Home » Health and Well Being » Natural Remedies » Water and Good Health (Part 6 of 6) (Compresses and Fomentations)
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Water and Good Health
(Part 6 of 6)
COMPRESSES AND FOMENTATIONS
TECHNIQUES OF APPLYING COMPRESSES
Whenever water in any form is used for treatment, there must be close observation of the patient to be sure the reaction that is produced is beneficial. The wrong type of reaction may be caused by not following the proper technique during the treatment. The blame may then be placed on the therapy itself, instead of on the incorrect way in which it was given. Therefore, always listen carefully to what the patient is saying during the treatment and watch the skin reaction.
A compress is composed of several layers of cloth. When a cool compress is required, wet the cloth in the exact water temperature desired, wringing out just enough water so that it will not drip, and place it upon the affected body part. Change the compress every five minutes.
A cold compress is prepared by placing crushed ice between the layers of cloth. This, of course, does not need to be renewed so frequently.
In applying compresses to delicate parts of the body, great care should be taken not to injure the part. A very thin compress should be used in such cases.
The effects of a compress are very similar to those of a poultice.
The wet girdle, leg pack, wet sheet pack, chest pack and wrapper, and half-pack are simple large compresses.
A heating compress actually feels cold when it is first applied, but after only a short time it starts to heat up as the body reacts against the cold. Such a compress, when applied to the throat, is very good for the treatment of sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngitis, whooping cough, croup, and colds.
1. Use a strip of thin cotton cloth long enough to wrap around the neck four times, or you may use two thicknesses and wrap them around the neck twice. They should be wide enough to cover the entire neck and also should be pulled up well under the ears; usually three or four inches wide is enough.
2. You will also need a strip of flannel or wool cloth to use as a covering and long enough to wrap around the neck twice. It should be about an inch or two wider than the cotton.
3. Cut a piece of plastic, from a disposable trash bag, long enough to go around the neck once and about one-half inch wider than the cotton.
The following steps should be performed to give a heating compress to the throat:
1. Dip the cotton cloth in cold water and wring it out until it no longer drips.
2. Wrap it around the neck, making it fit as close to the skin as possible. It is very important that there are no air pockets or wrinkles. Cover it completely with the piece of plastic.
3. Cover this with the flannel or woolen strip. Be sure that all of the moist cotton cloth is covered. Tighten the cover snugly but not so much that it is uncomfortable for the patient. Pin it securely in place.
4. Leave the compress in place overnight. It should be dry when removed in the morning.
The compress will draw blood to the skin surface that will warm and dry the cotton; and as a result, congestion of the structures deeper in the neck will be relieved.
5. After the compress is removed, rub the neck with a cool cloth and dry thoroughly to prevent chilling.
6. If the patient's circulation is poor, and the cold cotton cloth will not warm up, wring the cloth out of hot water instead and use it in the same way.
The same type of compress may be applied to the abdomen. It is useful in constipation, indigestion, and helps to promote sleep. You will need the same items as for the throat compress, but the cotton strip should be two thicknesses, 8 to 10 inches wide, and long enough to wrap around the abdomen one and a half times, overlapping in the front. The flannel or woolen binder will need to be about 12 inches wide and the same length as the cotton or slightly longer. A strip of plastic 12 inches wide and long enough to wrap around the body once can be sued between the cotton and flannel to make the effect of the compress last longer. As noted earlier, a piece of plastic of the proper size cut from a disposable trash bag may be used.
How to give a heating compress to the abdomen:
(1) Spread the strip of flannel on the bed so that when the patient lies down on it, it can be folded over the abdomen. (2) If plastic is to be used, it should be spread on the flannel. (3) Wring the cotton out of cold water (or hot, as noted under throat compress) and place it on the flannel (or plastic). Be sure all the wrinkles are smoothed out. (4) Have the patient lie on the compress on his back and fold the layers over the abdomen, the cotton layer first, so that it overlaps on the front of the abdomen. Smooth each layer and remove all air pockets. (5) Cover completely and snugly with the plastic and/or flannel and pin securely in place. Air must not get to the moist cotton or the heating effect will be spoiled. (6) Remove the compress in the morning, rub the skin with a cold cloth, and then dry thoroughly. (7) If the cotton does not heat up as it should, try putting a hot water bottle on the compress for a short time.
