The navel oiling trend, also known as navel pulling, has gained significant traction on TikTok, amassing over 11.5 million views, but it has also ignited a debate about its alleged health benefits. Proponents of this practice suggest that applying oil to the belly button and surrounding abdomen can address various health concerns, including weight loss and stress relief. However, experts in the field are quick to emphasize that these claims lack scientific evidence.
Navel oiling, based on Ayurvedic practices originating from India, involves massaging the belly button with various oils such as caster, peppermint, and ginger oil. It has garnered popularity on TikTok, with users suggesting it can treat conditions like hernias, cysts, fibroids, and endometriosis, while others claim it aids in weight loss and stress management. Influencers have joined the trend, discussing these supposed benefits and sometimes promoting related products.
However, medical professionals are skeptical of the exaggerated health benefits associated with navel oiling. Dr. Sarah Jenkins, a general practitioner and women’s health expert, deems the claims irresponsible and unsupported by scientific evidence. Many of the health issues mentioned are complex and require established medical interventions, not alternative methods.
One of the reasons behind the fervor for navel oiling is the belief that the belly button has over 70,000 veins connected to the entire body. Dr. Gabrielle McCauley dispels this myth, explaining that the belly button is essentially a scar left after the umbilical cord is cut. While it contains blood vessels, they are not equivalent to the claimed 70,000 veins. In essence, oiling the belly button is unlikely to influence other areas of the body as proponents suggest.
Regarding weight loss, Dr. Jenkins asserts that navel oiling cannot be relied upon. Weight loss is primarily determined by energy input and output, with the quality of calories consumed also playing a role. There is no scientific research supporting a connection between navel oiling and weight loss. Instead, numerous studies have confirmed the importance of maintaining a calorie deficit for effective weight loss. While stress might contribute to weight gain, navel pulling can only be a helpful stress reliever, provided individuals make necessary dietary adjustments as well.
Navel oiling might, however, have a potential role in reducing stress. Mindfully massaging oil into the skin could help alleviate stress for some individuals. Reducing stress levels is essential for overall health, given the impact of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline on various bodily functions. A holistic approach to wellness, which includes navel pulling, may have a positive impact on overall well-being.
In light of the controversy surrounding navel oiling, experts advise relying on established methods to improve health and well-being. Dr. Jenkins emphasizes that there is no “miracle therapy,” and claims that navel pulling can address a wide range of health concerns are unsubstantiated. Instead, she suggests maintaining a healthy diet of non-processed foods, regular exercise, reduced alcohol consumption, and improved stress management as more effective strategies.
In conclusion, while navel oiling may not be harmful, its overall impact on health and well-being is questionable. Social media users are urged to exercise caution when encountering health claims on platforms like TikTok. Influencers promoting such trends may have financial incentives, so seeking advice from a medical professional remains the most reliable approach for individual health concerns.