Over the past several weeks, I have been approached by quite a few health journalists enquiring about “Oil Pulling”. And I was I absolutely amazed at the impression people have about this wonderful technique. Therefore I decided to write an article on the ancient Ayurvedic technique of anti aging.
You may have read or heard that oil pulling is quite an Eastern technique. But to be more precise it is a typical Ayurvedic technique of everyday lifestyle routine.
The actual term for oil pulling in Ayurveda is either “Gandusha” or “Kavalagraha”. Many people wonder what exactly is this technique and several of them have also asked if it was a massage or a manual therapy technique. In reality neither is it a massage or body technique. It is actually one of the daily routines that we follow in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda talks about five approaches towards balancing your health and life. These are foods, herbs, massages, yoga and everyday lifestyle or routine. Oil pulling falls under the category of daily routine or lifestyle. And even the term “Oil Pulling” is quite Indian too.
Classically, one takes warm or hot sesame seed oil into the mouth and gargles with it. Or more precisely “swishes” it around for a few minutes before spitting it out. This is usually done in the mornings on an empty stomach.
The aim of this technique is to cleanse. When one gargles or does a “mouth wash” with sesame seed oil in the morning, it helps to draw out the toxins from the body. So it means the oil helps to pull out the toxin, therefore the term of “Oil Pulling”.
Technique in detail:
Upon waking in the morning and before brushing your teeth, warm up some cold pressed sesame seed oil. Take approximately 2-3 tablespoons into the mouth. This amount should just half fill the mouth so that you are able to move the oil around. Now “swish” the oil around for 30 seconds. Then simply hold the oil in the mouth for 30 seconds. Repeat the on and off method for approximately 2-3 minutes. Thereafter spit out the oil. Make sure to brush your teeth and clean the mouth thoroughly so that no oil remains. Also make sure to gargle with warm water at the end.
Wait for approximately 20 minutes before you drink or eat anything. It would be best to start off with a Ginger lemon tea to further cleanse and de-tox the system.
Sesame seed oil is usually golden orange in colour. But when you spit it out after Oil Pulling, the colour completely changes. It could be anything from cream to off white to blotchy to patchy. This change in oil is due to toxins being drawn out into the oil and thus eliminated from the body.
This technique is one of the best anti aging routine in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda says that when toxins build up in the body, they lead to disease. This disease then may shorten lifespan. But when toxins are removed regularly, there is no disease, therefore this would mean anti aging or prolonging life.
When done regularly, oil pulling helps to correct receding gums, helps to prevent bad breath and reduces teeth sensitivity.
Ayurveda also says that when done regularly, oil pulling will help to reduce appearances of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also one of the best techniques to help prevent dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.
In Ayurveda oil pulling is also indicated for people suffering from insomnia and tinnitus. When done regularly, this technique will also help with facial palsy and dry eyes.
This technique is not only helpful for local ailments but also more systemic ailments like constipation, lower back ache, sciatica, irregular periods, dysmenorrhoea.
When not to do Oil Pulling:
Oil pulling is not advised during pregnancy, breast feeding or post natal period. Likewise, it would be best not to do oil pulling during periods, immediately after consuming food, with an acute headache or during the post operative phase.
Other ingredients used:
Oil pulling is a technique done not just with oil but also with various herbal decoctions or liquids.
Bleeding gums: Triphala decoction
Oral thrush: Neem orTurmeric decoction
Under active thyroid: Pippali decoction
Receding and bleeding gums: Alternate days with Seed oil and Triphala decoction
Facial palsy: Mahanarayan oil
Fine line or wrinkles: Kumari (Aloe Vera oil)
Detoxification: Ginger Lemon tea or decoction
Psoriasis, Acne, Eczema: Coconut oil
For best results:
To see proper results, it would be best to do Oil Pulling regularly every morning for at least 2 or 3 weeks.
Reminder: If there are any medical conditions or if you are on any medication it would best to take advice from an Ayurvedic consultant or practitioner.