External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Arnica Shoulder-Neck Compress

Kind of substance

Arnica essence

Guiding principle for the application

Arnica supports healing processes where internal or external causes have led to tissue damage or even bleeding. Arnica acts on muscles, nerves, fasciae and small joints by shaping and ordering them down to their depths, thereby alleviating pain. Arnica compresses applied to the neck and shoulder area can heal tensions and injuries caused by whiplash (such as bruises and contusions) that cause headaches or pain in the area.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Whiplash injury (cervical spine)
  • Cervical spine trauma, general
  • Muscular tension
  • Neck muscle hardening, e.g., in vegetative dystonia


There is also an Instructional Video for this compress

Wrapped neck compresses are particularly difficult to put on; they must be entirely free of air pockets and closed off to the outside.
When applying the hot compress, pay attention to the amount of blood in the patient’s head. If the patient is red-faced, do not apply the compress too warm.


  • 2 table spoon of arnica essence
  • 500 ml hot water (aprox.50°C)
  • Inner cloth (folded 2 times to the size of the area to be treated)
  • Intermediate cloth (ca. 1 to 2 cm larger than the inner cloth)
  • woolen outer cloth (Wool jacket)
  • Hot-water bottle
  • A basin
  • A cloth for wringing out the hot compress, or rubber gloves

  • Fold the inner cloth 4-fold so that it covers the patient to the following limits:

Top: neck hair line
Bottom: a few centimeters below the 7th cervical vertebra
Side: both sides of the cervical spine to mid-neck, reaching up to the level of the mastoid
  • 2 tablespoon arnica essence in 500 ml hot water: soak the folded cloth in the liquid and wring it out well
  • While the patient sits on the bed, place the inner cloth on the area described and mold it snugly in place. Avoid getting the patient’s hair wet, if possible.
  • Lay a dry intermediate cloth horizontally over the patient’s shoulder and neck (fold down the upper edge approx. 5 cm beforehand, like a shawl lapel, this will enable you to better fit the cloth to the neck). Draw both free ends forward and cross them over the patient’s neck and chest.
  • Do the same with the woolen outer cloth, but so that the bottom half of the back of the head and the ears are also covered – crossing over the neck and chest again under the chin (alternativ Wool jacket). Now the patient can lie down and be covered up, especially the shoulders. 
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Post-treatment rest 30 minutes

Wash out the inner cloth and hang everything up to dry

Well-proven in many patients
1 x daily
Onset of effect
Gradual, usually only after several applications
Length of therapy
As needed

Instructions to download


MK, Red.