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Fact Check: Can massaging navel with herbal oil rid you of blood pressure, sugar, heart and liver problems?

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim: Massaging the navel with herbal oil can help manage blood sugar, high blood pressure, nerve issues, and skin problems and improve heart health.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that applying any kind of oil to the navel can alleviate the said issues.

With lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease becoming extremely common, it is no surprise that quick fixes and easy ‘treatments’ are becoming increasingly sought out. Numerous advertisements on social media, marketing such quick and easy cures are becoming increasingly common, targeting the vulnerabilities of the users.

One such advertisement, guaranteeing easy resolution for blood pressure, diabetes, nerve disorders, heart problems, and skin conditions, is going viral on social media. The product, called ‘Nabhi Tailam’, can fix the said issues with just topical application around the naval area, the advertisement claims. 

The ad also features multiple individuals endorsing the effectiveness of the ‘Nabhi Tailam,’ expounding its benefits. The advertisers are also offering a “buy one, get one free” promotion to make the offer more attractive. 

massaging navel with herbal oil Image 1

But can mere application of an oil around one’s naval solve so many health problems as claimed by the advertisement? Newschecker decided to do a fact check.

Fact Check

The practice of navel massaging 

The practice of pouring warm oil and massaging the navel is actually an age-old ayurvedic practice called Pechoti method, and became a trend through TikTok.

“The centre of the belly button has physical and spiritual significance. Once a gateway to the life-sustaining cord, the belly button (umbilicus) is the focal point to 72,000 veins present in the navel. The simple act of massaging oil stimulates these nerves, which aids in warding off illnesses and maintaining the proper functioning of the bod,” an article in the Times of India notes

According to this theory, there is a gland called ‘Pechoti Gland’ located in the navel or behind the belly button which can be activated by pooling the oil and massaging. However, while there is medical research supporting the health benefits of essential oils, pouring them into the belly button offers no advantage, according to experts.

Australian Associated Press and numerous other media outlets have debunked various claims suggesting that massaging the purported “Pechoti Gland” can cure various diseases. Experts concur that there is no such organ recognized in medical science.

Massaging naval has no health benefits

Further research on the subject led us to a report published on Johns Hopkins Medicine indicating that there is insufficient research to conclusively determine the effectiveness of essential oils in human health. While some studies suggest potential benefits, others show no improvement in symptoms. 

Media outlets like The Tribune, Times of India also published articles on benefits of oiling on navel or belly button. In addition to enhancing skin, hair, and eye health, reports also suggest that massaging oil on the navel or belly button can potentially improve fertility. However, it’s important to note that none of these reports say anything about the practice reducing blood sugar levels or curing heart and nerve problems.

As per another report published on Medical News Today, it’s important to recognise that while many people try essential oils as a treatment for high blood pressure, or hypertension, there is little evidence to support their effectiveness in reducing blood pressure. Therefore, individuals should not use these oils as a replacement for prescribed medication. 

Based on another report on the same website, it suggests that essential oils may offer some potential benefits for people with diabetes as a complementary therapy to their regular treatment regimen. However, research has not yet confirmed that any essential oil effectively treats diabetes. People who use these oils should do so in addition to their regular treatment, the report said.

Experts shoot down viral claim 

Newschecker then reached out to Dr Rathin Chakravarty, Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee and Project Evaluation Committee of Collaborative Research of the Central Council for Research In Homoeopathy (CCRH), Government of India. Dr Rathin informed us that conventional medical science does not make such farfetched claims, and that neither allopathic nor homoeopathic treatments offered any ‘cures’ for these diseases yet.

Dr. Joyram Hazra, the former director of Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Ministry of AYUSH reiterated Dr Rathin’s views. “Ayurveda is also scientific but it does not support such claims. Maybe applying a certain Ayurvedic medicinal oil can solve some skin problems, but it has to be applied over a long time. However, there is no such practice in Ayurveda where one can cure so many diseases by merely applying an oil to one’s navel. Numerous fraudulent organisations are exploiting people’s trust and making money.”

Dr Premananda Basak, MBBS, MD (General Medicine) also refuted the claims made in the viral video.Calling the claim unscientific, Dr Basak said, “nothing can be more effective than medical science. Just massaging oil on the navel will never get rid of sugar, blood pressure, liver disease. For this you have to take doctor’s advice and proper medicine.” 

Manufacturer unable to substantiate claims 

We reached out to the  manufacturer of ‘Nabhi Tailam’ through the contact details provided in the advertisement. He reiterated that the product was genuine and that it was scientifically proven. However, when questioned about the specific herbs used in the oil’s formulation and the government agency that granted the clearance for the product, the call ended abruptly and the manufacturer has since remained unreachable. 

Conclusion

There is no scientific basis to the claim that application of any oil to the navel can alleviate one of blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart issues, nerve problems, or skin conditions.

Result: False

Source:
Article published in Times of India
Article published in Australian Associated Press
Article published inJohns Hopkins Medicine
Article published in  The Tribune
Article published inMedical News Today
Telephonic conversation With Dr Rathin Chakravarty, Dr Joyram Hazra and Dr Premananda Basak. 


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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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