Using Spring Wind Soft Plasters and Compresses

Soft Plasters:
Spread the soft plaster evenly on a gauze pad at a thickness of about one-eighth of an inch.  Place the dressing on the affected area and secure with tape or a gauze bandage.  Change the application once a day.  Do not apply the dressing too tightly; it should maintain contact with the skin but not hinder circulation or cause pain.  The efficacy of the soft plaster can be increased by crushing fresh herbs such as dandelion, hibiscus leaves or chrysanthemum leaves and mixing them into the soft plaster just prior to its application.

Place an herb pack in four cups of water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  Immediately put the water (with herb bag still immersed) in an appropriately sized basin and hold the affected limb over the steaming liquid.  When the decoction cools enough to allow the patient to bath the affected limb, the traumatized region should be totally immersed.  Total soak-steam time should be twenty to twenty-fiveminutes.  This procedure should be performed two times a day.  Adding two tablespoons of rice wine to the water at the beginning of the process will enhance the effect of the steam-soak.  The liquid can be re-heated and used for three to four days.

For large areas or for multiple injuries the above doses can be doubled.

The herb bags can be used as hot compresses at the end of the soaking process.

Steam-soaks as a Compress:
Many areas, such as the shoulder, knee, hip and back, are difficult to soak.  In such cases, cook an herb pack in two cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer 25 minutes.  Remove the bag and as soon as it cools enough to apply place it on the affected spot.  Put a hot-pack or a hot water bottle over the compress to keep it hot and leave on for twenty to twenty-five minutes.  Adding two tablespoons of rice wine to the water at the beginning of the process will enhance the effect.

It is important to cover the region that has been treated with the soak or compress.  In most cases a soft plaster or plaster will be applied after a steam soak thus fulfilling this requirement.  If however, no dressing is to be applied the patient must otherwise cover the traumatized region and protect it from wind and cold.

Contraindications and Cautions:
Steam-soak should not be used to treat areas that are still swollen.  Care must be taken to avoid scalding.  Ideally, the soak water or compress should be as hot as the patient can tolerate but not so hot that it burns the skin.


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