External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Pentagram Embrocation

Kind of substance

Usually Aurum/Lavandula comp. cream

Guiding principle for the application

The pentagram embrocation has its place especially in the treatment of seriously ill patients, or patients who find themselves in a crisis in which there is great uncertainty as to whether and how to proceed. The short touching of the five points, on forehead, hands and feet in a certain order presupposes competent handling as well as sensitive organization of the treatment situation.
The pentagram embrocation is simultaneously a reduction and concentration on a few points, as well as a way to address the whole body (from the head to the feet, from the heart to the hands) and offers the patient an opportunity to take hold of his body as a whole and to draw new strength for the next step. One can often observe signs of letting go and relaxing, as well as a resumption of the flow of warmth into the periphery as a result of the treatment.
The term ‘pentagram’ (five-pointed star) refers to old diagrams in which the human body appears to be suspended between the five points and the lines of force that run between these points. (see bibliography) 

Usually Aurum/Lavandula comp. cream is used. However, there has also been occasional experience with other substances/preparations, such as Gold Rose Lavender oil (Lichterde), and alternatively a neutral body-care lotion.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Biographical crisis
  • Crisis situation in seriously ill patients
  • Postoperative brief reactive psychosis
  • Disquiet and fear during the dying process, or during palliative care (see example case 4)


You can take a course to learn how to administer a pentagram embrocation.

Well-proven in many patients
Single case
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
A single application is often sufficient; repetition is possible. No long-term treatment

Case example

Example case 1 (using hospital lotion)
Mr. A., 74 years old, had been in various clinics for 6 months. He was amputated at his local hospital because of gangrene on his big toe. He subsequently underwent lower leg amputation, sepsis and thigh amputation. Mr. A. was ventilated for several weeks in intensive care.
After his transfer to the nursing ward, the main nursing task was to provide basic nursing care and to motivate the patient.
Mr. A. was very withdrawn, almost apathetic, his eyes were usually closed, he often did not react to anyone speaking to him or asking questions. Most actions he just let happen, or he fended them off, grumbling. He had to be invited to do all of his own activities, such as washing his face. He almost never said anything of his own accord. I couldn’t make any real contact.
After I had cared for Mr. A. on three consecutive days and had familiarized myself a little with him and his medical history, I decided to offer Mr. A. a pentagram embrocation in the late morning. When I told him about the pentagram treatment, he remained indifferent.
Since I had no oil at hand, I used Esemtan skin lotion. I treated the missing leg as if it were there. Mr A.’s eyes were closed.

At the end of the treatment Mr. A. opened his eyes, looked at me with a clear gaze and said: “In the old days we would have said a witch.”
I left the room in amazement.
One hour later we entered the room again – for the handover at the bedside.
Shy but radiant, Mr. A. turned his gaze towards me: “I was just in a really wonderful place for awhile.”

Example case 2
Mr. Sch., 61 years old, had been living with the diagnosis schizophrenia for about 30 years and came to our Intermediate Care Unit for postoperative monitoring after thoracic surgery.
He had thoracic drains, infusions, and was connected to the monitor for monitoring. He suffered greatly from being tethered like this and was restless. Because of this he triggered a lot of alarms and became even more restless.
He was also extremely worried that he was not getting his usual medication in the situation after the operation: “Nurse, I’ve been in mental institutions many times, please give me my meds, or I’ll have to go back.” He repeated this sentence the whole afternoon, he talked almost continuously, also he feared that someone would steal his valuables. None of our patient persuading and reassuring helped. During the evening walkthrough I had a saving idea: to give him a pentagram embrocation.

Mr. Sch. reacted to my suggestion and explanation in a friendly and calm manner.
We were able to do it undisturbed in the evening twilight, as the patient next to him was asleep.
Mr Sch. watched me very closely.

At the end: – SILENCE – and then the words: “That is like being anointed by the Pope.”
Then he went to sleep almost immediately.

Example case 3
Mrs. G., 61 years old, had a threatening aneurysm operated on 5 months ago.
Since then, she’s been a hemiplegic with swallowing difficulties. With great energy and the support of family and friends she completed rehabilitation and was able to walk again. She got pleural empyema and had multiple thoracic surgeries. Then she resumed the rehabilitation measures and got a relapse empyema.
Finally, she was given a chest wall opening with rib resection to access the fist-sized empyema cavity. The cavity was rinsed and bandaged daily. Ms. G. currently weighs 47 kg and requires maximal help to cope with the tasks of daily life. Almost all the abilities gained in rehab have been lost again.
Her fighting spirit, optimism, humor, her strength for life and love are almost completely exhausted. She feels alienated and robbed of her dignity after being persuaded to accept an artificial diet via a nasogastric tube.

Mrs. G. blossomed for some time after the pentagram embrocation. Her cheeks reddened, her eyes flashed, she smiled, the deep crease between her eyes smoothed, all the tortured expression dissolved.
On my next late shift, she asked me for another such treatment: “This is the most beautiful night-time prayer that I know”, she said.

Several times I was able to grant Mrs. G. her wish.
The quality perceptible to me was not always the same.
Mrs. G. herself never mentioned the quality and her experience except the first time. But each time she thanked me with a happy smile and a few words and told me that she always sleeps very well after this treatment and wakes up refreshed and optimistic.

Example case 4
An 84-year-old patient was in the dying process. For one week she felt great fear and anxiety.
To calm and alleviate her fear, she was given a pentagram embrocation accompanied by lyre music.
In response to the treatment, a physical reaction occurred: the patient stretched her limbs far from her. Immediately after the treatment and the following day she was without fear and agitation.
The next day, she developed a fever and died peacefully, 2 days after the pentagram embrocation.




  • Batschko E-M. (2011). Einführung in die Rhythmischen Einreibungen nach Wegman/Hauschka. Stuttgart: Mayer; 2011.
  • Layer M (ed.) Praxishandbuch Rhythmische Einreibungen nach Wegman/Hauschka, 2nd ed. Bern: Verlag Hans Huber; 2014.
  • Vademecum Anthroposophische Arzneimittel, Aurum/Lavandula comp. Creme