External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Breastbone Compress with Lavender Essential Oil

Kind of substance

Lavender essential oil, in almond oil

Guiding principle for the application

A deepening of breathing and a harmonization of body temperature can be achieved through the balancing effect of lavender emanating from the breastbone. The patient becomes calmer, falls asleep more easily, and the sleeping cycles are lengthened.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Anxiety (see example case)
  • Difficulty falling asleep (see example case)
  • Sleeplessness
  • Agitation
  • Unrest in people who are dying (see example case)



  • Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil into almond oil
  • Cotton inner cloth, large enough to be folded 2–4 times and cover the patient’s upper breastbone
  • Freezer bag
  • Hot water bottle
  • Outer cloth (cotton or wool), somewhat larger than the folded inner cloth

  • Drizzle the oil mixture onto the inner cloth, fold it, warm it up for a few minutes in a freezer bag on a warm hot water bottle
  • Lay the warmed inner cloth onto the patient’s breastbone and cover with the warm outer cloth
  • The compress can remain for several hours
  • If the application is short, follow it with 30 minutes of post-treatment rest

Has been used successfully on several patients in palliative care
Twice a day for 30 minutes or once a day for longer
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
As needed

Instructions to download

Case example

Example case
A boy in a palliative situation in an institution for children with special needs suffered from unrest and difficulty in falling asleep. He calmed down directly in response to a breastbone compress, his sleep became calmer, deeper and longer. His facial expression became relaxed and peaceful. This compress was applied twice a day for 20–30 minutes during a seven-day period.


Red., CK


  • Perry R, et al. Is lavender an anxiolytic drug? A systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Phytomedicine 19.8 (2012): 825–835.
  • Kasper S, et al. Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder – a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 17.6 (2014): 859–869.
  • Koulivand PH, Ghadiri MK, Gorji A. Lavender and the nervous system, in: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013).