Benefits of COMPRESSES and FOMENTATION
Cold compress is a local cold application by means of a cloth dipped in cold water.
Essentials: Thick cotton or linen cloth or large towel - 2 nos.
Water Temperature: Cold water 18-24 deg. C or ice water 0 deg. C wherever indicated.
Duration: 20 minutes, may be prolonged in some conditions.
Procedure: The cloth should be folded into four folds and dipped in cold water. Before application it should be wrung well and applied on the concerned part of the body. When the compress is applied continuously, it should be renewed frequently by using two compresses alternatively. The compress can be applied to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and spine or on any inflamed portion of the body. When applied on the head, it should be pressed firmly so that it is in contact with the scalp. The pillow should be covered with a rubber sheet and a towel. When applied to the abdomen patient's bedding should be covered suitably.
Uses: The cold compress is used to regulate the blood circulation and functions of the liver, spleen, stomach, kidneys, intestines, lungs, brain, uterus, bladder and other internal organs. It is used to control inflammatory conditions of these organs.
The cold compress is valuable in treating localized inflammatory conditions, whether superficial or deep.
It can be advantageously employed in cases of fever. Repeated application of the cold compress to the head lowers the temperature. The cold compress applied over the area of the heart reduces palpitation and also helps in lowering the temperature of the blood as it passes through the heart and lungs. Cold compress to the face and the upper spine stops nose bleeding. This also helps stop bleeding from piles and hemorrhage in the above mentioned organs.
The cold compress can also be applied by using an ice bag to stop bleeding in any internal organ and from external wounds. In severe vomiting, the ice bag may be applied over the stomach. The cold compress cools the skin in dermatitis and relieves inflammation or external portions of the eye. When the eyeball is affected, the cold compress should be applied after a short fomentation.
ABDOMINAL COLD TOWEL PACK
Procedure: Dip a towel in cold water and wring it to remove excess water. Fold the towel into 3 or 4 folds to make it 12-14" long and 10" wide. Place the towel on the abdomen, covering it with another dry towel or woolen cloth. After 10 minutes, reverse the towel so that the top portion touches the abdomen and leave it there for another ten minutes. If necessary repeat the process for a longer time by dipping the towel again in cold water.
Effects: It increases the blood circulation to the abdominal organs, activates metabolic functions, reduces inflammation and calms the nervous system. It produces a feeling of comfort and relieves pain and congestion indigestive, reproductive and urinary organs.
The heating compress is a cold compress covered up in such a manner that warming occurs soon. The effect is that of a mild application of moist heat. A heating compress consists of three or four folds of linen cloth dipped in cold water and wrung out and covered completely with dry cloth and flannel or blanket to prevent circulation of air and help accumulation of body heat. The duration of the application is minimum one hour, but sometimes can be extended to several hours. If applied at night and the patient falls asleep he/she should not be disturbed. After removing the compress, the area should be rubbed with a wet cloth and dried with a towel.
The heating compress is applied to the throat (throat compress), chest (chest compress/chest pack), abdomen (abdomen compress), joints (joints compress) and so on. In all the compresses mentioned below cold water is used.
Chest compress is also known as chest pack.
Essentials: Two cotton chest compresses and a blanket or a flannel compress. The size of the compress should be 2-2 ½ meters long and 1/2 meters wide depending upon the size of the chest of the patient.
Duration: 1 hour.
Procedure: One cotton compress is dipped in cold water and wring out. The cloth is placed on the back and the two ends are brought forward under the armpits on each side. The right half is crossed over the left shoulder and the left part over the end, across the right shoulder. Both are again crossed at the back and the ends are brought forward under the armpits and tucked in at the front. Cover this with a dry cloth and then with a flannel. The pack should be as comfortably tight as possible.
Uses: Since this application will have very soothing effect, most of the patients fall asleep within minutes. They should not be disturbed. It is helpful in relieving cold, bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy, - pneumonia, fever, cough, and whooping cough etc.
Essentials: Two cotton clothes of2-2 ½ , meters long and II, meter wide. Blanket or flannel 1 x 1/2 meter.
Duration: 1 hour
Procedure: Dip the cotton cloth in cold water and wring out to remove the excess water. Wrap the cloth around the abdomen from lower part of the groin. Over this, wrap the dry cloth and finally the flannel so that the pack fits snugly.
Uses: Abdominal compress is useful in cases of gastritis, hyperacidity, indigestion, poor blood circulation to the liver, jaundice, constipation and other complaints relating to the abdominal organs.
