Thai Herbal Compress Balls

Compress balls have been used in massage for centuries in most eastern cultures and were meant for specific medicinal purposes. The Thai herbal compress ball, for example, was made using specific ingredients for their medicinal value.

The ingredients of the compress were not the same, and different ingredients were used for different kinds of massages.

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This is because the compress balls were always steamed or warmed in oil before use. This heating of the ingredients inside released their essential oils that mixed with the oils that were used for the massage, giving specific health benefits. For example, a massage for the chest and respiratory tract will contain those ingredients that help improve breathing, while a massage for lower back pain will contain both pain-reducing herbs as well as others to help relax the muscles.

Ancient medical practitioners found this to be a simple way of including essential oils from herbs that could not be preserved for long. The only problem with a compress is that you can use it for a maximum of 4 to 5 times, after which all the medicinal value of the ingredients inside are lost. The compress will then have to be remade.

How to make an Herbal Compress?

Making a compress is not too difficult. In fact, the making of the compress is accomplished in less than 10 minutes. What takes time is the learning of the right ingredients to use for each kind of compress. This is why many people prefer to purchase a compress rather than make it themselves. If, however, you do know the specific herbs that need to be used, here is how you make a compress.

Measure out two cups of the ingredients into a square piece of cloth. Bring all four edges together and wrap the ingredients tightly by holding the edges as tightly together as possible. Then, twist the extra cloth to hold the ingredients and tie it down.

These compresses can be made and stored for quite a length of time, and it is not necessary that they be used immediately.

Storage instructions are very simple. If you make the compress using dried ingredients, they can last even months as long as they are kept in a dry and airtight container. If the ingredients are fresh, the compress needs to be used immediately, although even here, it can stay for a couple of days to a week.

How to use?

The herbal compress is used for massage of a specific kind. Also, the massage must be performed by an experienced masseuse because the compress needs to be heated before use, and it is possible to get burns if overheated. The compress also needs to be tested before being applied, and this is done by applying it on the underside of the arm where the skin is sensitive. The masseuse can thus gauge how hot the compress is before applying it.

The way the compress is applied is not similar to how other aids, such as a ball, are applied. The compress is applied with a rolling motion and never for more than a second at most. This is done as a precaution to prevent any heat burns to the back.

When the compress cools down, it should be reheated, or in some cases dipped in hot oil before use. This not only infuses the oils into the compress, but also heats up the ingredients inside so that their oils can mix with the massage oil.

Mostly, it is professional massage therapists who use a compress because unlike balls, it cannot be used by oneself. It is, however, a very effective tool to use, especially when giving hot oil massage.

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