Pads, compresses and wraps are very old (home) remedies that have been proven for thousands of years. Even Hippocrates (460-370 BC) and Galenas of Pergamon (129-199), the famous doctors of antiquity, describe the effect of hot compresses and mud wraps.
The knowledge of these applications, which also include herbal extracts, decoctions, clay, vinegar, essential oils and other additives, has been an integral part of folk medicine since the Middle Ages and has been passed down from generation to generation.
Indispensable home remedy
Wraps are the most important remedy, both in the home and in the first aid kit, because they can be used so diverse and effective. But many mothers today do not even know how to put on a wrap properly.
As a rule, a wrap consists of three cloths. On top of the skin comes the coarse linen cloth, over which is placed a dry cotton interlining. This is 4 cm / 1.5 in wider at the edges. The finishing touch is a warming wool or flannel fabric. All tissues must be made of natural fibers that can not cause heat or moisture build-up on the skin.
It is crucial that the wrap is properly tight, so that the temperature and the additives can optimally act on the contact point. There must also be no air chambers, as these can occasionally cause unwanted warming or cooling. Therefore – and because of the more comfortable seat – you should also make sure that none of the cloths crinkles.
This is still relatively easy with calf or arm wraps. By contrast, being able to create a joint or foot wrap wrinkle-free is already part of the art of wrapping. The trick here: The cloth is hit at each change of direction as far as necessary with a precisely drawn edge. The best is to tighten the fold between both hands and then put it on nice and smooth.
Compresses and pillows
The general term wrap is understood to mean, in addition to these classic covers, also pads and compresses. These do not cover the entire body part, but lie only on one side or partially. With their help, cold, warmth and soothing additives can be targeted and intensively applied to a specific part of the body. Even fango packs and pillows that are filled with herbs or peat soil can thus optimally unfold their effect.
Cold and warmth stimulation
All wraps operate by temperature. A cold envelope removes heat immediately and the body responds by stimulating the production of heat: the vessels narrow, the metabolism is stimulated and breathing accelerates.
This reaction lasts quite a while, when the cold stimulus has subsided after about five to ten minutes. As a result, with the increasing reheating not only relaxes the muscles at the support site, but the entire organism.
The effect of a cold wrap depends therefore crucially on the length of stay. In case of fever or bruises, it should serve to lower the temperature, reduce swelling and reduce pain. Therefore, it will be removed after about five minutes – before the reheating begins – and can be used several times in a row.
On the other hand, the cold loin wrap, which is used for chronic constipation, high blood pressure and sleep disturbances, lasts about 45 to 75 minutes – so that it can develop its relaxing effect.
Also, hot wraps, with which passive heat is supplied, loosen up the muscles and promote blood circulation. The thereby occurring vasodilation brings a blood pressure reduction and thus a relief of the cardiovascular system with it.
The effect of the various wraps and compresses is enhanced by proven additives that have a long tradition in folk medicine. Quark, for example, is a wonderful refrigerant that cools inflammation, sprains and bruises for a long time. Cooked potatoes, on the other hand, like moor or fango, are intensive heat carriers and can keep the temperature comfortable for about one hour in a chest wrap for coughing and bronchitis.
When applying quark, potatoes or other additives are coated directly on the inner fabric. This is folded into a packet so that there is only one layer of fabric between the skin and the paste, and then the wrap is applied as usual. In the kitchen, there are even more traditional additives for wraps: onions have a soothing effect on earache, cabbage cools inflamed joints and strained muscles, and at the same time it is supposed to pull the toxins out of the body.
Even herbs support with their healing ingredients. The easiest way to use is to make a tea from it and soak the inner cloth in the broth before putting it on. So thyme is suitable for a breast wrap in bronchitis and cold, chamomile reduces inflammation, horsetail calms itchy skin. Somewhat bigger is the effort of filling a herbal pillow, which can develop its active ingredients after steaming over boiling water in a pad.
A special form of affection
One thing you should not underestimate: With a wrap a child – and of course the adult – gets a very special form of affection, touch and security. This is just as important for the recovery process.
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