Check to make sure that the flannel is snug and that it is completely covering the cotton. If neither of these suggestions seems to help, it may be necessary to apply the cotton compress only over the abdomen and not wrap it completely around the body. If the patient feels chilly during the wet compress treatment, it is usually because air is getting to the moist cotton.
Fomentations are local applications of moist heat and are used to relieve pain and muscle spasm and also to increase the circulation. They may be used with benefit in such conditions as arthritis, colds, influenza, bursitis, sprains, strains, muscle, joint and nerve pain, gout, and infection, to name only a few.
The fomentation cloths can be made on half cotton and half wool or synthetic fabric, or a thick flannel may also be used. Each piece should be about three feet square and folded three times so that the final fomentation pad is three layers thick and about one by three feet in size.
Have all of the following materials ready before starting the treatment:
(1) Three fomentation pads, folded and ready to use. (2) Three covers to wrap around the fomentations, made of the same material and about the same size. (3) A pan of ice water and two wash cloths. (4) At least four large Turkish towels. (5) A sheet or blanket to cover the patient. (6) A large pan or other container of boiling water. (7) A large piece of plastic or a rubber sheet to protect the bed.
How to give fomentation treatments:
1. Place a fomentation pad lengthwise on the bed so that when the patient lies down the pad will be along the spine. Cover it with several layers of towel so it will not burn. The patient should be warm and comfortable, lying on the spinal fomentation and covered with a sheet or blanket. The feet should be in a pan of hot water at 105* to 110* F. Be sure to keep this water in the footbath hot during the treatment.
2. Cover the area to be treated with two of the towels for the first fomentation and with one towel thereafter.
3. Twist one of the folded fomentations slightly and dip it into the boiling water until it is thoroughly soaked, leaving four or five inches of each end out of the water. Wring out the fomentation as dry as possible by grasping each end and twisting in opposite directions. Pulling on the fomentation by each end and stretching it as much as possible will help get more of the water out. The wetter the fomentation the hotter it will feel to the patient.
4. Untwist it, wrap it quickly in a fomentation cover, and place it on the towels that you have already positioned on the patient. Cover the fomentation with a towel.
5. Be certain not to burn any protruding bones or sensitive areas. Additional protection may be needed over such areas.
6. If the fomentation starts to burn the patient, raise it briefly and rub the skin with your hand to remove the moisture. As soon as the fomentation starts to cool, usually in three to five minutes, remove it, dry the skin well with a dry towel, and replace the fomentation with a fresh one. Have the new fomentation all ready to use as soon as the cooler one is removed. Never leave the treated part exposed to the air.
7. Place a cold washcloth on the head when perspiration begins and renew it every three to four minutes. These cloths should be wrung out of ice water.
8. For a stronger reaction, the skin can be rubbed with a cold cloth or a piece of ice between the fomentations. Ice should not be used if the patient is having severe pain. Be sure the skin is dry before the next fomentation is applied.
9. Be sure the towel on the patient remains dry. If it gets moist, replace it with a dry one.
10. Usually a total of three fomentations is enough, drying the skin rapidly and thoroughly between each one. After the last fomentation is removed, wipe the skin with a cold cloth and dry thoroughly.
11. Following the treatment, lift the feet from the hot tub, pour cold water over them and dry thoroughly. The patient should be cooled with a neutral bath or shower or with an alcohol rub; then dried carefully and completely; covered with a sheet or blanket and allowed to rest for 30 to 60 minutes.
12. Fomentations may be repeated two or three times a day if necessary.
13. Thermophore pads are available that also provide a moist heat treatment. Their time of application should be limited to 30 minutes.
Fomentations relieve internal congestion by drawing the blood to the skin surface. Very hot applications should be used to relieve pain; hot, short applications (three to five minutes) alternating with cold should be used if a tonic or stimulating effect is desired; five to ten minute treatments with milder heat should be used to produce relaxation.
In addition to those conditions listed earlier in this section, fomentations may also be employed in acute inflammations, local pains, chest congestion, neuralgia, toothache, pleurisy, muscle spasm, to help produce sleep, to increase circulation, and to help eliminate toxins by causing sweating.
The following precautions should be observed when giving fomentations.
