My Morning Health & Wellness Routine (Toe Separators, Tongue Scraping, Oil Pulling, Essential Oils)

Anyone that knows me well will tell you that I'm a structured person. I like timelines, lists, schedules, etc, and that is why the first 30 minutes after I wake up I have a very particular routine. Have a read below to learn more about how I start my day.

The minute I wake up I put on my Yoga Body Awesome Toes, which are silicone toe separators that I've been using for almost two years now. They reorganize the connective tissue (fascia) in your feet. This then has a ripple effect through your entire body, affecting your posture and standing balance. Awesome Toes can also help to correct conditions like bunions (this is why I started using them, as bunions run in my family), plantar fasciitis, and overlapping toes. Keep in mind, in the body everything is interconnected and our feet are our foundation. Knee pain, back pain, balance, standing posture, running gait - all these things the base is the feet. They are all affected by the flexibility and dexterity of your feet. Most of us are hobbling around in restrictive footwear all day long, not just for eight hours a day but for decades, and we literally end up with deformed feet that can affect our joints, so it's really important to take care of your feet.

"Modern shoes wreak havoc on the feet. From high heels to running shoes to casual loafers, nearly all modern footwear is designed for style, not function. 98 percent of shoes on the market squish your feet into unnatural shapes which, in turn, leads to foot deformations, bunions, corns, and other complications. These modern foot ailments are not just a cosmetic problem. They can be much more serious. When your toes are squished, overlapping, or have poor dexterity, it impacts the way you walk, run, and stand. Deformed feet are a common cause or contributing cause of knee, hip, and back problems because it’s common to develop abnormal movement patterns in order to compensate for your imbalances.

The above image shows a very common pattern of foot deformation. To see this in real life, simply compare the feet of young children (under 5) with the feet of their parents," Yoga Body website. I honestly recommend these toe separators to anyone as they stretch out your toes which you would never really do otherwise, and they pretty much got rid of my bunions! You can order yours from this website, they ship worldwide.

After I slip those on, I enter the bathroom to begin tongue scraping which I've also been doing daily for over a year now. As seen on the Body+Soul website, "according to Ayurveda, there is a sticky substance called ama (toxins) that builds up overnight and hangs out on your tongue creating a slimy coating. This coating is said to be undigested toxins lurking around in the digestive tract from last night's dinner." Tongue scraping first thing I do in the morning before I drink any water. Start at the back of the tongue and scrape forwards 7-14 times or until the tongue is clean. You’ll be surprised what comes off your tongue and just how different it is each day based on what you ate the day before. I use dr Tung's Stainless Steel Tongue Cleaner (as pictured here) which is easily found at a drug store or pharmacy here in Bangkok. When I started it doing this I used to find it difficult as the motion would make me want to gag, but after a few days I was able to tongue scrape successfully.

Continuing my dental hygiene, the next thing I do is oil pulling. An article on Healthline says that "the main benefit of doing this is that it reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. There are hundreds of different types of bacteria in your mouth. While many of them are friendly, others are not. The bacteria in your mouth create a biofilm on your teeth, a thin layer known as plaque. Having some plaque on your teeth is perfectly normal, but if it gets out of hand, it can cause various problems, including bad breath, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities. The way oil pulling works is simple — when you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria get swept away and dissolve in the liquid oil. It is important to note that there are many misconceptions about oil pulling. One common claim is that oil pulling can whiten your teeth. However, currently no studies confirm this benefit. Some people also believe that oil pulling is a type of detox that draws toxins from the blood. No evidence supports this idea." It is recommended to perform the oil pulling first thing in the morning before eating or drinking. Oil pulling is done by swishing a tablespoon of a vegetable oil (I use coconut oil because of its known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity which are both important for promoting oral health) around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes, using it like a mouth wash. After swishing for at least 10 to 15 minutes, spit the oil out into a trash can (I don't recommend spitting it into your sink as pipes may result in clogs as the oil rehardens), then rinse your mouth with water for a few minutes. When I first started oil pulling I couldn't even keep the oil in my mouth for a minute without gagging, but I kept at it and can now easily do so for 20 minutes.

By this point in the morning I'm thirsty, so it's time for my warm water with a drop of Young Living Tangerine and a Young Living Grapefruit essential oils. I have only been doing this for a month but I enjoy the taste of it, and there is evidence that these essential oils stimulate circulation and support a healthy metabolism. Like other citrus essential oils, Tangerine oil can help support a healthy immune system when taken internally. Because it contains powerful antioxidants, it can be useful when you want a little extra support for your immune system. To utilize the immune-supporting benefits of Tangerine oil, it is recommended to adding one or two drops to your water which is exactly what I do. You must ensure that the oils are a therapeutic grade and seed to seal before ingesting. There are a lot of essential oils out there that are for aromatherapy that you can't drop in water so be sure to read up on the uses prior. I've been diffusing essential oils for about 8 months now and I'm excited about incorporating more essential oils into my wellness routine so stay tuned for a post dedicated to my essential oil journey!

Now that I've completed these three steps in my routine it's either time to do yoga (more on the type of yoga I like to do here) or if I'm running late time for a shower to get the rest of my day going. I also have particular products I use for hygiene and skincare and will write about that soon.

Thank you for reading, take care, and continue to stay safe!

Written by Devi Bajaj

Executive Director of Enliven Services

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