Hydrotherapy Self-Help Techniques

Cold Compressing

Soak a small hand towel in cold tap water. Wring out well and apply to the area requiring treatment for 30-40 minutes. During this time the towel will slowly warm up, leaving the treated area pleasantly heated up and the skin flushed (vasodilated). Repeat as directed, normally three or four times daily if the injury is recent, reducing as recovery takes place.

Warm Compressing

Apply a wrung out warm wet towel to a hot water bottle and apply to the injured area to be treated. Normally an area being treated in this way would last for 30-40 minutes, but this relates to the type of injury, the part being treated, as well as the age of the person amongst other factors. Take advice, and follow as directed.
Try to finish each treatment with a short session of cold compressing or spray as appropriate. Repeat leaving a period of 3-4 hrs between applications.

Alternate Hot and Cold Compressing

By using both the above methods, you can greatly decrease recovery time of injured tissues, including muscles, joints and tendons. The normal ratio in acute injuries, which are those of a recent nature, is twice the time with cold applications as for those with heat….

Cold Compress 10 minutes. Hot Compress 10 minutes. Cold Compress 10minutes.

  • How to make up an ice pack if you haven’t got access to a gel pack is quite simple. Obtain 4-5 handfulls of ice cubes and place in a plastic bag. A freezer bag works well for the purpose. Put the ice cubes in the bag with a cup or two of cold tap water. Add a heaped soup spoon of table salt (this helps to further reduce the pack’s temperature as saline is colder than fresh water…) Leave for a few minutes then apply being careful to never apply directly to the skin as ice can easily give a painful burn to the epidermal (surface) tissues as well as providing help with acute swelling and discomfort.
  • Always play safe and take advice if you’re unsure of what treatment is best, but remember with soft tissue injury the diagnosis is the single most important part of the treatment and management problem.
  • Notes………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Castor Oil Packs

A castor oil pack is an external application of castor oil placed onto the skin to enhance circulation. It promotes the healing of tissues and organs underneath the skin. It can be used to improve liver function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and to improve digestion.
The history of Castor Oil Packing goes back to Edgar Cayce who was a medical intuitive. He would go into deep hypnotic trances and prescribe medical treatments for people with all types of illnesses, some of them life-threatening. The Edgar Cayce readings recommend castor oil packs to improve assimilation, elimination and circulation–especially of the lymphatic system. Although this therapy seems unusual at first glance, it is one of the best documented of the Cayce therapies and can offer profound results. Castor oil packs are both soothing and healing as they magnify energy straight into vital organs in the nervous system, gut and digestive system, muscular and immune systems.
The function of the pack improves blood flow. The most popular of the packs is where it is applied to the liver and or lower abdomen. This would be performed twice or three times per week for one hour each application. This regimen should be followed for several months and then can be reduced to once or twice monthly. Packs should not be used in certain conditions–please ask your practitioner for advice on contra-indications. The castor oil and flannel can be purchased at health food stores, chemists, Internet or supermarkets.
How to make a Castor Oil pack
Take the cloth or flannel you intend to use as the pack. Put it in a warming pan (like a large disposable baking pan) and pour castor oil over it. Saturate the whole flannel, and leave it until it is well saturated. When you use it, you want it saturated, but not dripping. The size you want for use is about 12 x 18 inches (or the same as your hot water bottle or heating pad). To warm it up place in a warm oven or heated oven plate until at body temperature. Ensure you don’t burn yourself as castor oil can scald. After each use, you will probably need to add a little more castor oil. You can re-use the pack several times before eventually the oil will oxidise and become rancid. After each use, you should store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Where to Place the Castor Oil Pack
This will depend on what the problem is. Please ask your practitioner for guidance.

When and How to use a Castor Oil Pack
Use the pack in the evening, as you are resting before bed. Spread some cling film or plastic sheeting around the pack to ensure the castor oil doesn’t seep into clothing or fabric, as it’s hard to remove. Fold a thick towel that you will use only for castor oil packs, and cover. Then put a heating pad or hot water bottle on top of the towel.
Then just relax, pick up on your favourite read, fix a drink, watch TV or a film, listen to the radio or meditate. For all of an hour.

After the pack has been used always have a large glass of water. Try some cranberry juice, cider vinegar or lemon juice with your drink.