Guide and Techniques of Applying Compresses

Thai Herbal Compress

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 compression 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 layer 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 poultice.

The wet girdle, leg pack, wet sheet pack, chest pack and wrapper, and half-pack are simply large compresses.

Heating Compress

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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;

  • Dip the cotton cloth in cold water and wring it out until it no longer drips.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 structure deeper in the neck will be relieved.
  • After the compress is removed, rub the neck with a cool cloth and dry thoroughly to prevent chilling.
  • 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.

How to Make a Warm Compress How to Apply a Cold Compress
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