External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Rosemary Copper Diaphragm Compress

Kind of substance

Oleum aetherum Rosmarini 10% ointment & Cuprum met. praep. 0.4% ointment

Guiding principle for the application

The substances contained in Rosemary, especially its essential oils, make the soul inclined to connect with the body. The processes activated by rosemary have a stimulating and harmonizing effect on the encounter between the soul body and the physical and etheric bodies. This affects the patient’s circulation, especially the arterial peripheral vessels. By deepening the patient’s breathing, they also have a balancing effect on all life processes.
The plant’s bitter substances and tannins also awaken and strengthen the vital forces. Rosemary therefore has a strong, overall incarnating effect.

Copper strengthens local warming processes, which allow a person to be sensitively present in their body. This warmth promotes flow in blood circulation processes and body tissues, or, in the case of stoppages (such as tension, cramps or disturbed respiration) promotes release.
For the rosemary copper diaphragm compress we use Cuprum metallicum praeparatum, i.e., a form of copper whose cosmic aspect has been pharmaceutically enhanced.

The diaphragm is a muscular septum between the chest and abdomen, with two dome-shaped protrusions into the chest, reaching up to the sternum. It is thus a movable boundary between the upper and lower human being. At the same time it is a mediator between the two.
The diaphragm is in direct organic contact with the metabolic organs via respiration and with the brain via the cerebrospinal fluid. It transmits to them the rhythmic activity of breathing, thereby also transmitting the warming and relaxing effect of copper and the warming and activating power of rosemary contained in the rosemary copper diaphragm compress. It deepens the person's breathing, gives it space and leads it to its rightful center.

Patients say: “My strength is increasing again” – “I feel myself centered again”.

This compress originates from the research work of the Clinic for Homeotherapy affiliated with Klinikum Heidenheim and was originally an idea of Klas Diederich.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Compensation of damages to the rhythmic system caused by civilization
  • Exhaustion (see example case 2)
  • Fatigue syndrome (see example case 2)
  • Poor concentration
  • Reconvalescence
  • To give rhythm and depth to respiration (see example case 1)
  • Sleep disorders (see example case 2)
  • Situations of psychological distress (e.g., grief, exam anxiety, stage fright)


There is also an Instructional video for this compress


  • The selection of the cloths differs from the standard, as there is no woolen outer cloth
  • This compress should be applied around midday, but at least 45 minutes before or after food. If possible, avoid applying after 6:00 pm.

Cloth length:
The length of both cloths should be adapted to the patient’s upper abdominal girth: they should overlap a maximum of 10 cm directly above the solar plexus (not more – so as not to hinder respiration).
  • Intermediate cloth (= outer cloth for this compress): length to fit the patient, width (folded double) approx. 25 cm
  • Inner cloth: length also to fit the patient, plus 10 cm overlap. Width: fold into 2–3 layers to make a compress about 12 cm wide (hand width)
  • Rosemary 10% oil
  • Cuprum met. praep. 0.4% oil

Warm the cuprum oil bottle in your hand and shake well until the sedimented copper is evenly distributed in the oil
  • Drizzle oil onto the prepared inner cloth as follows:
  • Spread 15–20 drops of rosemary oil and 10–15 drops of cuprum oil over the entire surface of the inner cloth, but leave out the overlap
  • Fold the oily side of the cloth inwards, so that the substances can spread well
  • Briefly warm up the cloth to body temperature, preferably on the patient’s body (if necessary, use a freezer bag to protect textiles).
  • Have the patient sit up, unbuckle his or her belt, women should open their brassiere
  • Place the intermediate cloth on the bed at the level of the upper abdomen
  • Place the unfolded substance cloth on the intermediate cloth
  • Have the patient lie down, with both cloths under the lower rib arches
  • Bring the ends of the substance cloth to the front and lay them on top of each other
  • Immediately mold the intermediate cloth over it to hold it in place
  • Settle the patient (see “General Instructions”)

  • Duration: 30 minutes, then remove everything, even if the patient is asleep, working particularly quietly but quickly to disturb the patient’s sleep as little as possible
  • Post-treatment rest: 30 minutes (up to 1 hour and longer, as long as the sleep is deep and beneficial)

  • The substance cloth can be stored in a freezer bag and used several times or over a longer period of time.
  • When it no longer has an aroma or feels oily, dribble on approx. 5 more drops of each oil.

Well-proven in many patients – both in inpatient and outpatient settings
1 x daily until improvement occurs, then less often, usually 3x/week, later 2x/week
Onset of effect
Possible after the first application
Length of therapy
In accord with the doctor, until the patient’s condition stabilizes
Too much rosemary and/or copper oil on the cloths can lead to an unpleasant oppressive experience of heat. Patients who are particularly exhausted or sensitive may experience the compress as strenuous and therefore distressing. You can then switch to circular application at diaphragm height (from both sides of the spine forward) or pause the compress until the patient has developed a stronger vegetative (etheric) basis; such as through liver compresses or other measures.

Instructions to download

Case example

Example case 1
A 52-year-old patient with relapsing multiple sclerosis was admitted to the Clinic for Homeotherapy affiliated with Klinikum Heidenheim with suspicion of an acute relapse. He received a rosemary copper diaphragm compress as part of combined conventional and anthroposophic medical treatment.
Speaking specifically about the diaphragm compress he said:
“I can’t believe how I can breathe more freely in the compress.” “After the compress I can feel how I can move better and my strength is increasing.”

Example case 2
A young inpatient (see above) with fatigue syndrome and depression, as well as a reduced general condition with severe exhaustion, expressed the need to “get centered” and regain her strength. The compress was given to stimulate her rhythmic system and deepen her breathing. The patient experienced improved warmth, calmer and more balanced respiration, improved sleep and increased strength. She felt that she could “dive in well” during the diaphragm compress and the post-treatment rest. She summed up the effect in the following words: “I feel myself centered again”.


Red., AL, BH, MK, SF