External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Beeswax Back Compress

Kind of substance


Guiding principle for the application

Beeswax is a product of light and warmth. Bees form tiny scales of wax, which they sweat out of their wax glands located on their abdominal segments. With their mouthparts they chew these scales and mix them with glandular secretion to build hexagonal honeycombs.
Their wax is characterized by a mild, constant warmth that works deep inside. Applied locally, wax takes away painful tension and stimulates blood circulation.
A beeswax compress on the chest helps to alleviate inflammatory processes in cases of bronchitis.
Its mild warmth does not cause sweating and it is not harmful to the cardiovascular system. The characteristic smell of wax is generally perceived as pleasant. The application is appreciated by patients also because of its easy handling when used at home.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Bronchitis (Example case 1)
  • Fatigue syndrome (Example case 2)
  • Convalescence
  • Back pain
  • Loss of warmth
  • Warmth distribution disorders in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism


Beeswax compresses can usually be bought in a pharmacy

Make your own beeswax compress (make immediately before use):

  • Pot or double boiler for water bath
  • Crumble aprox. 500 gr. of beeswax into a bowl which can be placed or hung in the pot (water bath)
  • Heat to about 70°–80°C (158–176°F) until the beeswax becomes liquid
  • Ladle
  • Parchment paper (sandwich paper or baking paper) in the size needed for the compress
  • Kitchen towel

Materials: for the application
  • Bedspread-sized piece of duvetyn cloth
  • 1 bath towel, the width reaches from the armpit to the hip
  • 1 blanket
  • 1 knee roll

How it is done – Making and applying the wax compress
  • Prepare the cloths on the bed
  • Lay the kitchen towel on the table, with the parchment paper on top
  • Pour 1–2 ladles full of liquid wax onto the parchment paper
  • Let it cool down to body heat (the wax solidifies)
  • Place the wax compress with the parchment paper on the prepared cloths in the bed
  • The patient lies down on the warm compress
  • Wrap the bath towel over the patient’s stomach from the sides, then pull the sheet snugly over the patient’s shoulders and wrap the person well from the sides
  • Place the knee roll under the patient’s knees
  • Use the blanket to cover well from the feet to over the shoulders
  • Pull the pillow well down into the neck
  • Duration: 20–30 minutes
  • Post-treatment rest: 30 minutes

  • Remove the wax compress
  • It can be warmed in the oven (100°C or 212°F) for 3 minutes and used several times

Well-proven in many patients.
Various positive results with beeswax compresses have been obtained at Paracelsus Hospital in Unterlengenhardt, Germany, and at Birkenrain nursing home in Zurich, Switzerland. This included weakened, convalescent patients, patients with tumor diseases and people with a disturbed warmth organism, e.g,. thyroid diseases.
1 x daily
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
As needed

Case example

Example case 1
A 65-year-old female patient suffers from long-lasting, chronic bronchitis.
In hospital she is treated with a beeswax compress on her front upper thorax. The fragrant beeswax warmth has an immediate and pleasant loosening effect. The mucus dissolves, she can cough up well, her breathing becomes freer and deeper. The deep, lasting warmth has a balancing and illuminating effect on her soul.

Example case 2
A female patient, 24 years old, with tumor-related fatigue syndrome, cannot recover despite daily exercising. After a treatment with rhythmical massage therapy, the practitioner gives the patient a beeswax back compress. During her post-treatment rest, the patient experiences a sense of deep peace right into her body. She relaxes and can fall asleep.
Subsequently, she applies smaller beeswax cloths to her sacrum or kidney region. She feels increasingly awake and alive thanks to the warmth application. The beeswax is warmer when removed than when applied. This shows that the patient’s own warmth organism has been activated and stimulated. There is also lasting improvement in her warmth organism.