Castor oil packing is simply applying a cloth saturated with castor oil to the skin for an hour or so, preferably also with a source of external heat applied. Depending on where the pack is used benefits may include the alleviation of
- liver congestion
- lung congestion
- menstrual cramps
- inflamed joints and muscles
There are other therapeutic uses as well which we may discuss in your appointments if necessary.
Some practitioners recommend that before packing any of the treatment areas a pack should be applied to the liver first. If you have time to pack your liver first then do go ahead, but I have not found this step to be at all essential.
You will need
- A bottle of organic castor oil
- One or two clean and dry flannels or a long strip of towelling without traces of laundry detergent or fabric conditioner
- Some type of non-porous material such as a plastic bag
- A glass jar to store the flannel(s) in for re-use
- Old clothes to wear
- Old towels etc. to protect the area you are lying down from becoming stained with oil
- Prepare an area where you can comfortably lie down, warm and undisturbed for around an hour. You may want to cover where you are lying with old towels. I also like to have my phone and headphones ready with my phone on airplane mode.
- Change into old and comfortable clothes
- Prepare a hot water bottle or heat pad
- Put your flannel(s) in your glass storage jar, saturate with castor oil and thoroughly wring out any excess into the jar
- Place the flannel(s) on the area to be treated and cover with a non-porous covering (such as a plastic bag.) Get yourself comfortable and then place a hot water bottle over the non-porous covering. If you like you can then cover yourself with blankets or old towels to keep yourself warm
- Relax for an hour
- Store the oil-saturated flannel in a glass jar for re-use (you can re-use up to around thirty times – just top up with more oil when it dries out.)
- Use warm water and a little hand soap to clean the skin.
Specific treatment areas.
As you are looking down at your own torso you want to pack the area directly below the nipple on your right hand side. If you have large breasts then you will need to tuck the pack and the heating pad under the breast while you oil-pack. It isn’t always easy to apply but at least the breast’s weight may hold the pack in place while you relax.
If you are specifically treating your liver then you will need to be vigilant about following my dietary recommendations for you. Contact me or your naturopathic health practitioner immediately if you feel your symptoms get worse as you may need to use additional naturopathic techniques to support the oil packing effects.
Cover as much of your upper torso as you are able. You may feel comfortable with slightly less applied heat than with other treatment areas.
Menstrual cramps or constipation
Cover as much of your abdomen as you are able. Before you wash off the excess oil gently massage your abdomen. You may also find increased benefits from taking an Epsom Salt bath immediately afterwards.
Inflamed joints or muscles
Apply to the area directly. You may need to attach the oil pack to the affected area by covering with a plastic bag and taping it together.
Please note that I do not ever recommend that castor oil is taken internally.