Evidenced-Based Nursing & Oil Pulling: 2 Ways to Grow Nursing Leadership


Oil Pulling. It’s the hot topic these days. I’ve heard about this ‘new’ (old) health remedy a lot in the past few weeks. I read two blog posts on oil pulling, had a discussion with two colleagues, heard about it in Yoga the other night and talked with my friend about the technique.

Then last night, bam! There it was again. On a fellow nurse blogger’s site, Gail Ingram of Nurse Gail was writing about oil pulling. You can read her full article, Oil Pulling Facts: Good Health or Good Hype? here.

And no, I have not tried oil pulling yet. I’m too afraid that I will be unable to hold the oil in my mouth for an extended period of time due to a very weak gag reflex (OK, probably TMI. LOL).

Back to the point of my post.

Reading Gail’s article last night inspired me further into the conviction that nursing rocks. In so many more ways than one. As I shared above, I have heard, read and seen lots of information over the past few weeks on this technique. And then to find Gail’s post, from a Registered Nurse, now I was onto the truth.

Her writing, the way she shared the evidence and statistics behind the technique, is so much more valid than getting information from a passing friend or story-telling blog (oops, like this one?). The nursing profession, with our vigorous education and training, clinical experience, evidence-based practice and specialty certifications, is at a huge advantage.

We are clinical experts with a voice of professional authority. We are leaders in our roles, communities and within relationship. People trust and look up to a nurse. Think about how many times you’ve been outside of work and something emergent has happened- who do they usually call on? You! A nurse.

Gail’s blog post reminded me also of our position as nurse leaders. With access to the evidence, we can utilize this research to make valid statements of even greater strength. And yes, while on my own blog I often talk about concepts that come from within (nursing from within) I also believe in a certain balance of intuition/mindset with the practical logic of scientific reasoning.

For me, I believe this is how I’ve had such great success with getting Reiki introduced at the hospital. I am in a ebpClinical Nurse Research role AND I practice Reiki in a way that nurses and hospital staff can relate to. I share the evidence, science and research (good and bad) behind the practice.

As a nurse leader, think about where you are receiving your information from. Then taking it a step further, as a nurse expert, focus on how you present your findings to your audience. Sometimes a large amount of data is needed, if your speaking to a highly analytical group. And then when you are in conversation with the public, sprinkle a bit of the data in with a lot of laymen terminology.

There are a lot of holistic, complimentary and health modalities floating around out there. Be sure to do your research, present yourself as an expert and utilize your nursing background to your advantage.

Again, I thank Nurse Gail for bringing her post to my awareness. It’s helped me make more of a conscious decision on what I will do with respect to trying oil pulling for myself. Which brings me to one final thought: what works for you may not work for me and what works for me may or may not work for the next person. We are unique beings with individual needs. We have to find the health routines, techniques and practices that serve ourselves best.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave a comment or question below. And as always, enjoy your health today.


  1. says

    Thank you Elizabeth–very cool post! I am all for holistic health but it continues to get a bad wrap because people sound so silly when they present it. Western medicine is looking for new ways to treat patients but if holistic practitioners can’t speak their language (meaning they can’t present the research or express the need for it) then the idea remains in the fringe. Medical professionals who hold licenses (RN, NP, PA, MD) cannot officially recommend a practice until it is represented in the literature and a lot of holistic practitioners don’t know how access it or to conduct a study. That is why the public is listening to fashion school graphic designers who blog about health and wellness (yikes!). Nurses can really bridge the gap and clarify the gray areas. Thank you for bringing the issue to the forefront.

    • Elizabeth Scala says

      You are welcome, Gail. Thank you for starting me off with the inspiration found on your blog. You are so right when it comes to holistic health. The last thing we want is for the public to get turned off to complementary modalities because of some unprofessional mumbo-jumbo. I so appreciated you sharing the evidence behind this modality, something I did not know about. So it can help us all make a more informed decision. Enjoy the day!

  2. Andrea says

    Hi Elizabeth!
    I was also doing oil pulling with sesame oil and I did feel it had added benefits including my teeth appeared whiter! Unfortunately I’ve had to stop because my fillings were being “pulled ” as well! I can only attribute it to the oil pulling so I’ve been afraid to continue. Maybe you’ve heard of this happening or someone else has? I’d love to hear someone else’s feedback! Thanks!

    • Elizabeth Scala says

      Hi Andrea,
      Thank you for taking the time to come by, read and comment. Your experience is exactly what I was speaking of on the blog: each person’s success/failure with a health modality is unique, depending on the individual person. So glad you listened to your body and stopped if it was causing more harm than good. While I appreciate you asking, I also shared on the blog that I don’t know much about the technique, which is why I highly recommended Nurse Gail’s blog. Check out her post at: http://nursegail.com/oil-pulling-facts-good-health-or-good-hype/. Very interesting that your fillings were also being pulled, now makes me even more wary of trying it. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy the day,

  3. says

    I love how his post that ties into Nurse Gail’s oil pulling post. I think Elizabeth Scala and Nurse Gail make very valid points.

    Like Gail mentioned people should not be taking health advice from unqualified people such as fashion bloggers that do not have true health training or experience. Frankly, since it directly relates to people health, I would call it irresponsible.

    Many times I feel like these bloggers are simply out of content ideas or want to write about the latest trendy health fad for attention or for keyword ranking.

    I am so thankful for true health professionals with training and clinical experience that are willing to point out the research and dispel the myths!

