As an essential oils user, I know you want to get the precious constituents of your oils right where they need to go. One of the best things to pair with your oils applied to the skin is a warm compress. Compresses were used extensively in the past for comfort and the application of herb and compounds for wellness. New studies have shown that moist heat is very therapeutic for relieving pain.
Benefits of a warm compress:
- Muscle relaxation
- Comforting and soothing emotionally
- Opens the pores of the skin for penetration of oils
- Increases blood supply to the area
- The heaviness of the compress is relaxing, soothing, and comforting in the same way a weighted blanket works.
- Menstrual cramps
- Postpartum cramping
- Gastric upset and cramping
- Non-inflammatory muscle or joint pain (cold therapy is a better choice for inflammation)
- Post surgical pain
- Upper respiratory chest congestion
- Emotional upset or pain
- Poor circulation
- Tense muscles
- Be sure that the temperature of your compress is not too hot. Test it first!
- Apply a protective layer of cloth (wet or dry) to shelter skin
- Use caution with “hot” oils such as Thieves or Cinnamon Bark
- Test the compress on your skin first before applying to a child or elderly person. Their skin is much more sensitive and needs much less heat.
Ways to apply:
- A rice or corn pillow applied heated in a microwave applied over the oil application site. For moist heat put a warm wet cloth under the pillow against the skin. Because oils and water repel each other, the oils with sink deeper into the skin.
- A heating pad on low
- Entering a warm bath with epsom salts 15 minutes after applying the oil
- The home-made compresses detailed below.
When I worked in Labor and Delivery as an RN, I frequently made these compresses for early labor or back labor. I also used them for the postpartum cramping associated with breastfeeding as the uterus contracted with the release of oxytocin in the bloodstream. I’ve since started using it at home anytime I need a little extra love with my oils.
- A protective under pad such that hospitals use to protect bed linens or a “Puppy Pad”.
- A hand towel or small bath towel soaked in water and wrung out enough that is doesn’t drip but is still heavy.
- Paper tape such as painter’s or masking tape
- A dry towel or small thin blanket such as a receiving blanket.
- Microwave oven
- Place pad on counter with waterproof side down
- Fold soaked towel to fit in center of pad with several inches of pad left all the way around
- fold the pad over the tower on all sides so that no water can leak. You are making a water proof capsule.
- Tape the pad shut so all water is sealed inside.
- Microwave in 30 second increments until warm but not hot. The plastic lining of the compress will increase the heat so be very careful not to get it too hot to prevent burns. never apply directly to skin. Always put a cloth between skin and compress.
- Apply the oil of your choice to the area and wait 5 minutes
- Apply the compress wrapped in a “buffer” cloth over the oiled area
- Reheat when needed
Oils I have used this technique with:
- PanAway for soothing muscle, joint, and neck pain
- Digize for soothing digestive upset (belly)
- Stress Away or Lavender for easing stress and tension (shoulders and neck)
- Peppermint for comforting a headache (head and neck)
- R.C. or Raven for soothing chest congestion (chest and throat)
- Breath Again for soothing sinus congestion and pain (small rice pillow over the forehead)
- Deep Relief for soothing sore back
- Clary Sage for easing menstrual cramps (lower abdomen and pelvis)
- Any of the Feeling oils for comforting sadness or grief. (Applied to belly or feet)
- Lavender and Cedarwood, or Valor for sleep (to belly or feet)
- Citrus Fresh and Ledum to belly and hip fat for assisting Petrochemical Detox
I hope this will be helpful for you as we move into the cold winter months, cold season, and the stressful season of holiday preparation. You can fold your compress into any shape that you need for the area you are treating. Making one that is long and thin is great for wrapping around the shoulders and neck. You can also fill a tube sock with rice or corn and tie it shut or sew up the open end. Works great in the microwave too. Making a rice or corn pillow is easy to sew with any scrap fabric you have on hand. The weight of the rice or corn is very soothing. Apply these over a warm damp cloth for extra benefit of the moisture.
Rice/Corn Pillow instructions:
- Cut two pieces of fabric the shape and size you want
- Place right sides together and sew around leaving gap in one side for turning right side out
- Turn you piece right side out
- Fill with 3/4 of bag with dry rice or deer corn (NOT POPCORN) and pin the gap shut
- hand sew the gap shut
If I can ever help you with obtaining the wonderful %100 therapeutic grade essential oils from Young Living, please comment with your contact info or visit my Facebook page and private message me. My website is http://www.youngliving.com/lorifrank1