Bridge to Health Blog
Bridge to Health Blog

Boosting your body's immune system and managing fever: The Cold Compress

Written by Mathieu Rossano   Posted in:Lifestyle   November 12, 2010

At this time of year, many of the families we treat in Ealing and Uxbridge are steeling themselves for yet another round of stiff medication as parents or children contract various chest infections, flu or viruses

At home, we tend to use one very powerful form of non-medicated treatment, frequently used to excellent effect a couple of generations ago, now sadly forgotten: the cold compress.

Applied in the right manner and at the right time, cold compresses stimulate key waste elimination organs such as the liver and kidneys, whipping up the organism’s ability to evacuate not only disease-related toxins, but also the residue of medication that the body has been unable to process.

Cold compresses also help to curb a high fever, bringing it down to a safer level where it can actually assist in the cleansing and recovery process!

Instructions for use are very simple indeed:

  • Keep the couple of old cotton sheets and woollen pullovers you were about to throw away;
  • for each member of the family, cut a first strip of cotton wide enough to overlap the lower third of the rib cage and the upper abdomen (covering both liver and kidneys), and long enough to wrap around the body a couple of times; then a second strip to fit around the neck in a similar fashion;
  • Cut two strips of wool that will fit comfortably around the body and neck lengthwise, and overlap the cotton by one inch each side on the width to isolate the cold compress;
  • Make sure the person is warm before applying the compresses;
  • Soak the cotton in cold water, wring it to the point where it is no longer dripping, apply around the neck and waist, swiftly covering it with the wool surround which is secured with a couple of safety pins;
  • Cover up the person warmly and bundle them off to bed, where they may rapidly fall asleep…
  • After 10 minutes, run a finger under each compress to check that the skin underneath is warm and reactive; in those rare cases where the skin is cold and clammy (and the person may be shivering), the immune system may be too run down to use the compress to good effect; in such cases, you will need to take the compresses off and wrap your home-patient up extra-warmly with a hot drink;
  • Where no adverse reaction is noted, leave the compress on overnight or until dry;
  • Keep repeating every night (and two-three times during the day if the person is staying at home) until full recovery.

The waist compress is a staple treatment whenever our children (or their parents!) are unwell and have a fever, and we’ll add a neck compress when they are coughing and spluttering – So far, we have thankfully been spared the need to administer any stronger form of medication, and we’ve noted that our children tend to recover faster than most of their pals.

Bridge to Health are registered osteopaths in Ealing (on The Green, 3 minutes walk from Ealing Broadway) and Uxbridge (On Uxbridge High Street, inside Fitness First). If you have any questions about cold compresses please contact us (email or telephone 020 8566 0767 (Ealing) or 01895 20050 Uxbridge).

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