The Problem with the Castor Bath The first time I went to Mysore to study with my yoga teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, in 1993, I noticed that he was often prescribing castor oil baths. He suggested that we lather our bodies in castor on Saturdays-which is the day we don't practice-- in order to detoxify the body from all of the heat or inflammation that showed up in our bodies from yoga practice and various other toxins that we took in, either through food, water, or any of the offenses our bodies experienced through living and eating in India. The problem with the castor bath is that it is so darn messy. It stains your clothing and is impossible to scrub out of the shower and bath. And on top of that, in order to get the castor off of the whole body, you have to use gram flour or soap nut. Yuck!!! While I do think that a castor bath has amazing effects on the body, it's a mess. However, I know from experience that castor is an amazing tool to both detoxify the body and alleviate tightness, stiffness, and chronic pain. Used in conjunction with heat, Castor has a salve-like quality. It draws out toxins from the organs, muscles and skin. The heat dilates the blood vessels, thus increasing circulation through the area of discomfort. The combination of increased circulation and the salve-like quality promotes quick healing and really eases pain and inflammation, showing up as pain and stiffness, irritability, liver inflammation, loose stools and constipation, irregular menstruation, and cysts, and fever.
The Castor Oil Pack
The castor bath can be replaced by castor oil pack. Castor oil packs are made by soaking a piece of flannel or a paper towel in castor oil and placing it on the skin. The flannel or paper towel is covered with a sheet of plastic, a towel and then a hot water bottle is placed over the plastic to heat the pack. It is easy to do, easy to clean up, location specific, and very, very relaxing.
A castor oil pack can be placed on the following body regions:
A) The right side of the abdomen. Castor oil packs are sometimes recommended by alternative practitioners as part of a liver detox program. B) Inflamed and swollen joints, bursitis, and muscle strains. C) The abdomen to relieve constipation and other digestive disorders. D) The lower abdomen and lower back in cases of menstrual irregularities, uterine and ovarian cysts, and pain.
Castor oil should not be taken internally. It should not be applied to broken skin. It should not be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or during menstruation.
A)Three layers of undyed wool or cotton flannel large enough to cover the affected area. A paper towel will do, in case you don't have flannel. B) Castor oil C) Plastic wrap cut one to two inches larger than the flannel or paper towel (can be cut from a plastic bag) D) Hot water bottle E) Old clothes, sheets and towel. Castor oil does stain clothing, bedding, and towels.
1. Soak the flannel or paper towel in castor oil so that it is saturated, but not dripping.
2. Place the it over the affected body part.
3. Cover with plastic. And place a towel over the plastic to moderate the heat. The more folds in the towel, the more separate the hot water bottle is from the skin. Heat should redden the skin but not burn it. The point of the heat is to dilate the blood vessels in the area, thus, increasing circulation to it.
4. Place the hot water bottle over the towel. Leave it on for 45-60 minutes. Rest while the pack is in place.
5. After removing the pack, cleanse the area with the towel. Be sure the towel is old because the castor WILL stain it.
Please drop a line to let me know how it goes...