WET GRIDLE PACK
Essentials: Two pairs of underwear, one made of cotton and the other of thick cotton or preferably woollen.
Duration: I hour.
Procedure: The underwear should cover the whole pelvic girdle. The patient should wear the thin cotton underwear wrung in cold water and the thicker one over it.
Uses: It is useful in treating all pelvic and genito-urinary problems. Specifically the following diseases: Dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), Menorrhagia (Excessive menstruation), Leucorrhoea (White discharge) and recurring Appendicitis, Urinary Incontinence. Burning Micturation, Urinary tract Infection, Bleeding Piles, bleeding Fibroid of the uterus and in all acute pelvic inflammations and congestion.
Essentials: Two cotton clothes (one dipped in cold water, the other dry) and a flannel (each measuring 6 ft long, 5 inches wide).
Procedure: Wrap the cold cloth around the neck in several layers and on that the dry cloth like in any other pack and finally dry flannel.
Duration: I hour
Uses: Throat compress is useful in treating sore throat, hoarseness, Tonsillitis, Pharyngitis, Laryngitis, inflammation of the Eustachian tubes etc.
Knee pack is the heating compress applied to the knees, like the other packs.
Essentials: Materials as used in throat pack.
Duration: 1 Hour
Uses: The knee compress is helpful in treating inflamed knees and is useful in arthritis to relieve pain and stiffness.
HOT AND COLD COMPRESS
In this treatment, hot and cold applications are made to stimulate the skin surface collaterally related to an internal part. This unique treatment is applicable only to the areas mentioned below under appropriate conditions: head, chest, spine, abdomen and pelvis. It helps in treating all types of muscular pains and spasms.
The duration of treatment by hot and cold compress may extend from 15 minutes to 45 minutes or until the desired effect is obtained. The application relieves congestion in the internal organs. This is one of the most powerful hydriatic measures.
HOT AND COLD HEAD COMPRESS
Essentials: Ice bag, 2 compresses - I ice cold, I hot.
Water Temperature: Ice cold water - 0 deg. C, hot water - 42-45 deg. C
Duration: 15-45 minutes
Procedure: Place the ice bag filled with ice cold water to the back of the neck and ice compress to the back of the head. Apply very hot compress to the face and ears. The hot compress should not extend below the jaw line in order to avoid heating of the blood vessels of the neck. The cold compress at the back of the head causes reflex contraction of the vessels of the brain and cools the brain. The fomentation draws the blood from the brain to the facial muscles. The same method may be applied inversely as follows:
A rubber bag filled with hot water and covered with a moist cloth is applied over the upper back part of the neck while the cold compress is applied to the face and the top of the head. The effect of this compress is to relieve the congestion of the brain.
Uses: In most of the headaches, especially those due to irritability of the cranial nerves (especially eye and ear nerves), this application forms a valuable treatment. It induces sleep and thus helps in curing insomnia.
Contra-indication: In headaches caused by anemia.
HOT AND COLD LUNG COMPRESS
Essentials: Hot water bag, cold compress.
Water Temperature: Cold 18-24 deg. C, Hot 42-45 deg. C.
Duration: 15-45 minutes.
Procedure: The hot water bag is applied to the back and cold application is made over the lungs, extending from the lower half of the neck on the front up to the lowest rib. The fomentation diverts the blood from the arteries of the lungs dilating the blood vessels of the intercostals, while the cold compress contracts the arteries of the lungs. This effect can be improved by hot bath or hot pack given to the legs at the same time.
Uses: This application is useful in treating the earlier stages of Pneumonia and acute congestion in the lungs. In cases of Asthma, the procedure has to be reversed. Ice compress is to be applied on the back of the neck and head while the fomentation is to be applied over the whole front part of the chest, extending from collar bone to umbilicus. Later, the fomentation may be extended to the back.
HOT AND COLD KIDNEY COMPRESS
Essentials: Hot water bag, ice bag, and material for abdomen pack.
Water Temperature: Hot water 42-45 deg. C, Ice-cold water.
Duration: 45 minutes
Procedure: The flannel and dry cloth of the abdomen pack are spread out on the table or bed. The hot water bag is placed on this and the patient is made to I ie down in such a way that the hot water bag extends from the mid spine to the lower spine. The ice bag is placed on the abdomen, extending up to the lower portion of the chest bone (sternum). The abdomen pack is wrapped over this.
Uses: Fomentation diverts the blood from the branches of the renal artery, which is connected to the kidney, and leads off a portion of it from the renal vein into the muscular branches. The cold application causes contraction of the blood vessels of the kidney and thereby increases its activity. This pack is useful in cases of acute congestion of the kidney and inflammation of the urinary tract. It strengthens the kidney and hence, useful in Albuminuria (albumin outflow with urine), burning urination and stones in the kidney. This pack increases the output of urine.
