External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Oil Dispersion Bath with Formica 5% Oil

Kind of substance

Formica 5% oil (no longer available)

Guiding principle for the application

In oil dispersion baths according to Werner Junge, oil is so finely dispersed in water that the body can absorb it through the skin.
As a rule, the temperature of the bath water is not higher than body temperature, so that the body’s warmth organism is stimulated. During a subsequent rest, the body is actively confronted with the substance, which stimulates it to generate its own warmth.
The choice of oil depends on the symptoms of the patient.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Arthritic joint pain (see example case)


Oil dispersion bath therapy can be learned in a detailed training course. See also the section on “Fundamentals of External Applications”
However, a simplified procedure at home is possible after instruction by a therapist.

Oil dispersion bath therapy can be learned in a detailed training course. See also Chapter
Fundamentals of External Applications
However, a simplified procedure at home is possible after instruction by a therapist.

If you do not have an oil dispersion apparatus, shake the oil in 10 ml cream and then add it to the bath water. The effect is not so intense, but the oil can be broken down and does not merely float on the surface of the water.


  • Bathtub
  • Oil dispersion device
  • Fever thermometer, bath thermometer if necessary
  • 5 ml Formica 5% oil (this oil is unfortunately no longer on the market due to stricter regulations)
  • A flannelette bed sheet (ca. 250 cm x 150 cm)
  • 3 large terrycloth hand towels

  • Fill the bathtub with water and oil using the oil dispersion device.
  • The patient gets into the filled tub
  • Bathing time: ca. 20 minutes for a resting bath or ca. 45 minutes for one with underwater brush massage
  • After the bath, wrap the patient still wet directly out of the water in a preheated cloth and cover well in the prepared bed so that he does not freeze despite the humidity.
  • During the subsequent rest, which should last at least half an hour to an hour, it is important for the patient to get warm.

  • Clean the bathtub and oil dispersion device
  • Hang up the cloths and towels to dry

Single successful application
2 x weekly
Onset of effect
After the 5th bath
Length of therapy
5 baths / 3 weeks
In general, for oil dispersion bath therapy:
  • In the case of weakened patients, it may be necessary to accompany the patient during the rest, especially in case of a lack of warmth generation.
  • Do not use the oil dispersion bath as a cleansing bath, i.e., do not use soaps and shampoos!

Case example

Increasing pain in the metatarsophalangeal joints of a 67-year-old woman required treatment. Inspired by a case report about deposits in body tissue after an operation that had been successfully treated with Formica, the patient tried to overcome this problem with oil dispersion baths using Formica 5% in olive oil.
After the first baths led to a clear head, but otherwise brought no noticeable changes, the 5th bath showed a surprising effect.  The evening bath, which was much warmer than indicated due to back pain (38°C or 100.4°F), kept the patient awake for 24 hours and made her physically very restless (it felt as if she were an anthill), even in her head there was restlessness, quite the opposite of the time before. In addition, her urine was completely sour and had a bad smell, like rotten wood. After 24 hours the patient was able to sleep, her restlessness lessened. Her urine became increasingly less acidic, but it took 3 days for it to smell normal again.
The pain got a lot better.


Red., US


  • Büssing A, et al. The oil-dispersion bath in anthroposophic medicine – an integrative review. BMC complementary and alternative medicine 8.1 (2008): 61
  • v. Rottenburg T. Öldispersionsbäder. In: Lehofer M, Stuppäck Ch. Depressionstherapie, Thieme Verlag 2005.
  • Warning A, Krüger M. Das Öldispersionsbad nach Werner Junge, Der Merkurstab 2014:67(2): p. 108–115