External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Ginger Lumbar/ Thoracic Spine Compress

Kind of substance

Ginger (freshly grated, or ginger powder)

Guiding principle for the application

External application of ginger stimulates vigorous inner warmth in the body, which can spread to the periphery. The soul is invited to unite itself more intensively with the body, which can be seen in deepened inhalation, among other things. The patient can calm down.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Herniated disc
  • Low back pain / Lumbago
  • Tense back muscles (see example cases)


Ginger is contraindicated for neurodermatitis!


  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root (or ginger powder, see description below)
  • 2 hot-water bottles
  • Outer cloth: bath towel, folded lengthwise into 3 layers
  • 1 intermediate cloth: terrycloth towel (moisture protection)
  • 1 inner cloth made of cotton, folded into 4 layers, approx. 20 x 15 cm, according to the size of the patient
  • 1 knife
  • 1 grater

Instructions with grated ginger:
  • Spread about 3 tablespoons of grated ginger on the middle of the substance cloth, approx. 15 cm x 20 cm, fold in the remaining cloth from all 4 sides and warm the pack on the hot-water bottle for about 10 minutes.
  • Fold the bath towel lengthwise into 3 layers and place on the bed
  • Lay a double-folded terrycloth hand towel on the bath towel as moisture protection, place a hot-water bottle on top to warm the towels up
  • As soon as the ginger pack is warmed up a little, place it on the prepared cloth with the single fabric side facing the patient. The patient immediately lies down on it, with the painful spot on the ginger
  • Immediately wrap the two prepared cloths well around the body and, if possible, use adhesive tape to keep them from slipping
  • Cover the patient well, including the shoulders
  • After 30–40 minutes, remove the compress

Post-treatment rest:
  • The patient remains resting for another 30 min.

Instructions with ginger powder:
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • ½ liter hot water
  • Spoon or wooden ladle
  • Dry spatula or the like
  • The cloths are the same as described for the fresh ginger compress

  • Put the ginger powder in a bowl
  • Gradually add the hot water and stir
  • Roll up the prepared 4-layered substance cloth and soak well in the ginger water, then wring out
  • The patient is already sitting in bed and you briefly fan his back with the hot towel
  • When you are sure that the towel is not too hot anymore, but still hot enough, you can put it on the patient’s back and the patient can lie down
  • Immediately wrap the prepared compress cloths (pre-warmed with a hot-water bottle), around the patient’s body and cover the patient well, including the shoulders.
  • Leave the compress on for 30–40 minutes, then remove

Post-treatment rest: 30 minutes

Wash out the compress cloths and hang them up to dry

Well-proven in many patients
1 x daily, not in the evening
Onset of effect
During the application
Length of therapy
Until the symptoms subside
Only use on intact skin

Instructions to download

Case example

Example case 1
A young father of 3 children had recovered from a herniated disc to the point that he could work again, but with all precautions. For no apparent reason, however, he tensed up in such a way that he was again in severe pain. An examination revealed that there was nothing serious and that he was simply painfully tense due to family challenges. A rhythmical embrocation brought relief and was followed by ginger compresses, which the man applied daily, and which brought him out of his physical tension. Since then he always applies ginger when there are signs of renewed tension in his back.

Example case 2
An older women, who had already suffered several herniated discs, often had a tendency to back tension, which could be very severe, but clearly differed from the pain of a herniated disc. Each time she applied a ginger compress to the painful region and was able to cure herself of the severe pain.


US, Red.


Vagedes J, et al. Effects of footbaths with mustard, ginger, or warm water only on objective and subjective warmth distribution in healthy subjects: A randomized controlled trial.  Complementary Therapies in Medicine 41 (2018): 287–294.