Respectful Insolence

After over a year of delving into the world of woo, I had been starting to think that my ability to be surprised had disappeared. I mean, just think about it. After dealing with things like DNA activation, quantum homeopathy, the Healing Broom, Healing Sounds, and, of course, colon cleansing and liver flushing, I thought I had seen it all. However, another thing I’ve learned is that the most amusing woo is not necessarily the battiest. Sure the DNA activation guy and Lionel Milgrom can put out some woo that is so unbelievably out there, so bizarre, so amazing over the top that rational, scientific, and skeptical people have a hard time believing these guys are serious. They’re on such a different wavelength from people dedicated to skepticism and evidence-based medicine that they might as well be from a different planet.

Come to think of it, maybe they are, but that would be a topic for another Friday.

Sometimes, however, I am actually surprised by the simplest woo. Last week, it was a guy claiming that all you had to do to cure all sorts of diseases is to drink lots of water. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. True the fevered explanations for how woo like that “works” are usually still pretty convoluted (or simple and mind-numbingly wrong), and usually they never achieve the truly sublime battiness of things like quantum homeopathy. Still, simple woo is not without its own pleasures, particularly when wild claims of cures for various diseases are made for something as simple as drinking a lot of water or using a soap (whose formula is claimed to have been provide by God Himself, of course). Perhaps my newfound fascination with simple woo comes from my disbelief that anyone could fall for it. Maybe it’s just the elegant simplicity and woo logic of it all. (Simple woo for simple minds, I guess.) I don’t know. But I do know that I just found another one.

I hereby present to you Oil Pulling: A Wonderful Therapy:

Dr. F. Karach, M.D., presented a paper before the All-Ukrainian Association. The meeting was attended by oncologists and bacteriologists belonging to the Academy of Science of the USSR. Dr. Karach explained an unusual simple healing process using cold-pressed oils

The results of this therapy invoked astonishment and doubt concerning the contents of his report. However, after further examining the workings of the oil therapy, one has but to then test it on oneself to prove its validity and effectiveness. It is most astonishing that such results can be achieved with this absolutely harmless biological healing method. This simple method makes it possible to effectively treat the most varied diseases, in some cases enabling one to avoid surgical intervention and the taking of medications that can have harmful side effects.The exciting factor of this healing method is its simplicity. It consists of swishing cold-pressed oil in the mouth( Sunflower or Seasme, Pl. note you don’t need to go for organic oils only, A normal refined sunflower oil bought from any supermarket proven to be effective in many people). The healing process is accomplished by the human organism on its own. In this way it is possible to heal cells, tissue and all organs simultaneously; the body itself gets rid of toxic waste without disturbing the healthy microflora. Dr. Karach says human beings are living only half their life span. They could potentially live healthy to be 140 to 150 years old.

That’s right. That’s all there is to oil pulling. All it is is taking sunflower oil, olive oil, or some similar oil and swishing it in your mouth for a defined amount of time, and all the wonderful health benefits described above can be yours. Heck, you might even be able to live to be 140 or 150! Naturally, when I heard of this wondrous technique, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know how it works. Good woo-meister that Dr. Karach is, he was only too happy to tell me. First, here’s how you do oil pulling:

The healing process: Get refined sunflower oil (or peanut oil or distal oil). In the morning before breakfast you take one tablespoon of the oil – but donot swallow it. Without great effort or speed, you wash and suck the oil inside the mouth, pull it through the teeth and all that with closed mouth for 15 to 20 minutes.

You really chew, move your chin and (like in the Mayr diet) a lot of saliva is drawn; that means mouth – digestion. Obviously, the poisons are drawn from the blood through the mucous membrane of the mouth. That is why, in no case, the oil should be swallowed because it has become poisonous. First, the oil is viscous, but more and more it becomes liquid thin and white like wool. Then you spit it out. (As long as the liquid is still yellow you did not work with the oil long enough).

After spitting the oil, the mouth has to be washed intensely with water several times and the teeth need to be cleansed with brush; also the sink, because the liquid contains big amounts of bacteria and harmful material.

And here’s how it allegedly “works”:

If we would look at a drop of this liquid through a microscope, we would see all kind of moving fibers – those are microbes in the first stage of their growth. Pulling Oil pulls out disease elements from the system (body) and restores health.

It is important to say that during Oil-pulling, our metabolism is increased much and that is why the body remains in a persistent healthy state.