Do not use fomentations on unconscious patients, or on the legs and feet of diabetics, or on any part of the body with a lack of feeling or poor blood supply. Use with caution in weak or elderly patients, in children, and in patients who are drowsy or semiconscious. Do not give fomentations to the abdomen on anyone suspected of having acute appendicitis. Fomentations draw blood to the area being treated, so they should not be used if bleeding is present or suspected. Place an ice pack over the heart for patients with a weak heart. Keep the patient well-covered at all times and protected from drafts. Co not leave the patient unattended. Have the patient drink some water at about body temperature during the treatment.
HOW TO GIVE A BLANKET PACK
If Possible, have two part-wool double blankets and one part-wool single blanket. You will also need a large tub or kettle of boiling water and also a small basin of very cold water (ice water is preferable), to be used in making compresses for the patient's head.
Give a hot footbath while the blanket pack is being prepared. If the patient is able to sit up, have him sit by the bed to have the footbath. If he cannot sit up, have him lie on his back to one side of the bed with his feet in hot water. It is well to give a hot herb tea at this time, such as yarrow, boneset, sage, or catnip, to aid in producing perspiration. Keep the patient covered with a sheet.
Place first a double blanket and then the single blanket on the bed: these are to be wrapped over the wet pack. Take the other double blanket and fold the two longer edges over until they almost meet in the center, then fold one side over the other. This will form a long strip four layers thick, the full length of the blanket. Place the folded blanket in the boiling water and thoroughly saturate it. Do this carefully, so as not to disturb the folds. Leave about ten inches of each end of the blanket out of the water, so that two people can take hold of the ends and twist and pull the blanket in opposite directions, until all the water possible is wrung out. After the blanket has been wrung out, open it and quickly place it on the bed on the single blanket. Remove the footbath. Place the patient on the hot blanket as quickly as possible, as it cools rapidly when opened. Wrap the patient first in the hot wet blanket, then the dry single blanket, and then the dry double blanket. Be sure the feet are well wrapped and warm, and the dry blanket securely wrapped over the wet one. Wrap the blanket so the arms are next to the blanket and not the body.
An alcohol rub is usually given as a cooling procedure, either after a heating treatment of some kind has been given or to reduce the body temperature in patients with a fever. Sometimes it is used as a tonic.
Rubbing alcohol should be used if it is available, but pure grain alcohol (95 percent) may be used of it is diluted with water, two parts of alcohol to one part of water.
The patient should be kept covered with a sheet, exposing only the part to be rubbed.
Do not pour the alcohol directly onto the patient. Put some in your cupped hand, rub your two hands together and then apply it to the patient's arm, starting with the hand and applying the alcohol up to the shoulder in one stroke. Bring the hands back down the arm, rotating them as you do so that the entire arm is moistened. Stroke rapidly and lightly, using both your hands and be sure that all the alcohol has evaporated and the skin is dry before proceeding to the next part.
After the first arm is finished, cover it with the sheet and proceed to the opposite arm, treating it in the same way: Then rub the chest, legs, abdomen, and back, always using short brisk strokes to hasten the evaporation.
Leave the patient completely dry and comfortable.
Do not apply alcohol on open sores or on irritated skin and do not use on infants or very young children.
The ice pack is very useful in treating acute sprains, acute bursitis, acute joint inflammation, and bruises. It should be applied as soon after the injury as possible. It contracts the blood vessels, keeps the swelling to a minimum, and relieves pain. The moist cold of an ice pack or compress is of more benefit than the dry cold produced by and ice bag or ice cap, and the ice pack fits more snugly around the joint.
How to use an ice pack:
(1) Cover the skin area to be treated with a flannel cloth. Never place ice directly on the skin. (2) Place a layer of crushed ice about one inch thick on a towel or piece of flannel big enough to cover the area completely. Cover this with a second towel and pin in place. (3) Now place the ice pack over the painful area. (4) Pin a piece of plastic or rubber sheet over the compress. Be sure the bed is protected if the treatment is to be given in bed. (5) Leave the pack on for 30 minutes and keep the limb elevated. After the ice pack is removed, dry the skin and keep the area covered with a dry towel or piece of flannel. (6) Repeat this treatment every two hours for a total of 8 to 12 hours or longer if necessary. (7) Make sure that the skin does not freeze. (8) In acute joint sprains, this treatment can be continued for one or two days and then alternate hot and cold may be used, as previously described. (9) If ice is not available, the injured part can be placed in ice water or cold tap water for 30 minutes. This can be repeated every two hours for eight to twelve hours or longer if necessary.
