External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Chamomile Steam Sitz Bath

Kind of substance

Chamomile flowers

Guiding principle

Chamomile steam baths (sitz baths) warm the lower part of the body, thereby bringing awareness back to the area for elimination. Pain and the desire to void are reduced, while the warm chamomile vapour also disinfects the genital area. The warmth gradually spreads to the whole body.

Indications

  • Bladder infection / urinary tract infection
  • Prevention against urinary tract infections
  • Follow-up care for urinary tract infections
  • Irritated bladder (see example case)
  • Urinary incontinence (also to improve faecal incontinence)
  • Urinary retention

Instructions

Warnings

  • Danger of burns, especially with children under 6 years, elderly people, perceptually impaired people.
  • Limited effect when the bowl is too low or is made of metal or when the infusion is used to early (before it has steeped for 10 minutes).
  • Caution with men for anatomical reasons.

Materials
  • Chamomile flowers
  • boiling water
  • Toilet chair with a pot/bucket or plastic bowel to fit in to the loo
  • Bath towel

Instructions
Pour 1 litre of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of chamomile flowers, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Pour this infusion into the pot of a toilet chair (or, if there is no toilet chair, use a plastic bowl placed in the toilet, so that the patient can sit on the toilet seat with only this steam warming her).
The patient should be wearing socks and slippers. Wrap her abdomen in a towel, so that the rising heat is not lost. After the treatment, dry and dress the patient, and ideally let her rest in bed for 30 minutes.
The duration of the chamomile steam bath is ca. 15–20 minutes – for as long as the steam is pleasantly warm. Make sure the patient does not get cold.
Variation
Long-term treatment, such as for chronic urinary tract infection, can cause the mucous membranes to dry out. In this case, lime blossom steam baths can be given alternately to chamomile steam baths.
Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion is very suitable for caring for the mucous membranes. Alternatively, you can apply a little almond oil.

Evidence
Tried and tested many times after kidney transplants and at home
Dosage
1-2 x daily
Onset of effect
Immediate easing and thereby relief of pain.
Length of therapy
Until there are no more complaints or until the urine is clean
Other recommended therapies
Eucalyptus oil compress on bladder
Warning
Danger of burns, especially with children, elderly people and perceptually impaired people;
Caution when treating men, for anatomical reasons.
Limited effect when the bowl is too low or is made of metal, or when the infusion is used to early (before it has steeped for 10 minutes).
Do not use in cases of chamomile allergy.

Instructions to download

Case example

This application has proved successful in hundreds of cases at the university hospital in Munich Grosshadern, Germany. It is a standard treatment there for women after kidney transplants (see references).

Example case:
An 80-year-old, dark-haired, delicate, art-oriented woman with a basic tendency to melancholy and depression had had squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder for 2 years. She was advised to have a total bladder extirpation, which she rejected. As an alternative, tumour tissue was removed locally, followed by instillation therapy with BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) every 4 weeks. This was highly stressful physically and emotionally. She couldn’t sleep for days in advance. She was beset by severe fears that were hard to control with valeriana, ferrum sidereum, argentum and prunus. She sometimes woke up trembling at night. But the therapy helped, the cancer began to regress and then disappeared 18 months ago, i.e., about 6 months after the therapy began.
To support the patient in her weak condition she was given low doses of mistletoe: Iscucin Mali strength A injected subcutaneously 2 times a week. With that most of her fears disappeared, as well as her extreme sleep disturbances. She had become emaciated and was slow to regain weight.

However, she suffered from considerable bladder problems, with sometimes severe, painful haematuria and serious dysuria, after each treatment, which continued. She was sometimes afraid to urinate, so she delayed it as long as possible. Chamomile steam baths were begun about 12 months ago, first daily, then every 2 days, and finally every 3 days. Both the objective and the subjective bladder problems diminished after that. Importantly, her mood and overall temperature regulation improved. Her previously chronically cold feet improved on the days when there was no chamomile steam bath, her mental state lightened, giving way to cautious optimism about life. There were no further changes to the therapy, rather the bladder medication was discontinued. The 2 x weekly injections with Iscucin Mali strength A continued.

Author: RK

Author

Red., US, BG, RK

Bibliography

  • Sommer M. Healing plants. Herbal remedies from traditional to anthroposophical medicine. Edinburgh: Floris Books; 2014.
  • Soldner G, Stellmann HM. Individual paediatrics. Physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of diagnosis and counseling. Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft; 2014.
  • Bahlmann B. Pflege daheim. Berlin: Salumed; 2010.
  • Vademecum of Anthroposophic Medicines. Munich: Gesellschaft anthroposophischer Ärzte; 3rd English edition 2017.
  • Breg M, Fickler C. Das Kamillendampfsitzbad zur Prävention von Harnwegsinfekten bei Frauen. Poster der Abteilung für Transplantationsmedizin des Klinikums der LMU München (Leitung Prof. Dr. K. Jauch) beim Deutschen Pflegekongress 2006.

-Der Merkurstab 2014;67(2)149.

Substances