How to Apply Compress

How to Apply Compress

  • To apply a compress, cover the target area with a dilution of essential oil.  Take your time and let the oil soak into the skin.  You may reapply it until it has coated the skin completely.
  • Next, cover the cover the area with a hot, damp towel.  Be aware of the temperature–it should be hot, but not hot enough to burn!  Cover the damp towel with another dry towel.
  • Allow the moist heat to drive the oils into the skin for 10 to 15 minutes.  If you are compressing a large area, such as the spine, you may need to reheat the towel once if it gets too cool.
  • When the compress feels complete, around 15 to 30 minutes, remove the towels and lightly dry off any residual oil or moisture.

Compresses can be applied to the kidneys, liver, upper abdomen, lower abdomen, thyroid, heart, spine, feet, injuries, sinus area, neck, throat, temples, etc.

They are helpful for relieving the symptoms of colds , flu, and respiratory infection; headaches, migraines, arthritis pain, back pain, myofascia pain, bone pain, and nerve pain; and for relieving stress and creating deep relaxation.  They can be helpful for a great variety of conditions, according to the oils you are using.

If you are using a compress on the spine, you may want to begin by “opening” the feet with a light coating of oil.  This helps to ground the nervous system and enhance the healing process.  Be sure to cover the feet afterward so they do not get chilled.

A Longer Treatment

When the damp, hot towel is applied, cover it first with a hot water bottle, then cover with a dry towel and blanket.  This is great for compresses for pain, colds or flu, and deep relaxation.

Hot or Cold?

Heat is the preferred choice for most forms of treatment.  Cool or even cold water can be used with injuries that have a lot of swelling or inflammation, as heat will tend to increase the inflammation.

Fever, and a feeling of being overheated will also benefit more from a cool compress.


When applying on the head or near eyes, be careful  not to get any oil in the eyes.  It will sting!  (Use a cotton ball dipped into milk to rub across closed eyelid, to remove oil if it does get in the eyes).

A great way to compress the eyes, is to drop several drops of essential oil into a bowl of warm water.  Dip a washcloth into the bowl, then wring it out until it is just damp, no longer dripping.  Place the cloth loosely over closed eyes and allow the oils to work without contacting eyes directly.

It is very common for the receiver to feel tingling, or a light burning sensation.  This is an indication that the oils are working, and may move around from one location to another.  If it becomes too uncomfortable for a very sensitive person, the sensation can be stopped by dusting corn starch over the skin to remove the oil.  (This will stop the process of the oil compress).

Please read our disclaimer.

1 Comment

  • Kathryn May 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

    This e-mail was sent to me just recently.

    Here is the story of a “valuable essential oil related discovery for me.  Yesterday I was given a very high quality massage, and the therapist used only vegetable oil.  This is the first time in a couple years that I have had a massage without employing your essential oils.  It was totally clear to me that, in the absence of essential oils, powerful dimensions/opportunities were lost.  I realized that the effects were “flat” without our oils that are making so many healing and beneficial contributions on so many levels.
    Thank you for finding, committing to using and sharing these wonderful plant spirit gifts.



Leave a Comment