One of my favorite cleansing tools, castor oil packs, were also one of the favorite healing tools of Edgar Cayce, who has been called the father of holistic medicine.
Castor oil packs are a wonderful way to gently cleanse the body, relieve inflammation, and induce a state of deep relaxation conducive to cleansing and healing.
They are extremely gentle and supportive for almost everyone.
***NOTE**I do NOT recommend using castor oil internally – this is an external/topical treatment.
Do you know why we build up a toxic load in the body in the first place?
Obviously toxins are everywhere in our modern world as I talked about last week in my post 5 Tips to Take Your Shower to the Next Level ~ Lymphatically & Spiritually.
Yet stress is a major contributing factor to toxic overload.
When we are stressed out and our nervous system is stuck in the “ON” position most of the time, the body can’t cleanse & detoxify properly. We need to go into deep relaxation – deep “rest & digest” at night when we are sleeping in order for the body to go through it’s natural detox cycle each day.
The reality is that many of us just aren’t getting into that deeply relaxed state, even when we’re asleep.
Last year I had a client come to me who had been suffering for over six years with toxicity symptoms since she went through chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. She would regularly spend entire days completely incapacitated and vomiting due to the toxicity & trauma in her system. Castor oil packs were one of the treatments we brought in to support her recovery along with homeopathic drainage remedies, a change in diet and many hours of working privately in session to get her nervous system to relearn how to relax again. I’m very pleased to say that she is no longer suffering with most of the symptoms she had less than a year ago and has really gotten her life back in so many ways. Obviously this miraculous recovery wasn’t only due to the castor oil packs, but I do believe they are an excellent support for almost any healing protocol.
The foundation of any really good cleanse or detox is deep rest and relaxation.
I believe this is something that is not emphasized enough in the modern world of quick cleanses, and as spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere it is a good time to start thinking about how to support our body to cleanse.
Traditional people living close to the land would usually do some kind of cleanse/detox process in the spring time to clear out any stagnant energy from winter.
And yet your body cannot even begin to properly cleanse itself until it is in a relaxed ‘rest and digest’ state. (As opposed to ‘fight or flight’/ON, the state in which most people in modern society spend much of their lives!)
Castor oil is wonderful here because it contains prostaglandins, which promote the relaxed ‘rest and digest’ state our body needs to detox & heal.
Prostaglandins in castor oil also help to reduce inflammation directly in the tissue and organs where they are absorbed.
As research now show, chronic inflammation is a major contributing factor to cancer and other serious illness.
Research also shows castor oil increases lymphocyte count.
We talked about the lymphatic system and other ways to cleanse lymph last week also.
Lymphocytes speed up removal of toxins from tissues and the rate at which healing can occur.
Castor oil also contributes to a smooth flowing lymphatic system free from toxic build up.
So castor oil supports deep relaxation into our optimal cleansing ‘rest and digest’ state, removes toxins by increasing lymphocyte production and reduces inflammation directly in the tissue via the action of prostaglandins.
I recommend doing a castor pack 2-3 times per week to support regular cleansing.
I do think the most powerful way of using castor oil is the tried and true method of the castor oil pack. The castor pack allows this healing oil to penetrate deeply into the liver and gastro-intestinal tract removing toxins, reducing inflammation and relieving constipation.
Using Castor Oil Packs
I prefer to do my castor packs at bedtime as it is difficult to fit it into a normal busy day and as someone who for many years struggled with insomnia, this is a time when I really want my body to deeply relax.
It is highly beneficial if you can lay with your butt against the wall and legs up the wall as this allows lymphatic fluids to drain into the belly and also supports the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ state you are intending. You may want to place an old towel underneath you to keep any drips from staining your sheets.
1. Use 2 to 4 layers of wool or cotton flannel big enough to cover the right half of the belly.
2. Saturate the flannel with hexane-free castor oil. Make sure the cloth is well saturated but not dripping. Alternatively you can massage castor oil into your whole belly and then add another thick layer and place the flannel over top of this.
3. Place the cloth on the right side of the abdomen so that it covers the liver down to the cecum (lower part of the ascending colon). When you are treating constipation or menstrual cramps cover the whole belly.
4. Place plastic wrap over the flannel (the oil will stain clothing), and/or you can wear an old t-shirt or pyjama top over top of the plastic. Apply heat with a hot water bottle or heat pack. Cover with a towel over the heating pad to keep the heat inward. I’ve actually taken an old wool sweater and cut off the arms and top part so it is a kind of tube that goes over my torso and keeps the heat and the oil in. It’s very cozy 🙂
5. Keep the castor oil pack on for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours
6. After removal of the pack or in the morning, you can cleanse the skin with a baking-soda solution (two teaspoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water). This will clean off the toxins expelled through the pores. I also like to dry-brush and then shower in the morning (as per last weeks article) to take the cleanse deeper.
7.Use the abdominal packs cyclically: 3 days on and 4 days off.
8. You can re-use the same pack many times, applying new castor oil each time. After about 10 uses (3 weeks or so) it can be laundered and ready for more use, or you can chuck it and make a new one if you don’t want to bother with the very oily cloth in your laundry. You can easily find old flannel sheets at your local thrift store and each sheet makes a year’s worth of castor packs, so personally I don’t find it’s worth the hassle to wash.
If you DO wash it though, make sure you wash flannel and towels seperately, as the castor oil smell will transfer to clothing etc washed with them.
One of the best things about doing castor packs a few times per week is it is a deep self-care practice which we often miss in our busy lives. Taking time out for this practice will not only help your body stay healthy & happy – you will feel more relaxed and peaceful having just taken time out for you. YOU’RE WORTH IT!!!
I love to hear from you – do you have any questions or comments about castor oil or castor oil packs? Are you going to or have you tried this practice before?