External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Lavender Footbath

Kind of substance

Lavender bath milk

Guiding principle for the application

The powers of the absorbed light and warmth in the essential oil of lavender have a calming, relaxing and soothing effect.
The footbath gently warms the patient’s cool limbs. It can have a sleep-inducing effect on people with sleep disorders, and be calming and relaxing during the day. Its fine fragrance has an effect on the person’s mental state. Lavender is suitable for all ages – both for restless children and in palliative situations.


  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Cold feet (see example case)
  • Palliative care
  • Agitation
  • Agitation in children (see example case)



  • Footbath tub / large washing basin
  • Lavender bath milk, e.g., Lavender Relaxing Bath Milk (also sold as Lavendel Entspannungsbad ® Weleda) or a comparable bath additive
  • Water
  • Hand towel
  • Large bath towel
  • Foot mat

  • Fill the footbath tub with warm water (approx. 37°C or 98.6°F)
  • Add 1 tsp. of the bath additive and stir, using a figure-eight pattern
  • Have the patient place his or her feet in the tub. The water should be high enough to cover at least the ankles.
  • Cover the patient’s legs and hip area with the large towel
  • Application time: up to 10 minutes
  • Dry the patient’s feet, do not shower with clear water
  • Put on warm socks
  • Post-treatment rest ca. 15–30 minutes or go to bed

  • Clean the footbath tub
  • Dry the towels

Well-proven in many patients
As needed
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
As needed

Case example

An 11-year-old girl with a high fever, rhinitis, cough, restlessness and very cold feet is supposed to have a lavender footbath. She requires some persuasion from her mother before she agrees.
Her reaction is immediate: her restlessness subsides, her breathing calms down, her legs and feet get warm immediately. The accumulated heat in her upper body and head is released and dissipates downwards into her legs and feet. Subsequently, the child can fall asleep.




See Bibliography under 6.1.