Ice Packs and Hot Wraps - Essential Oil Hot and Cold Compresses to Treat Injuries and Pain

Submitted by Matt Papa on January 3, 2013

Hot or cold compresses have long since been used to treat a variety of pains, aches, and injuries but did you know that compresses are even more effective when used with essential oils? Healing times for injuries such as sprains, swellings and body aches are considerable reduced if you add certain essential oils to hot or cold compresses. For example, some essential oils can help reduce pain or inflammation whereas others may relieve stress and increase relaxation.

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Compresses are also a safe way of using essential oils that cannot be applied directly on the skin. But first, you need to know how to make a hot or cold compress…

How to Make a Hot Compress

Hot compresses can be used to treat ailments such as muscular sprains and cramps, toothaches, earaches, backaches, menstrual pain, boils, rheumatic pain, arthritis, and congestion.

To make hot compresses:

  1. Heat a pint of water and add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice.


    Take a piece of cloth or small towel and soak it in the hot water.
  2. Wring out the excess water and place the hot towel or cloth over the affected area.
  3. To increase the effectiveness of the hot compress, you can wrap the area in cling wrap or place another towel on top of the compress to help keep it in place.
  4. Once the temperature of the soaked cloth has cooled, repeat the process again.

How to Make a Cold Compress

A cold compress is used to treat bruises, swelling, inflammation, headaches, neck strain, and fever. Cold compresses provide you with an easy pick-me-up and reduce exhaustion as well.

Make a cold compress by:

  1. Soaking a piece of cloth, a bandage or a small towel in a cold or ice water with a few drops of essential oil of your choice.
  2. Place this cloth over the affected area and keep in place until the temperature has increased to body temperature.
  3. Repeat the process two or three times if required.

Some suggestions for essential oils and compresses include:

  • Chamomile or Helichrysum to reduce inflammation and sprains
  • Ginger or Rosemary for localized swelling
  • Melaleuca or Helichyrsum to treat fever
  • Helichrysum, Peppermint or Lavender for headaches
  • Eucalytpus for sinus headaches
  • Lavender or Eucalytpus to treat insect bites
  • Thyme or Oregano for boils and pus infections
  • Eucalyptus for chest congestion
  • Peppermint or Eucalytpus for nasal congestion (never to be used with children below two years)
  • Peppermint or Spearmint to reduce exhaustion or to cool the body on very hot days

Remember, before beginning any treatment – aromatherapy or otherwise, always consult with your doctor or health care provider to ensure that no serious side effects occur.

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