Typically made from gauze or a similar soft material, a compress can be applied with pressure to specific parts of the body to help control hemorrhage, help relieve pain-related symptoms, or support the body's natural defenses against infection. For example, cold compresses are traditionally used with sprains, localized swelling, blisters, insect bites, stings, bruises, and headaches; hot compresses are traditionally used with abscesses, boils, cystitis, and dysmenorrhea.
A simple method for using essential oils with compresses is to:
- Add 6 drops of essential oil to 9 oz of water. (Use ice water for cold compresses and boiling water for hot ones.) First pour the water into a bowl, and then add the oil.
- Saturate a clean piece of unbleached muslin (or similar cloth, such as clean cotton) in the mixture, wring out, and apply.
For use with a cold compress, here are some example essential oils you may want to investigate further:
- With sprains: Peppermint, chamomile, eucalyptus, ginger, lavender, pine, rose, and rosemary
- With bruises: Eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, lavender, and peppermint
- With localized swelling: Ginger, rose, and rosemary
For use with hot compresses, here are some example essential oils you may want to investigate further:
- With abscesses and boils: Bergamot, eucalyptus, rose, manuka, and tea tree Australia
- With menstrual pain: Chamomile, clary sage, lavender, peppermint, rose, and rosemary
For more information about using essential oils with compresses, download our free ACHS holistic health Wellness Guide HERE. In the guide, you'll also find several pages of information about using aromatherapy essential oils in the home and as a tool to support optimal health and wellness.
* This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, heal, or prescribe. A primary care physician, naturopathic physician, or Registered Aromatherapist should be consulted before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.