by Allan Tomson
We live in a medical culture of high-tech and low touch, machines beeping, computer readouts and people in white coats. Yet here sits the humble castor oil pack. No wires to plug in and nothing to wear out. This amazing remedy has been used therapeutically in ancient India, China, Persia, Egypt, Africa and the Americas. In modern times, castor oil has been valued by industry as a lubricant for high-speed engines as it can withstand high temperatures.
The castor oil pack was brought to the attention of many through the works of Edgar Cayce, the early 20th century healer. As a folk remedy, the castor oil pack is as simple as it gets. It’s basically a hot compress used primarily on the abdomen, although it can be used on other body areas, as well. Cayce said about the packs, “The best use is for improving both assimilations and eliminations in the digestive system.”
Even today, the most common usage is for small and large intestine problems. The liver is a common organ to use it on as an aid for detoxification. The second most common recommendation by Cayce is for adhesions and scar tissue softening.
It is quite simple to use a castor oil pack. Because the oil is thick and viscous (and sticky!) it is suggested that you put down an old towel to lie on—and have a few paper towels close by. You will need a heating pad with a removable cover or some plastic wrap to protect the pad. Start by pouring castor oil on the body part being worked on. Use a good amount (several tablespoons) and immediately cover the area with wool flannel. On top of that goes the plastic wrap, an old towel or the heating pad with the cover removed. Stay in this position (on your back) for one hour. Clean up is recommended with the Castor Clean or warm soapy water.
Cayce frequently recommended applying them four days in a row, taking one day off then four more days of packs.
Dr. Allan Tomson, D.C., is the executive director of Neck, Back & Beyond Healing Arts, an integrative wellness center, in Fairfax, with a satellite office in Manassas. He has expertise and experience in functional medicine, visceral manipulation, cranial sacral therapy and Cayce protocols. For more information on castor oil packs, call him at 703-865-5690 or visit NeckBackAndBeyond.com.