Holy guacamole, Batman! Sucking oil through your teeth for 20 minutes can do all that? I see how it might briefly speed your metabolism (although I can’t see how it could do it by much) if you put a lot of effort into pulling the oil through your teeth. I could even see how you could get a lot of microbe in the oil. After all, the inside of your mouth is loaded with bacteria, and it’s likely that swishing oil about your mouth might dislodge some of them into the oil. But it’s a major stretch to conclude that doing so pulls “disease elements from the system (body).”

Of course, drawing “disease elements” out is just another way of invoking the favorite old woo trope of “cleansing” the body by “drawing out toxins.” Surprise, surprise, that’s what Dr. Karach claims oil pulling does:

Swishing activates the enzymes and the enzymes draw toxins out of the blood. The oil must not be swallowed, for it has become toxic. As the process continues, the oil gets thinner and white. If the oil is still yellow, it has not been pulled long enough.It is then spit from the mouth , the oral cavity must be thoroughly rinsed and mouth must be washed thoroughly. Just use normal tap water and good old fingers to clean.

Yep, just what I want to do, stick my fingers in my mouth after swishing oil in it long enough for it to mix with saliva and become thoroughly nasty. I’ll give this particular woo credit, though, for sheer simplicity. My only question is why it persists. It’s one of those things that would be hard to make much money off of. Of course, the same thing could be said of superhydration, but I suppose all it takes is a bunch of credulous people to keep something like this going. What’s really hilarious, however, is the claim that swishing oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes can remove much in the way of any toxins. The claim is that oil pulling “draws toxins out” through the large veins that run under the tongue, apparently like some sort of amazing hemofiltration or dialysis process through the mucosal lining of the mouth. Of course, the biggest problem with this concept is basic chemistry. Assuming that oil pulling could actually somehow “pull toxins” out of your bloodstream, what kind of toxins would it “pull”? Obviously it would have to be fat-soluble toxins. The problem is, fat soluble compounds tend not so circulate in the blood but to accumulate in the fat stores. So, even if oil pulling could bind toxins somehow, even drawing them through the skin, how, then, would it even get to them where they are in the fat stores? I suppose a woo-meister could counter that fat soluble toxins do slowly recirculate between the fat stores and the blood and that doing this procedure three times a day over time would leech out the toxins. However, given that given that there’s no physiological mechanism by which oil could “pull toxins” into the mouth through the oral mucosa, worrying about equilibration of these unnamed “toxins” between fat stores and the blood is a pointless exercise.

Of course, when it comes to woo, “pointless” seems to be my middle name.

But perhaps you would like more specifics about what oil pulling can do for you. Lots, it would appear:

B

y means of this treatment {Oil } it is invariably the result that diseases like migraine headaches, bronchitis, diseased teeth, arterio thrombosis, chronic blood disorders such as leukemia, arthritis and related illnesses, neuro physiological paralysis, eczema, gastro enteritis, peritonitis, heart disease, kidney disease, meningitis, and women’s hormonal disorders are completely eliminated from the organism. The benefit of Dr. Karach’s method is that the oil therapy heals the whole body in perpetuity. In terminal diseases such as cancer, Aids and chronic infections this treatment method has been shown to successfully replace all others. Dr. Karach has successfully healed a chronic leukemia patient with 15 years of harsh treatment methods behind him. Acute arthritis in 1 patient who was totally bedridden was removed from his body in 3 days with no inflammation apparent.

Wow! Maybe I should start a clinical trial to see if oil swishing can be used to treat cancer.

Naaaah.

Really, I should just solicit testimonials, just like Dr. Karach.

Of course, you have to be careful with oil pulling. Like a lot of altie woo, apparently it can result in a “healing crisis”:

In the beginning worsening for patients who are suffering from more than one disease, it is possible that there is a worsening of their situation. It is even possible that during the cure one infectious region of the body influences another one, which may be, would have become later even a killing disease.

Donot stop when your state gets worse: says Dr. Karach. There is no reason to interrupt the treatment even when the body temperature gets higher (it is healing temperature). Mainly when these signs are there, you should go on without interruption. If you interrupt you should know, that the healing only is there during the time of oil pulling. I point out says Dr.Karach, that a worsening of your health state is a sign that your disease is disappearing.

Or it could be a sign that persisting in a useless treatment instead of evidence-based medicine is resulting in the deterioration of your heatlh. But, hey, that’s just the playa hata in me talking.

