but I got through my to-do list, took a walk in the snow, saw clients, and still had the concentration left to send some Reiki before hitting the couch. Oh, and I got a great night’s full of sleep last night – first night in a couple of weeks!
Well, I pulled through the holiday eating. As my body lets go of unnecessary stuff, I’ve been hungry a lot. I’ve also been doing a lot of running around, for which, thanks to the oil pulling, perhaps, I had the stamina. I think my teeth are whiter. It’s definitely putting me in the frame of mind to take really excellent care of myself. Which means that I’m glad the holiday eating is almost over. I’m good at making healthy choices in restaurants, and bringing healthy options to parties, but when someone cooks for me, I accept the love with which it was made and eat. I’m going to keep going with this and see what happens. It certainly isn’t doing any harm. I have more energy, whiter teeth, and, if nothing else, it’s fifteen minutes every morning where I get to relax and concentrate on me. That’s definitely worth it.
My chiropractor noticed that my adjustments have been easier, and are lasting longer.
I am glad to report that I will be entering the new year feeling better. My digestive system is really getting on track. I’m much less volatile, more regular. For someone who’s been diagnosed with IBS, that’s saying a lot. I’m also 95% sure my teeth are whiter – without resorting to chemicals!
I have the flu. In fact, yesterday I had a really high temperature. Today it’s almost gone. Yesterday I could barely move off the couch. Today I’m planning to leave the house. My husband was sick last week with the same thing. His lasted the whole week. I think there’s something to this oil pulling thing. 1/25/08 Well, it’s been a little over a month now. I’ve noticed improvement in several things – some subtle, some a little more major. For instance, my teeth are less sensitive, whiter, and my gums are healthier. In fact, I skipped a day yesterday, as an experiment, and I really noticed a difference in how my mouth felt. It was less fresh, less clean. I missed my fifteen minutes of swishing. It’s a meditative part of my morning. It helps me to wake up. Also, since I’ve been doing it I just feel cleaner. Lighter. I think I have actually lost some weight (I don’t own a scale). My nails are stronger, too. My hair a little glossier. And I’m noticing that, now that I’ve added this simple, healthy routine into my day, it’s been easier to add in others, like more regular exercise, and healthier food choices. (Hey, even a health counselor gets tempted by those “healthy” cookies and chips at the natural foods store.) Baby steps, I always say, are what get us to our goals.
I am impressed that something so simple could make all of these differences. I plan to keep oil pulling as part of my daily routine. I think there’s much more that I can achieve with it.