External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Rhythmical Arm Embrocation with Rosemary Oil

Kind of substance

Rosemary 10% oil

Guiding principle for the application

Rhythmical arm embrocation has a beneficial effect on the inner metabolic organism. Arms are less burdened by gravity and they have a freer connection to the body than the feet and legs. Arms move freely and are thereby able to engage in creative activities, expressing the soul through music, crafts, writing, etc. The forces involved in such pursuits can be given to the world; they can also be beneficially directed back into the body by means of rhythmical arm embrocations. In terms of the threefold human constitution, rhythmical arm embrocations stimulate the soul body to become more active in the metabolism.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Asthma
  • Cachexia with tumors
  • Anorexia, bulimia
  • COPD
  • Exhaustion (e.g., mothers of infants)
  • Hemiparesis
  • Lymphedema
  • Nervous exhaustion (e.g., computer monitor work)
  • Sensory hypersensitivity and weakened metabolism (see example case)


Rhythmical embrocation according to Wegman/Hauschka can only be learned by attending a seminar. For more information see  Rhythmical Embrocation
Nevertheless, even a simple, gentle application of some oil to the arm in the way described can help.

Case example

A 19-year-old female patient, first psychosis at age 16, worsening condition, 9 weeks' hospital treatment. The patient is loud, hyperactive, agitated, very lacking in concentration, and forgetful. She feels impelled to write down all personal instructions 20 to 30 times a day on tiny scraps of paper. She cannot settle down at night, cannot fall asleep and is tormented by long periods of not being able to sleep during the night.
The patient is given a rhythmical arm and shoulder embrocation with rosemary oil. During the treatment she relaxes visibly, begins to breathe deeply, and falls asleep after the ½ hour post-treatment rest.
Rhythmical embrocations each evening have the effect that the patient no longer has trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. She awakens earlier in the morning, is more even-tempered and can easily get up and begin the day with breakfast. The effect of the application lasts to midday of the following day and then wears off.




  • Layer M (ed.) Praxishandbuch Rhythmische Einreibungen nach Wegman/Hauschka, 2nd ed. Bern: Verlag Hans Huber; 2014.
  • Steiner R. Anthroposophical Spiritual Science and Medical Therapy. The Second Medical Course (lecture 16, 5 April 1929, Dornach). Spring Valley: Mercury Press; 1991 (vol. GA 313).