One thing that’s rather delightful about this particular woo is that it’s mostly harmless. It probably doesn’t do anything to hurt the people using it. The only way it can hurt anyone is in the way something like homeopathy can hurt someone, namely if it is used instead of actual effective treatment, allowing an essentially untreated disease process to progress.

Lest you doubt that this is nothing but the purest woo, I’ll let you know one more thing:

Interestingly, Ayurveda advises oil gargling “to purify the taste-buds and the entire system”, as explained by Dr Deepak Chopra in Perfect Health. According to this life science, the tongue is mapped by organ-locations — that is, each section of the tongue is connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine.

Thus, an oil-mouth-massage soothes and stimulates the key meridians where taste meets organ. Simultaneously, as in any skin-massage, the inner skin and lining of the mouth, palate and tongue become warm and supple and the lubrication prevents dryness (the vatic effect).

Yes, if Deepak Chopra endorses oil pulling or something similar (oil gargling), that’s almost all I need to know to know that it’s nothing but the purest of pure woo.

Comments

  1. #1 Lepht
    July 20, 2007

    ah, Deepak. he’s like a quality seal for quackery.
    “If it ain’t got no ‘pak, throw it on back!”

    Lepht

  2. #2 fusilier
    July 20, 2007

    It also alleviates asthma, by pulling mucus from the trachea and bronchi. I have it on testimonial from somebody who uses it regularly.

    I mentioned this to the head of our Respiratory Therapy program and he just put his head down on his desk.

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  3. #3 NJ
    July 20, 2007

    Naive fools! EVERYONE knows that you can’t use refined oils; you must use filtered, but otherwise untreated raw petroleum. Crude oil. Light, sweet crude in the mornings, and heavy, asphaltene-rich crude before you go to bed.

    After all, don’t you remember from childhood…(wait for it)…Oily to bed and oily to rise.

  4. #4 Skeptyk
    July 20, 2007

    Another morning ritual I just heard about: a friend swishes with and drinks a bit of vinegar each morning. It is to keep the germs away, and also is part of some incoherent acid-base woo.

    I say we combine these. Oil, vinegar, supplemental garlic and cleansing cayenne. Swish it in your mouth, or pour it on some leafy greens and call it lunch.

    Just don’t fletcherize.

  5. #5 vlad
    July 20, 2007

    I can see how the oil might lift some deposits of fat soluble crud from the tongue. It might make food taste better after you get all of the oil taste out of your mouth.

  6. #6 Calli Arcale
    July 20, 2007

    I would think the vinegar would be more effective. I like the taste of olive oil, but it really coats in an unpleasant way if you do something like this. Makes me want to gargle with Mellow Yellow afterwards. :-P

    I seem to recall a commenter recently describing something as 100% virgin cold-pressed woo. That phrase seems remarkably apt for this one. :-D

  7. #7 Ezekiel Buchheit
    July 20, 2007

    “It is important to say that during Oil-pulling, our metabolism is increased much”

    I see a new weight loss book climbing the charts.

  8. #8 Alex, FCD
    July 20, 2007

    One thing that’s rather delightful about this particular woo is that it’s mostly harmless. It probably doesn’t do anything to hurt the people using it.

    What if they go for the peanut oil and they have a latent allergy? I’m not a doctor, but couldn’t that lead to complications? Like death?

  9. #9 tim gueguen
    July 20, 2007

    Its amazing how much nonsense has been attributed to the USSR over the years, be it nuclear airplanes, psychic weapons, or silly medical pseudoscience, and how much of it has been taken seriously in the West. Yet for all that the USSR is no more, and was pretty consistently years behind in such basic technologies as electronics and materials.

  10. #10 Alan Kellogg
    July 20, 2007

    I’m waiting for super-string woo myself.

  11. #11 Samantha Vimes
    July 23, 2007

    It also works via the scalp! Severus Snape discovered that method.

    ::snicker::

  12. #12 Caleb
    August 15, 2007

    There is some evidence that OP is positive for dental health (reducing plaque and gingivitis) and also Olive Oil as part of a mouthwash, but as for the other claims, put it on the Natural Cellular Defense, Noni Juice, Glyconutrients et al list of miracle cures. At least this one is not MLM. Surely someone with a microscope and 10 mins could debunk the pulling out toxins/bacteria/viruses theory?

