External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Ginger Footbath

Kind of substance

Ginger powder

Guiding principle

The external application of ginger stimulates vigorous inner warmth in the body, which can spread to the periphery. The soul is invited to unite itself more intensively with the body, which can be seen in deepened inhalation, among other things. The patient can calm down.

From the point of view of the functional threefold nature of the human being, treating the feet (i.e., the motor-metabolic system) can bring relief to the neurosensory system. Ginger sustainably stimulates the body’s own warmth generation, in contrast to mustard, which causes short-lasting warming limited to the local area. Ginger foot baths stimulate warmth development locally, which then slowly spreads from below. This process in the lower part of the organism relieves the neurosensory system when it is intervening too strongly in the head, e.g., in chronic tension headaches or migraines. It is therefore particularly suitable for sustainable treatment of chronic conditions.

Indications

  • Bladder infections
  • Viral upper respiratory tract infections
  • Cold feet
  • Head colds
  • Headache
  • Beginning migraine
  • Sinusitis
  • Tension headache

Instructions

Particularities

  • When used to treat psychiatric disorders, patients should move after the footbath instead of resting.
  • Can stimulate circulation and increase blood pressure.


Materials:
  • Footbath tub
  • Warm water (approx. 38°C)
  • 1 bath towel
  • 1 hand towel
  • 1 foot mat
  • 3 heaped tablespoons ginger powder


Instructions:
  • Add the ginger powder to the water and stir in a figure-eight motion.
  • The patient sits on a chair while his knees are covered with the terrycloth towel, bathing his feet in the ginger bath for a maximum of 20 minutes.
  • Remove and dry the feet, then put on socks to keep them warm!
  • 30 minutes of post-treatment rest


Follow-up:
  • Empty the bath water into the toilet – avoid splashing it into your eyes!

Evidence
Well-proven in many patients
Dosage
For psychiatric patients, bathe the feet in the morning;
For tension headaches, the time of day is not so important. If possible, apply before the onset of symptoms
Onset of effect
Immediate
Length of therapy
Until improvement occurs; long-term prophylactic application is also possible
Warning
Attention: avoid eye contact with ginger water, see above
Contraindicated for skin diseases

Case example

A 35-year-old female patient with chronic migraine attacks (at least twice a month) and a borderline disorder was admitted to hospital. First she was treated with mustard footbaths at the beginning of her migraine attacks. However, the patient experienced this treatment as being too fast and too invasive. Switching to ginger footbaths brought comfortably warm legs and mental peace over several hours. This positive state of calm and warm legs reduced the tendency to migraine attacks and the chronic tension headache did not occur. This gave her a new sense of security. For many weeks she gave herself footbaths every day.
MM

Author

Red., MM

Bibliography

  • Vagedes J, et al. Effects of footbaths with mustard, ginger, or warm water only on objective and subjective warmth distribution in healthy subjects: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 41 (2018): 287–294.
  • Steiner R. Geisteswissenschaft und Medizin. (Erster Ärztekurs). GA 312. 7. ed. Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag; 1999. English translation: Steiner R. Introducing anthroposophical medicine. Great Barrington: Steiner Books; 2011.

Substances