It was new to me until a few months ago when I started to notice videos and blog posts all talking about this so called ancient technique.
To be a little more exact the claim was that this is a technique used in Ayurvedic Medicine and that also puzzled me.
Because I have studied Ayurveda; not to professional level but as a Naturopath I love to learn healing practises and principles from other parts of the world.
Naturopathy is based on a philosophy beautifully expressed by the Ancient Greek writer Hippocrates and uses the current science of Physiology as its knowledge base.
Naturopaths in India may choose ancient Vedic philosophy as their philosophical base and those in China will choose the "Yellow Emperor" and in each part of the world local naturopaths trained to a professional level will learn the techniques and remedies and integrate that knowledge with the background philosophy and modern science.
Consequently students of naturopathy learn what is called medical sciences of Physiology, anatomy and pathology and use these background or foundational sciences to build a modern effective naturopathic medical practise.
We have no dispute with medical science or even with surgery when used appropriately but we differ with medical doctors when they consider the use of pharmaceuticals.
To us pharmaceuticals are much too dangerous and harm the patient; we also know of other less risky medicines such as herbal and nutritional remedies and frankly whack our foreheads with something akin to disbelief when we see when chemical medicines are prescribed instead of known and safe naturopathic medicines.
But "Oil Pulling" was a new one to me and I felt uneasy about it.
And yes there are plenty of what therapeutic techniques in Ayurveda using oils – I have experienced Ayurvedic massage with oil and Shirodhara too – the latter conducted by an Ayurvedic Doctor.
Is This Really Ayurvedic?
Looking into Ayurvedic literature there is a mention in Astanga Hridayam page 271 of Kavala of what is called "mouth gargling" which is what we call oil swishing – except that you use water or oil and which oil to use is carefully assessed by an Ayurvedic Doctor.
O and by the way – the whole 20 minutes thing is nonsense – it may take a few seconds to do or a long long time because the patient only stops Kavala when particular signs are noted such as nose and eyes running.
In the absence of knowing how to do this properly and safely and in the absence of an Ayurvedic Doctor to diagnose and advise, this is simply not safe and is taking pot luck with your health.
Kavala is not a sweet little home remedy or folk medicine as the Wiki defines it with a wonderfully contemptuous phrase – this is a medical technique that used by the untrained may be dangerous.
And using coconut oil is plain wrong.
Yes I love coconut oil as much as anyone and use it in cooking and endorse its use in personal care but the use of coconut oil is inappropriate in Kavala.
Here is a quote from an expert blog on Ayurveda which explains this simply and with a lot of "attitude"
" Oil pulling is a new hippie dippie thing to the commercial consumer, yoga, spiritual, and new age alternative health world. It originates from Ayurveda but is not what is being done as “Oil Pulling” out in the masses. What its benefits are being touted as is completely blown out of proportion. What is being claimed has no reference in Ayurveda making oil pulling definitely not Ayurvedic in the techniques and terms it is being defined today in America. Claims of liver detoxing and all sorts of other ridiculous statements are being said and sold about what it does " read the rest at the link here
Simply put, what the media calls "oil pulling" is a made up, misunderstood and misapplied media meme that may have started in Ayurvedic practise but through a process of "Chinese Whispers" has come out as nonsense and dangerous nonsense which is worse.
I'm sorry to be so blunt without giving mush of a reason but to understand the whole technique and how it is applied would take a long time – take a look at the link above and you'll begin to see what I mean!
Please don't do this so called "Oil Pulling" and caution your friends if they fall for this nonsense perhaps show them this article to check it out and decide for themselves.
Have you practised "Oil Swishing" and what did you experience?