ICE BAG OR ICE CAP
The Ice bag is very useful whenever cold treatment is indicated. It should not be left on for longer than 15 or 20 minutes at a time, however. Some of its most common uses are for acute sprains and strains, on the back of the neck for nosebleed and headache, over the heart for palpitation when taking heat treatments, on insect bites and stings, for itching hemorrhoids, and many other conditions.
(1) Fill the ice bag about half full with small pieces of ice. (2) Flatten the bag out on a flat surface to remove as much of the air as possible, and than put on the cap. (3) Wrap a thin towel around the bag. (4) Place a piece of plastic or rubber sheeting on the bed for protection. (5) Leave on for 20 or 30 minutes. (6) Remove for the same length of time, keeping the area covered, and then replace the ice bag. This may be continued for 8 to 12 hours as indicated.
COLD MITTEN FRICTION
This is an excellent tonic for the body in the morning and it will greatly improve the general circulation. People who have poor circulation are much more likely to get sick with colds and more serious illnesses than those who have good blood flow to all parts of the body. As people grow older the circulation tends to slow down and the blood vessels become less pliable. This tonic friction bath can be used by nearly anyone. It is simple to learn, requires no expensive equipment, and will certainly improve your health and sense of well-being as well as your general resistance to disease.
Short cold applications or heat treatments followed by cold tend to make the chemical reaction of the blood more alkaline, due to the oxidation of waste products. The blood normally has an alkaline reaction, but during infections, fevers, etc., this alkalinity is reduced and the blood shifts towards an acid reaction, although blood never actually becomes acidic in its reaction. There is also a moderate increase in the number of red blood cells in the circulation as well as an increase in the hemoglobin and a marked rise in the number of white blood cells that fight infection. Not only is there an increase in the number of white corpuscles, but they also become much more active in fighting disease. The effect of a cold treatment lasts about one to three hours and while one treatment cannot be expected to produce a marked or lasting effect, frequent cold treatments, specially with added friction, will produce a permanent and decided improvement in the circulation and an increase in the blood corpuscles and hemoglobin. "Most persons would receive benefit from a cool or tepid bath every day, morning or evening. Instead of the liability to take cold, a bath, properly taken, fortifies against cold, because it improves the circulation; the blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow is obtained. The mind and the body are alike invigorated." (Ministry of Healing, p.276.)
How to take a cold mitten friction:
1. As always, have the room warm and free of drafts.
2. Fill the washbasin or other container with tepid water at about 85* to 95* F.
3. If you do not have a regular friction mitt and do not wish to purchase one, select a rough washcloth, dip it in the water, and ring it nearly dry.
4. In order to build up a tolerance, you should start gradually. On the first morning rub only one arm from the wrist to the shoulder. Keep rubbing rapidly and vigorously until the skin turns pink and has a tingling sensation.
5. Stop and dry the arm thoroughly with a warm towel.
6. The second morning, rub both arms till pink, first one and then the other, drying each one when completed.
7. On subsequent days add the chest, abdomen, right and left legs, and back. It helps to have someone else rub your back, as rubbing this area vigorously can be quite awkward and tiring.
8. Each day you should make the water a little cooler until you are finally able to use ice water without feeling chilly. The cloth can be a little wetter, but never dripping, if a more vigorous reaction is desired.
9. Eventually you should be able to complete the entire friction bath in under 10 Minutes.
10. When giving the treatment to another person, start with one arm until you have produced a good reaction, dry well and do the other: then the chest, abdomen, legs, and back. Keep all parts of the body that are not being treated well covered.
1. If at first you get unduly tired from the rubbing, stay on the same part for several days and add other areas of the body at a slower rate. Rest if you need to but don't give up until you can complete the entire body.
2. Aged or very weak or ill persons may find this treatment too exhausting or they may not be able to obtain a good skin reaction; if that is the case, the cold mitten friction should not be used.
3. Be sure to continue rubbing each area until the skin is pink.
This treatment is given to relieve stress and tension:
1. Warm the feet with a hot footbath. If the patient is a diabetic or has poor circulation, wrap the feet in a warm blanket.
2. Use fomentations. (See B. Fomentations, earlier in this chapter for complete directions for making a fomentation.) The fomentations that are used in the sedative treatment should be allowed to cool slightly before being placed on the patient. They should not be used while extremely hot.
