Is oil pulling science or snake oil?

Is oil pulling science or snake oil?

The practice of oil pulling dates back to ayurvedic medicine of ancient India, where it was believed to help lubricate the body. Today, it is all the rage in Hollywood, with luminaries such as Gwyneth Paltrow using it to whiten their teeth. But is there any science behind the swishing? Here are some highlights of a report by Dyanne Weiss in Liberty Voice that sheds more light on the subject.

Oil pulling goes back 2,500 years. It is based on practices and concepts from a traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, that claims that oil nourishes body tissue. In Ayurveda, the body’s tissues, from head to toe, are oiled every day. This is believed to have an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect.

The oil pulling practice is drawing a lot of attention these days from health gurus, celebrities who have reportedly tried it like Shailene Woodley and Gwyneth Paltrow, and others now embracing the swishing habit.

So, what does oil swishing or pulling entail and is a daily swish really offer fulfillment? The Ayurvedic technique involves swishing a natural oil like coconut or sesame in your mouth, like a mouthwash, and then spitting it out. There is no exact amount of oil prescribed, but most use between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. Those who recommend the technique usually suggest swishing the oil for 10-15 minutes, but others suggest ranges from five up to 20 minutes.

People have reported all kinds of positive results from doing oil pulling, according to chiropractor Marc Halpern, who is president of the California College of Ayurveda, located in Nevada City, Calif., although he admits oil pulling may not produce all of the benefits some users proclaim.

In fact, most claims that practitioners make have not been and are not being studied. Consequently, there are not solid medical studies offering evidence to back up or refute the benefits or, conversely, indicate any risks. Several professional groups, including the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, are not conducting research on oil pulling,

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What does the medical profession have to say about this newly popular practice? We recently saw a dental expert being interviewed, and he said that if anyone who performed oil pulling for twenty minutes took even a quarter of that time and devoted it to proper tooth brushing and flossing, they would achieve a better result.

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