If you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing a brutal New England Winter, then you know exactly what I mean with I refer to the “Winter blues”. There’s just always something about the extreme cold & snow that seems to reduce energy levels & chip away at our daily motivation. Well, I was feeling particularly sluggish a couple weeks ago when I heard some chatter about “oil pulling”. What is oil pulling you ask? I had the same question. “Oil pulling” or “oil swishing” refers to putting a teaspoon of oil in your mouth then swishing & pulling it between your teeth for 20 minutes. I know it sounds completely bazaar & pointless, but I can assure you IT’S NOT. Over the years, people have reported all sorts of crazy oil pulling benefits, from detox and whiter teeth, to migraine relief, and even improved vision! At first, I was pretty skeptical (I don’t usually fall for these types of things), but I figured I’d give it a shot – at least for it’s supposed detox powers, which I could always use in the middle of the Winter! All I can say is that I was completely shocked & amazed…here’s the story of my personal oil pulling benefits, after just one week!
I will admit, the first time I tried oil pulling it was a terrible experience. I couldn’t even last 10 minutes, let alone the recommended 20! By the second time, this had changed. I actually found it quite relaxing, and lasted the entire 20 minutes. Before I go any further with my story and my personal oil pulling benefits, here’s how to “pull oil”.
How to Pull Oil:
Pick a time of day that will consistently work for you. I really like to pull oil first thing in the morning. I roll out of bed, take a spoonful of oil, then jump in the shower. By the time I get out of the shower, the 20 minutes is usually up!
Select your oil. I use organic expeller-pressed coconut oil, but your can also use organic sesame oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil. What ever oil you select, it should be organic and pure for maximum benefits. I really like using the coconut oil because it doesn’t have a very strong taste, it’s actually pretty neutral.
Place a teaspoon of oil in your mouth. Coconut oil starts out as a solid, so when you first put it in your mouth it feels a bit funky, don’t worry, it will melt into a smooth liquid in a matter of seconds! As I mentioned, this was very difficult for me the first time around, but I actually found myself enjoying it by the second and third time!
Swish & pull the oil around your mouth and through your teeth. As the oil melts, begin to lightly swish it around your mouth. Allow the oil to glide in between your teeth. DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL. I was super paranoid about swallowing the oil my first time, so much so that I had to spit it out. So my advice is to allow yourself to completely relax throughout the process. I like to practice calming belly breaths (in and out through your nose), which are super relaxing =). Simply swallow as you naturally would and focus on keeping the oil in the front of your mouth. Your first time might be difficult, but you’ll have it down by the second and third time!
Spit out the oil. Once the 20 minutes is up, spit out your oil into the waste bin (not down the sink because it could clog it!) Now you can brush your teeth!
Oil Pulling Benefits [I’ve personally experienced]
I didn’t begin to notice most of these changes from oil pulling until after my third time. It’s also important to note that I’m not at all a morning person, in fact I’m really a monster until after I’ve had my second coffee, so some of the results I found after oil pulling were actually quite remarkable to me personally. Oh, and these benefits are the changes I’ve noticed after oil pulling for only A WEEK, so I’m really looking forward to any other improvements that might come up as I continue!
1. Elevated mood. This was one of the first things I noticed. In fact, I felt this change after the second time I pulled oil. As I mentioned above, I am not a morning person, but after pulling oil I consistently feel brighter, happier, and more talkative BEFORE I even have my first coffee! I actually skipped coffee twice in the past week and still felt wonderful. This actually blew my mind.
2. Feeling more alert. I suppose this ties to the elevated mood, but I began noticing this about halfway through my first week. The cold weather always makes me feel sort of sluggish and “fuzzy”, but I’ve started to feel much sharper with clearer thoughts and better focus. Of course, this feeling is subjective for different people, but it was a very noticeable change for me.
3. Increased energy. Along with feeling more alert, I’ve noticed that my energy levels have increased. I’ve been falling asleep quicker and rising earlier with much more energy than before (especially more than I usually have in the dead of the Winter).
4. Hangover Cure. I had cocktails two nights this past week. The first night, I enjoyed a few vodka drinks at dinner with my husband, which is enough to leave me feeling groggy and “off” the next day. As expected, I woke up feeling like I drank the night before, but not a full blown hangover. I did my morning ritual, including the oil pulling and felt clear & refreshed almost immediately after, this amazed me. The next night was a girls night out where I enjoyed countless (skinny) margaritas… I woke up the next day feeling terrible. Headache, shaky, tired, nauseous, the whole sha-bang. I pulled oil as usual, and noticed gradual improvements for about a half hour after. This result wasn’t as quick as the first night (with lighter drinking), but within an hour of oil pulling my headache was gone and and my hangover was completely gone. This REALLY blew my mind.
5. Cleared up acne & smoother skin. About 4-5 days into oil pulling, I noticed my skin felt more much smoother & more hydrated. I typically have super dry skin in the Winter, but it’s improved tremendously since I’ve started oil pulling. Also, I’ve had a light acne breakout on my chin for about a month now, that breakout has completely cleared up. This was one of the benefits of oil pulling that I was not expecting at all!
6. Whiter teeth. Like better than professional teeth whiteners, seriously. Next to increased energy, this is perhaps one of my favorite benefits of oil pulling. I didn’t start oil pulling to whiten my teeth, I started because of the “detox” benefits, but this was truly amazing. On my fourth day of oil pulling I glanced in the mirror while driving to work and was shocked at what I saw… my teeth were at least 3-4 shades whiter than they were just a few days ago. I’ve used whitening strips and had my teeth professionally whitened in the past, but I’ve never seen them THIS WHITE. To prove the difference, I snapped a picture that same day in the car, right after I noticed my teeth. The “before” photo was taken a few weeks ago, I’ve used no whitening products between the two photos.
In addition to my personal findings, here’s a list of oil pulling benefits that others have found…
- Helps detoxify the body of harmful toxins
- Correcting hormone imbalances
- Reduces the symptoms of allergies
- Reducing inflammation of arthritis
- Migraine relief
- May help with gastro-enteritis
- Aids in the reduction of eczema
- Reduce symptoms of bronchitis
- Reduce sinus congestion
- Some people report improved vision
- Reduce insomnia
- Support normal kidney function
Well folks, that about sums up my personal experience with oil pulling thus far. Of course, I’ll continue to update this post with any new oil pulling benefits I should find!
I highly recommend giving oil pulling a shot, especially if you could benefit from any of the improvements I found! If you do, please share your findings in the comments section below. I’m really looking forward to hearing about other experiences with oil pulling!
Update! Check out even more amazing coconut oil beauty benefits here!