External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Hand and Foot Rub with Rosemary 10% Oil and Rock Salt

Kind of substance

Rosemary 10% oil, salt

Guiding principle for the application

Rosemary contains resins, bitter substances and tannins, in addition to aromatic essential oils. These substances, as well as the essential oils, make the soul inclined to connect with the body.
Rosemary’s warming processes have a stimulating effect on digestion and circulation, especially on arterial peripheral vessels. The plant’s bitter substances and tannins awaken and strengthen the vital forces. Rosemary therefore has a strong, overall incarnating effect (connecting with the body).

Salt is a substance that crystallizes and has shaping power. It supports us in being awake and in maintaining consciousness. It helps with degenerative disorders of the nervous system (e.g., polyneuropathy) and with revitalization when applied to the skin. 

In combination with rosemary oil, it creates warmth, increases blood circulation and intensifies sensitivity in the treated area.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Chronically cold hands and feet
  • Circulatory disorders (e.g., diabetes)
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Scleroderma



  • You can increase the effect of the oil by adding a pinch of rock salt, which is mixed with 5–10 drops of oil on the palm of your hand before applying to the skin.

  • Rosemary 10% oil
  • Rock salt
  • Warm bath towel for the feet
  • One heated towel for each hand 
  • 2 hot-water bottles

  • The patient lies in bed
  • Place the bath towel under both feet and cover each one separately from the sides
  • Put a warm towel under each hand and cover with the towel
  • For each limb, pour a small amount of oil into the palm of your hand, add a pinch of salt and mix
  • Gently rub the hands and feet with the mixture, using warm, slow movements: right hand – left hand – right foot – left foot
  • Immediately cover each limb once treated
  • Cover the patient
  • Post-treatment rest 30 minutes

Well-proven in many patients
1–2 x daily
Onset of effect
During the post-treatment rest
Length of therapy
Over several weeks, depending on the severity of the symptoms

Instructions to download

Case example

Example case 1
A 53-year-old female patient with advanced systemic scleroderma also suffered from Raynaud’s disease with severe scarring, as well as ulceration and chronic hypothermia, particularly in her hands. Her hands were rubbed with rosemary 10% oil (WALA) and she experienced increasing sensation (“tingling”) and warmth that she had not felt in her hands for years. With the help of a thermographic camera, it was possible to measure an increase in local warmth after subsequent treatments. This effect was repeated in other patients with the same clinical picture.

Example case 2
A young patient with chronic inflammatory bowel disease suffered from chronically cold feet and experienced the oil treatment as follows:
“The rosemary oil foot massage produces a nice, pleasant warmth in my feet (...) Not to be compared with when I wear wool socks. The wool sock climate is moist and sweaty. I really appreciate this new insight. “The warmth rises from the soles of the feet via the legs into the abdomen.”


BD, Red.
Red., BD


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  • Simpson DM, Brown S, Tobias J; Controlled trial of high concentration capsaicin patch for treatment of painful HIV neuropathy. Neurology 2008; 70: 2305–2313.