THE HEATING COMPRESS
The use of a heating compress involves the application of a cold, wet cloth— covered by a dry cloth—to a body part, which heats up the treated area. The compress consists of two parts:  a wet inner cotton flannel cloth or other loosely woven material of one or two thicknesses and  a dry outer wool cloth or other tightly woven material. The cold, wet inner cloth is applied directly to the skin surface. The dry outer cloth is then applied directly on top of the inner cloth.
The outer cloth must be snuggly applied, and it must completely cover the inner cloth in order to exclude the air and heat up the compress. As the compress warms up, the heat causes the blood vessels in the skin to expand or dilate. The increased blood flow to the skin surface relieves congestion—the accumulation of blood—in the tissues below the surface of the treated part.
The heating compress may be used for the following conditions:
␣ Tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, earache
␣ Pain and inflammation of arthritis, rheumatic fever, trauma
␣ Congestion or coughs from colds or flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, croup, whooping cough, asthma
␣ Constipation, hepatitis, inflammation of the small or large bowel, nausea of pregnancy, colic, difficulty sleeping, nervous conditions
␣ The same indications as the hot foot bath.
Feet Treatment Precautions
• Do not use the cold, wet compress if the patient is not vigorous enough to warm it up; use a dry or medicated compress instead.
• Do not make the compress so tight that it is uncomfortable or that it interferes with the circulation or blood flow to the treated body part.
• An inner cloth wide enough to completely cover the treated area and long enough to wrap completely around the body part
• An outer cloth wider than the inner cloth by 1/2 inch (1 to 2 centimeters) on each side
• Safety pins to hold the outer part of the compress in place
1.Preparation for treatment
• Have the room warm and free of cold drafts. The patient must be warm
before applying the heating compress. (Give a hot foot bath, if needed, to
warm the body.) • Explain to the patient that the compress will be cold at first, but that it
will warm up in a short time.
• Immerse the inner cloth in cold water; squeeze out all excess water. • Quickly apply the cold, wet inner cloth to the body part being treated. • Immediately cover the inner cloth with the dry outer cloth. Pin the outer cloth securely in place. Check the wet, inner cloth after 30 minutes to be sure that it is warming up. • The cold, wet inner cloth may be replaced with a dry or medicated cloth. Make a medicated compress by applying a liniment or medicated salve underneath the dry inner cloth. • Leave the compress in place for several hours or overnight. If the compress is left on overnight, it will be dry by morning.
3. Completion of treatment
• In the morning, remove the compress and briskly rub the treated area with a cold washcloth.
• Dry the area thoroughly. Keep the patient warm and comfortable.
Alternative Treatment Procedures
␣ The cold, wet inner cloth may be replaced with a charcoal poultice. For earache, apply the heating compress up close to the ears. Half of a steamed warm onion wrapped in a loosely woven cloth may be placed directly over the ear.
␣ The cold, wet inner cloth may be replaced with a charcoal poultice or a poultice of grated raw potato or cabbage.
␣ See the illustration on page 43 for the method of applying the heating compress to the chest. The cold, wet inner cloth may be replaced with a raw grated or steamed onion poultice.
␣ Place the dry outer cloth on the bed. Lay the cold, wet inner cloth on top of the dry outer cloth. Have the patient lie on top of the compress with its lower edge below the patient’s hipbones. Wrap the compress snuggly over the abdomen. The inner cloth may be replaced with a charcoal poultice.
␣ Before going to bed, put on a pair of thin, wet cotton socks. Cover them completely with a pair of dry wool socks. The feet must be warm before applying this treatment!
HEATING COMPRESS FOR CHEST
1. Wrap the chest with a cool, moist flannel cloth. A sleeveless cotton undershirt may also be used.
2. Completely cover the moist compress with a dry wool or tightly woven cloth. Avoid air spaces by pinning the outer cloth securely in place.
3. Apply a heating compress to the throat. 4. Cover the entire chest and arms with a snug, long-sleeved sweater.