HOT AND COLD GASTRO-HEPATIC COMPRESS
Essentials: Water temperature and duration as of Kidney Pack.
Procedure: This application is exactly the reverse of the kidney compress. Fomentation bag should be applied to the abdominal region covering the area from the 4th rib to the umbilicus, while the cold application is made to the middle and lower spine.
Uses: During this application the blood is drained from the stomach, liver, spleen and pancreas and congestion is relieved. Thus, this pack influences not only the stomach and liver, but also the spleen and the pancreas. It is helpful in cases of Gastritis, liver and spleen enlargement, ulcers in the stomach, hyperacidity and inflammation of the pancreas. This pack is extensively used to treat Diabetes Mellitus.
Precautions: It is found that B.P. tends to increase temporarily after this pack; hence it should be taken only under a doctor's guidance in case of hypertension. It is to be avoided in cases of mid and lower back pain.
HOT AND COLD PELVIC COMPRESS
In this, the cold compress is applied over the lower back and fomentation over the pelvic region. This is useful in treating acute inflammation of the uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, prostate, testicles and appendix.
HOT & COLD ALTERNATE COMPRESS ON ABDOMEN
Essentials: Two pieces of Khaddar or towel-type cloth folded into 6 or 8 layers.
Water Temperature: Tolerable warm water, cold tap water.
Procedure: Soak one piece of cloth in warm water and after wringing out the excess water, keep the cloth on the abdomen for three minutes. To maintain the cloth's warmth, place a hot water bag or another cloth soaked in warm water on it. After three minutes, remove it and keep a cloth soaked in cold water over the abdomen for only one minute. Repeat this alternate process for three times, but the last compress (cold) should be for three minutes.
On the advice of the Naturopath, the treatment can be varied by keeping warm compress for 5 minutes and cold for 2 minutes alternatively.
Uses: This treatment is given for relieving gastro-intestinal gases, Hyperacidity, constipation and to increase secretion of gastric juices, to relieve congestion in liver and gall bladder.
Contra-indications: This treatment can be given on any painful part of the body, except the heart.
Note: During summer when ordinary water is not cold, ice water or water stored in earthen pots overnight, preferably on the terrace of the house, can be used for cold compress.
Hot water bag or cotton cloth wrung in hot water
A cold compress
A dry cloth
Water Temperature: 42-45 deg. C.
Duration: 5-7 minutes.
Procedure: When the hot water bag is used, it is advisable to cover the area of application with a cotton cloth wrung in cold water. Fomentation is then applied over it. After the application is over, a cloth dipped in cold water should be placed on the area of application for I to 2 minutes. After removing the wet cloth, the area should be covered with a dry cloth for at least 30 to 40 minutes. If the symptoms recur, the application should be renewed.
Uses: For relieving acute pain in any part of the body, especially in the abdomen, it is an invaluable treatment. In arthritic pains. this may be repeated twice or thrice in a day for better results. In cases like Bronchitis, Asthma, Pneumonia, Pleurisy, fomentation to the upper back gives immediate relief. In congestive headaches fomentation should be applied over the back of the neck and shoulders and the face washed with very cold water. Fomentation is used to relieve both the pain and the congestion in cases of inflammation of liver, acute and chronic gastritis, splenic congestion and enlargement, inflammation of the ovaries and uterus and all types of muscular pains. It also helps to relieve pain caused due to gallstones, kidney stones, infections, jaundice etc. When the patient feels extremely cold he may be given fomentation over the whole back and to the feet and hands. Within 10 to 15 minutes he will get relief. In inflammatory conditions like Diphtheria, Tonsillitis and throat pain caused due to cold, fomentation given on the throat gives immense relief. It is also helpful in menstrual pains associated with scanty flow. It may be given on the perineum in case of prostatic inflammation. In urine retention, fomentation may be given over the lower abdomen for 10 minutes followed by cold friction for one minute. In Bell's palsy, fomentation to the facial muscles will improve the condition.
Precautions and Contra-indications
The temperature of water should be as high as bearable.
Fomentation should not be overdone as it causes damage to the skin tissues. While giving fomentation in neuralgia care should be taken not to burn the skin.
Fomentation should be avoided on the heart, head and on the seat of active inflammation (open wound).
It should not be given over the abdomen in advanced pregnancy and during menstruation period unless otherwise advised by the doctor.