Ginger Compress

ginger compress and ginger in macrobiotics


Ginger has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory properties along with helping to reduce nausea. It also has a stimulating influence and can help blood circulation.

Research has suggested that eating a 1cm cube of ginger root daily can be as effective as medication in terms of reducing inflammation in arthritic knees.

Ginger has also been tested positively for its properties in reducing nausea, with favourable results reported for motion sickness.

It is commonly used in the east to stimulate the appetite and calm the stomach, where it may partially neutralise stomach acids.

Ginger is considered yang and to have the properties of the five element metal, in Chinese medicine.


You can add grated ginger to juices, teas, soups, stir fries and stews. Either grate fine or cut into thin slices. In Japan pickled ginger is typically served with sushi and sashimi to aid digestion and clean the palette between sushi.

ginger compress

In addition hot ginger water can be applied directly to the skin. Some of the ginger will be absorbed through the skin locally. This is known as a ginger compress.

Ginger compresses can be used over swellings, arthritic joints, painful muscles, and parts of body that suffer from poor circulation or cold. It is often used over the kidneys to stimulate circulation.

A ginger compress can effectively be part of a massage. This is achieved by massaging through the ginger compress or by scrubbing the skin with the ginger compress.

how to apply a ginger compress


Grate enough ginger to form the size of a golf ball. You can use a blender.

Put the ginger into a large sieve.

Heat a pan of water so that it is about 80C or 180F. Lower the sieve into the water and let the ginger sit for about 5 minutes.

Take out the sieve.

Fold a small cotton towel in half and lower into the water. Keep the ends of the towel out of the water and dry.

Place a long chopstick or wooden spoon through the fold in the towel.

Lift the towel out of the water with the chopstick resting in the fold of the towel.

Twist the ends of the towel and chopstick so that hot ginger water is squeezed out of the towel back into the pan.

Once the towel is hot and damp, unwind and take out the chopstick.


Have your friend lying down ready for the ginger compress.

Once the towel is at a safe temperature very gently let it touch the skin of your friend.

Carefully test by moving the towel across the skin.

Once the towel feels comfortable rest it on your friend.

Put another larger dry towel over the ginger compress to keep the heat in.

Once your friend feel the temperature drop a little, start to massage through the towels. This creates a hot ginger massage. See giving a shiatsu for more ideas.

As soon as the ginger cools, remove the dry towel and take the ginger compress back to the pot and immerse in the hot ginger water again. You may need to keep the water warm with a very low flame.

Repeat several times until the area feels hot.

ginger body scrub

To finish you can fold the ginger compress towel into a ball and rub the area to combine a massage with skin scrub.


Cover the areas of skin to keep warm and let your friend rest.

note for the person receiving the ginger compress

Try to use the experience as an awareness, meditation or mindfulness exercise. See if you can stay in your senses and be very aware of the feeling of the ginger compress and massage. Be sure to guide your friend on how hot you like the compress to be and when it needs changing.

Simon is available for online or in person macrobiotic consultations to help you resolve health issues with natural remedies.