Naturopathic Doctors have been using hydrotherapy for over 150 years. One of the most common and beneficial types of hydrotherapy is a heating compress.

What is a heating compress?

A heating compress is NOT a hot compress. A heating compress is cold. The compress becomes heated by the body part to which it is applied. This is a confusing point but a heating compress is a cold towel that is placed on a particular body part. 

What materials are needed?

  • A towel or cotton cloth big enough to cover the area to be treated.
  • Another wool or flannel cloth is needed to cover the cotton cloth.
  • Loofah or towel for friction rub.

How to use the heating compress?

The heating compress can be placed on several body parts, e.g., upper torso, abdomen, throat, ankle or wrist (especially if you have experienced a strain/sprain).

If you have a sore throat:

  1. Place a small hand towel in cold water and then wring out the towel.
  2. Place the wrung out cold towel over the front of your throat (it is not necessary for the towel to be wrapped completely around your throat).
  3. Cover the cold towel with a wool or flannel cloth, e.g., a wool scarf. Make sure it is a snug fit (it is not necessary to wrap it so tightl that it hinders respiration or circulation.
  4. If wool or flannel is not available use a dry towel, fleece scarf or small blanket.
  5. Keep compress in place overnight or until dry.
  6. You can keep it in place for 1 hour. Then remove the compress and dry the area. Place a new wrung out, cold towel over your throat and repeat for another hour.
  7. End this with a cool friction rub, e.g., use a damp towel or a dry loofah, and rub the previously covered area so as to warm up the area. Dry the throat thoroughly. Do not allow yourself to get chilled.
  8. After you remove the cold towel from your body, you will notice the towel that was cold is now heated. Your body has heated the towel. As the body heats up the cold towel the result is increase circulation to the area and decreased congestion.

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