Castor oil has been used medicinally since ancient times for a broad range of ailments. For knee and shoulder pain with swelling and inflammation, organic castor oil has great healing benefits when used externally.
How Castor Oil Packs Work
External application of castor oil packs are known to increase lymph circulation and promote elimination of toxins your body doesn’t need, while also promoting the healing of tissues and organs underneath the skin. The pack has the potential to stimulate the liver – your main detox organ, relieve sensations of pain, increase lymphatic circulation, reduce local inflammation and improve digestion, no matter where it is placed on your body. The castor oil can easily penetrate the skin and enter your bloodstream to move systemically throughout your body and do its work. So, you can imagine packs can greatly influence the area of the knee and shoulder areas to help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
With pain issues from acute or chronic issues, often I request patients use castor oil packs daily on their affected body part for several consecutive days. This repetition of castor oil, especially when combined with heat using a heating pad or bottle, improves many of the symptoms of pain, swelling and inflammation. You can do multiple applications of several days at a time until the problems reduce.
You should NOT use this method if you’ve recently had surgery, stitches or open wounds at the application sites, or if you have a known sensitivity to castor oil. If you are not dealing with those issues, using packs at the knees or shoulders should not have any negative side effects. If you do react to the oil after the first application though, do not continue.
If you would like to use castor oil packs but are uncertain if they are a good choice for you, please contact me at AcuPlus for advice.
Making a Castor Oil Pack
You will need:
- a bottle of organic Castor Oil – choose organic so you have less toxins entering your body
- an old piece of flannel or a dish towel that you do not mind staining
- a piece of plastic wrap or a small plastic bag big enough to cover the piece of cloth
- a hot water bottle or heating pad
- a plastic bag to store the stained towel in for future use
- to wear old clothes or something you don’t mind possibly staining
Using a Castor Oil Pack
- Drizzle castor oil on a piece of flannel or an old, soft dishtowel. Do not soak the towel.
- Place the towel with the castor oil on it over the affected body part – this will most likely be behind the knee, on the front of the knee or anywhere on the shoulders.
- Cover the towel with the plastic wrap and then place a heating pad or hot water bottle over the combination. The plastic will help you avoid staining your heating pad.
- Rest with the pack in place for 15 – 25 minutes.
- Remove the towel and plastic, clean yourself off, and put the oil and towel in a plastic bag to reuse.
- Store the pack, in the bag, in the refrigerator. This pack may be reused up to 3 or 4 times.
Castor Oil Packs have been used in to treat pain and inflammation for centuries. This tool is often an excellent addition to other things you are doing to improve your knee and/or shoulder function, such as supplements for muscle relaxation, natural anti-inflammatories and acupuncture. I would love to hear if using castor oil packs with heat works well for you.