  13. #13 oracle
    August 26, 2007

    The only thing I will add to this delightful put down of Oil Pulling (by people who have never used it) is that I do use it when I have respiratory problems, and I can attest to the fact that as a friend of Jame’s mentioned, the procedure can cause phlegm from the lungs to be expectorated. After a 30-minute vigorous pull, when I spit in the toilet, I also cough up a blob of phlegm, the size and color depending on my illness condition. It is a lot better to use Oil Pulling to clear phlegm than Robitussin, for sure. This may simply be a gag reflex from a mouthful of saliva plus oil, but who the heck cares, as long as I expectorate and get some relief.

    On another point, a research doctor claims that saliva contains all kinds of microbic life, and some of it disease causing, and there is a serious movement in some research labs to include saliva as a medium for diagnosis. If we can use the blood as a diagnostic medium, why not the saliva?

    The guys commenting here are smart and cute, but they are also a bit close minded. They are the kind of people who, when aspirin first came out, would have ridiculed that that piece of white powder as major woo, nothing that can help anyone.

    And guess what? There is still no purely scientific explanation of why aspirin works.

  14. #14 Oil Pull?
    October 17, 2007

    A forum site all about oil pulling has been set up by a bunch of people eager to hear people’s experiences of this practice. In the dental and oral areas the testimony is pretty remarkable for oil pulling even among those who are skeptical about other claims for the therapy. If people with persistent gingivitis start getting serious improvements that’s perhaps worth investigating.

  15. #15 Tunic
    October 27, 2007

    Thanks for setting me straight, oracle. There I was thinking that aspirin worked by inactivating cyclooxygenase enzymes, thus inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis. Boy do I feel dumb now.

  16. #16 ricochet
    March 25, 2008

    I’m impressed at the knowledge being thrown about. I’m also shaking my head at some of you who seem to be intellectuals, pre-med students or medical career professionals. There seems to be lots of irrogance, yes IRROGANCE. I would feel threatened too if some simple procedure would threaten my career as I know it. Good thing people like to imbibe. Going against popular belief among the college educated: Intelligence is not just limited to the booksmart.

    All this makes me ponder: is it better to learn by doing “experimenting” or by merely just taking information from a book. I prefer to learn about, experiment with, and improve on processes. Use your knowledge as a stepping stone to constantly improve, instead of limiting yourselves by staying in the safety of your information bubble. I’m not about blindly believing every thing I read. I will start oil pulling this morning 3-25-08, based investigating/researching the subject online. I’ll post my oil pulling results and observations in the future if I remember where to find this address again. The point is this: I really don’t care about impressing anyone. So if I find this site again, good. If I don’t, I’ll move on.

  17. #17 ricochet
    March 25, 2008

    I’m impressed at the knowledge being thrown about. I’m also shaking my head at some of you who seem to be intellectuals, pre-med students or medical career professionals. There seems to be lots of irrogance, yes IRROGANCE. I would feel threatened too if some simple procedure would threaten my career as I know it. Good thing people like to imbibe. Going against popular belief among the college educated: Intelligence is not just limited to the booksmart.

    All this makes me ponder: is it better to learn by doing “experimenting” or by merely just taking information from a book. I prefer to learn about, experiment with, and improve on processes. Use your knowledge as a stepping stone to constantly improve, instead of limiting yourselves by staying in the safety of your information bubble. I’m not about blindly believing every thing I read. I will start oil pulling this morning 3-25-08, based investigating/researching the subject online. I’ll post my oil pulling results and observations in the future if I remember where to find this address again. The point is this: I really don’t care about impressing anyone. So if I find this site again, good. If I don’t, I’ll move on.

  18. #18 Davie
    May 22, 2008

    Simple, inexpensive routine swishing with refined oils three times a day or “oil pulling” has improved my shoulder-neck pain, increased movement, reduced inflammation and reduced excess mucous drainage which medical doctors had all sorts of expensive “diagnostic tests, medications and exercizes for which never made me feel “alive and well”.
    My lung and heart areas have scar tissue from past exposure to several “things” some of which are bacterial some of which are viral and the rest are different types of “yeastie beasties” that love to live in the mucous that surrounds that enviornment whether it be from natural reasons or those termed unnatural like prescriptions and/or over the counter medications. I was basically told by the best medical institutions in the nation that I have something like tuberculosis but that they couldn’t find it at the stage it was in. It had however affected my t-cell and white cell count and my doctor said that they cannot help approx. 30% of the patients that come in. No Biggie. Oil pulling is better than the statistics in this nations medical world arena for preventative techniques. CHECK IT OUT with your own search engines!

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