    • Elizabeth Scala says

      Hi Erica,

      Thank you for coming on by and sharing your comments to the post. Yes, as nurses it is our responsibility to present valid facts founded by the data. Just because someone ‘recommends’ something to us, does not mean we are to jump right in and do it. So many times that creates more chaos than good. And other times, it does work out. Yet the step before the ‘jump in’ is to research the modality and figure out for our own unique self is it right for me.

      It also gives us even more of a space as nurses to be true leaders in our professional roles.

      Enjoy the day,

  4. says

    Oh boy – Elizabeth I left the following comment on Gail’s blog when I meant to leave it here. Oh well, nothing is sacred on the internet – she hasn’t posted it and I don’t she will.
    I will always get approval from someone’s doctor if they meet the ACSM criteria for it before exercise and dieting and I’d never tell someone to stop doing something without asking that same doctor. I just got hit at a bad time when I read about “the flawed studies” about something that the wisdom of a practice has used for years. Worse harm from pharmaceuticals don’t you think? I think they make drugs so they can be sued and the real losers are always the public. Well my rant below is all the more reason, I don’t comment and do social media like other nurses do. I’d rather communicate to a list who get me and I get them, the exchange of information is safer and much more fun. Here’s my exact comment I left on her blog:

    I almost commented when you sent this out about a month ago. But I resisted. But when I saw a NY news piece on it, I said “what’s up already?” I’ve been doing oil pulling on and off for years. I also have had compliments on my pearly whites.
    I never tell people certain things, like my age or oil-pulling and some other things that “work for me”. Beauty queens and celebrities use vaseline (petroleum jelly) on their teeth to smile easier (dry mouth when nervous) and it also creates a “shine”. An old beauty trick, maybe someone will write about that or Tweet it and hence a study will be done and then a spot on 6 0′clock news, etc. “Cheese and rice!” my father would say, stop the madness.
    When I see billboards with a woman kickboxer promoting a class that says, “burn 1,000 calories in an hour!” I don’t immediately dismiss it… because for someone who’s already in shape, this is possible… but I know, for the “slug” who tries it, even if they finish the workout with out dying, they probably won’t even burn half of that. Do I need a study for every claim made by someone?
    It’s called social “media” for a reason. It’s get people’s attention, drives up ratings, drives advertising up… they really don’t care about you, (that’s why people listen to a popular fashion gal and not a study-quoting health care person, by the way); just because it (oil pulling) will die out in the media soon, doesn’t make it a “fad” for people like me.
    And I’ve learned a long time ago that studies aren’t always the answer either. “Evidenced-Based” can be “biased-based” too. Don’t get me started on many gov’t studies back in the day (70′s – 80′s), that claimed things were safe or safer than another food product, now today they are wrong. “Evidenced-based” is so over used, when I see it, I almost immediately say something – I won’t write here.
    Nurse Gail has done a nice job writing up something for those who probably would never do it any way (not for the length of time required to notice anything)… But for someone like me, who eats a 50% fat diet (not Atkins), nutritionally politically incorrect by nature and for years, not a fad; and feels the best nutrition advice I got was from my grandmother’s wisdom, (who knew years ago, that no-fat would be our demise), no study would change my mind from what I choose to do and teach from the wisdom I’ve learned over the years.
    I don’t expect anyone to do exactly what I do… based on anecdotal results; but if you ask me “how?” when you comment on my abs or pearly whites… my response will always come with a warning and I won’t quote a study. (Well maybe one, that of course, supports by beliefs, which is what everybody else does too) Thanks for sharing Nurse Gail with us.
    (Your comment is awaiting moderation.)”

    I guess writing blog responses and drinking wine don’t mix, but if I wasn’t that relaxed I might have started talking about statin drugs and cardio junkies and the studies on those… boring. Thanks again Elizabeth for your informative blog posts/tweets/posts that trigger responses – that’s what social media is all about!

    • Elizabeth Scala says

      Hi Lori,

      Thank you for writing and sharing your perspective. Your comments are exactly what I urged as a result of my own post on the subject (I just use the subject line to draw in nursing attention, like that?). My whole take on the post was this: not one thing will work for everyone. What works for you may not work for me and what works for me may or may not work for someone else. We all have to find out ‘own normal’. And that is why ‘health’ and wellness is such a hard thing these days. People want quick fixes and to learn about how ‘you did it’ so they can try to do it that way.

      The other reason behind this article was to urge nurses to stand in their power. To speak up as experts. In whatever capacity that is. If sharing evidence based practice works for some, great. For me, it’s short telling and sharing of examples. That’s how I get my message across. So again, we are all unique. And Lori, I love your unique you!

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Enjoy the night,


  5. Danielle says

    Hi Gail,

    I have to admit this is the first time I have read anything you have posted and I find it quite refreshing to find a post by a nurse that is holistic and information based (I seem to have landed into many sites that are student nurse rants). I just recently started pulling and I have to say that the gag thing was an issue at the beginning but I seem to have gotten over it. Will I have whiter teeth, probably not, mine would have been mistaken for corn by the tooth fairy, LOL. I appreciate a holistic take on nursing, have just started yoga, have been fascinated by Reiki for years, lived in the Middle East where herbal medicine is very common and I have tried to stay that course. My sister is currently back in school getting her BSN so she can work with a naturopath. I have just accepted position with VNA as a hospice case manager and am hoping to get educated in a more holistic approach to helping those I will care for. Thank you for having your forum, I apologize in advance, I will probably be here often with my rambl

    • Elizabeth Scala says

      Hello Danielle,
      Thank you for coming by, reading the blog and sharing your insights. I will certainly share the information you posted here with Nurse Gail.

      I am so glad to hear that you are following your passions and joys with Yoga, Reiki and other holistic modalities. I appreciate the feedback on my blog and hope that you do visit again. Enjoy the day,


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