Just returned from two weeks in North Carolina visiting my daughter and between the jet lag, weather differences and immediate return to work my body rebelled! The day after I got home I woke up to a mouthful of sores and intense pain that made it hard to eat, talk or drink anything! Ewwww!
The hot, dry weather in the California foothills isn’t helping my body, either; it seems to really enjoy the higher humidity of North Carolina (which wasn’t bad at all for me). After just one day back home working outside I felt like a raisin with all the moisture sucked out of me, so I needed to do something fast. A few months ago I started swishing coconut oil every morning before starting my day so I thought that might help my sore mouth. WOW! It certainly did help so I thought it was worth sharing this simple Ayurvedic practice, called OIL PULLING which has been around for thousands of years. If you google “oil pulling” you will find all sorts of information on its health benefits from whitening your teeth, promoting oral hygiene, increasing energy and detoxifying your body. For me, it makes my mouth and gums feel cleaner and maybe my teeth a little whiter but with my recent sore mouth I definitely noticed a decrease in the burning and throbbing and the inflammation was dramatically reduced for a few hours afterward. It gave me such relief that I did it twice a day (early morning and before bed).
The other self-care habit I highly recommend is dry brushing. With my skin feeling like a prune from the dry California summer, dry brushing has been very helpful. You can use a loofa but I finally bought a real dry brush for about $10 online and it works much better. These two body self-care habits have really made a difference for me in managing the effects of living in a super dry, hot climate that makes my skin crave the humidity of North Carolina! But no matter where you live these are worth trying👍.
“RECIPE” for OIL PULLING:
- 1 spoonful of organic, cold pressed coconut oil or organic sesame or olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt or baking soda in 1 cup water (for rinsing after oil swishing)
- First thing in the morning, before eating or brushing your teeth put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and start gently swishing it around (about 1 1/2 teaspoons is enough for me, you can use a bit more if you can handle that much in your mouth!)
- Try to swish for up to 20 minutes but AT LEAST 10 minutes minimum for the most benefits. While I am swishing I get dressed, do my “dry brushing” and get ready for work, so it doesn’t add any extra time to your morning routine.
- After 10 – 20 minutes spit out all the coconut oil (and with it go all those toxins lurking in your mouth). DO NOT spit it into your sink or it will clog your drain eventually. I spit it into the toilet. DO NOT swallow it either or you will just have consumed all the junk you were trying to get out of your body!
- Rinse with a bit of baking soda or salt in a glass of warm water and brush your teeth as usual. You can eat right after doing this if you want but I love the feeling of a clean mouth so I usually just have a nice cup of tea and save breakfast for a bit later.
“RECIPE” for DRY BRUSHING
- Dry brush or loofa
- coconut oil or sesame or other organic skin oil
- First thing in the morning (or 2nd thing if you are also doing oil pulling), take your dry brush and beginning at the bottom of your feet, gently brush in an upward motion toward the lymph glands in your groin. In other words, you will be brushing up each foot and leg, making sure you get all sides of your feet and legs. You do not want to brush up and down, just in an upward direction.
- After you do your lower body, brush your back and stomach towards the lymph glands in your armpits. Then brush UP each arm toward your armpit making sure you get to your shoulders.
- You want to brush gently, not scrubbing your skin. It should feel wonderful, NOT PAINFUL! Your skin will be slightly pink and tingly. It feels SO GOOD!
- DO NOT BRUSH your face and neck as the skin there is very thin and fragile.
- After you finish brushing your entire body (which only takes about 10 minutes) you can shower and apply an organic skin oil which really soaks in thanks to the dry brushing. I’m not a morning shower person so I skip the shower and just put oil or lotion on my body.
Sometimes I dry brush in the evening and then do a salt scrub and take a shower and afterwards oil my body with coconut oil. It is an amazing transformation for my skin. I can feel each cell happily taking in the moisture and thanking me for taking care of myself. Considering how little time these two habits take and the immediate benefits you will feel, it is really worth adding them to your wellness routine 😀.