3. Have the patient lie on one fomentation that extends the full length of the spine and place a second one across the abdomen
4. Apply cold compresses to the head and neck, and change them every two or three minutes.
5. As soon as the fomentation begins to cool, remove it, dry the skin, and apply a fresh one. Change the long fomentation on the spine first. Do not rub the skin with ice between fomentations.
6. Change the fomentations three times.
7. Then cool the patient with an alcohol rub or a warm bath or shower.
8. Dry the patient thoroughly, make him comfortable and warm, and encourage rest and sleep.
Alternate hot and cold treatments are many times very helpful in relieving the pain of arthritis. This treatment is mainly for arthritis in the hands, wrists, or feet. The treatment is simple to give and only minimal equipment is needed. You should have two containers large enough to accommodate hands or feet. One of the containers should be filled with hot water at 105* to 110* F. and the other should contain cold water at 60* to 70* F. This is about the temperature of water that comes from the cold water faucet.
1. There should be enough water in the container to reach nearly to the elbows or knees.
2. Use a bath thermometer to determine the water temperature.
3. The extremity should be placed first in the hot water for three minutes and then in the cold water for 30 seconds.
4. Seven complete changes should be made, ending with the hot water.
5. This can be done two or three times a day.
6. If the hot water causes increased swelling, the temperature can be decreased to 105* F. or the time in the hot water can be reduced to two minutes and the time in the cold water increased to one minute.
7. If there is poor circulation, the hot water should never be more than 105* F.
8. For extremely painful joints, and ice pack can be used until the swelling subsides and then the alternate hot and cold treatments may be used.
Many people with arthritis will obtain more relief from the paraffin bath described in Chapter 5, part D, Types of Baths.
Most headaches are caused by stress, muscle tension, dilated blood vessels in the head, or a combination of these. In only one person out of several hundred are headaches likely to be caused by a life-threatening illness such as a brain tumor. The next time you have a headache while at home, try the following program. Better yet, for greater success with this treatment start it as soon as you feel a headache coming on.
1. Warm the bathroom to between 70* to 80* F.
2. Undress and take a hot footbath, as described earlier (in Chapter 5). For this treatment it is best to sit on the edge of the bathtub and fill the tub with hot water over your ankles. Start with water at 105* F. and increase as tolerated to not more than 115*F.
3. Keep yourself warm by wrapping in a sheet.
4. Have a pan of ice water handy. Dip a washcloth in the ice water, wring it out well and place it over your forehead and eyes. Change the washcloth every two our three minutes.
5. Rub the back of your neck to relax the muscles. Slowly rotate your head in a circle once or twice, relaxing the muscles as much as possible, and then apply a cold cloth the back of the neck.
6. When your feet have become nice and pink, fill the tub with water at 80* to 95* F. Then get in the tub, place a folded towel behind your head, lean back, and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep the cool cloth over your forehead and eyes.
7. Dry thoroughly. Blot the skin. Do not rub.
8. As soon as you are dry get right into a warm bed. Have the room darkened, with no noises to disturb you. You may even take the phone off the hook if you dare. Close your eyes, relax, and try to remove all irritating, stressful, and unpleasant thoughts from your mind.
The salt glow is a vigorous peripheral circulatory stimulant and general tonic. It increases the resistance to disease of all kinds, removes dead skin, and opens and cleans out the pores. Patients obtain a reaction to the salt glow easier than to a cold mitten friction.
Wet two pounds of common coarse salt with water, just enough so that it sticks together. Have the patient stand or sit in the shower or bathtub with the feet ankle deep in a pan of water at 105* F. Keep the patient well covered except for the part that is to be treated. Begin by wetting one arm. Fill your hands with the moist salt, place your hands on each side of the patient's arm and rub up and down the arm vigorously with to-and-fro movements until the skin is aglow. Follow the same procedure with the opposite arm, legs, chest, back, and buttocks. Omit the abdomen if you wish. Use a lighter pressure over bony prominences and sensitive areas. After completion, remove all the salt with a tepid shower or pail pour. Dry thoroughly and have the patient lie down, cover with a sheet or blanket, and encourage rest for a short time.
A salt glow should not be given if skin disease is present.
Source: "Back to Eden" by Jethro Kloss
Your brother in Christ
[Updated on: Sun, 29 May 2016 13:55]
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