treatment

Healing Castor Oil Packs

Healing Castor Oil Packs

By Jill Edwards, ND, LM

Castor oil is absorbed through the skin and is an essential part of removing toxins and regulating inflammation. This treatment can improve the function of your liver and gallbladder, promotes digestion by improving gut motility, all while helping with relaxation and stress management.  As with any new treatment, please check with your doctor to make sure this treatment is appropriate for you.  Castor oil packs should be done for at least 20-40 minutes, four to seven times a week.

 Directions

  • Pour castor oil onto flannel until it is well moistened but not dripping.
  • Place the flannel over your entire abdomen.
  • Cover with plastic wrap to prevent staining of clothes or bedding. Castor oil does not easily wash out.
  • Apply a hot water bottle or warmed flax seed bag over the treatment area.
  • Apply for 20-40 minutes. A good time to do this treatment is in bed at night accompanied with a healing visualization and deep breathing exercises. Whatever your preference, find a way to work it into your daily routine.
  • Store the flannel pack and plastic wrap in a glass container or Ziploc bag at room temperature. When the flannel begins to feel dry, apply more oil. This flannel and oil may be used for a few months. When the oil smells rancid or off, the pack should be replaced.
  • To remove castor oil, wash skin or towel in a solution of 3 tablespoons baking soda/quart of water.

Alternatives to the Castor Oil Pack

The method above is the most effective method for getting the most out of your castor oil experience. However, there are alternatives if this method is not working into your routine. The most important thing is to have castor oil on your skin regularly.

Rub a small amount of castor oil directly on to your abdomen, then take a hot bath or go to bed and allow the castor oil to soak in overnight. You will want to wear an old t-shirt to bed if you use this method as castor oil does stain. You can still cuddle up with a hot water bottle as you fall asleep to improve the action of the castor oil.

A Special Message to Patients of Naturopathic Doctors

  • Does your insurance plan not cover NDs?
  • Does it have an annual cap of $1,000, $1,500 or some other amount on services of all “alternative care providers?”
  • Do labs ordered by your ND apply to your annual cap?
  • Did you have to purchase more expensive insurance in order to get better coverage of your ND?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your insurance plan may be operating illegally, and we need your help to bring them into compliance with the law!

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a provision called “Section 2706 – Provider Non-Discrimination.” Insurance plans issued on or after January 1, 2014 are now prohibited from discriminating against providers like naturopathic physicians (and acupuncurists, chiropractors, etc) in either coverage in your plan benefits, or participation as an “in-network” provider.

 

If you are seeing your ND for a service or condition that your insurer would ordinarily cover if you were to see an MD or other provider, than your insurer must by law also now cover your ND – at a minimum as an out-of-network provider. This applies to ALL PLANS except for medicare.

 

What You Can Do TODAY to Help Bring Insurers Into Compliance!

 

Oregon’s Insurance Commissioner has requested that we file formal complaints any time a patient or doctor identifies a plan or insurer that seems to be discriminating against naturopathic doctors.

 

  1. File complaints at www.cbs.state.or.us/ins/consumer/tomake.html or call 1-888-877-4894 and select the Life & Health option
    1. Detail how your plan covers (or doesn’t) your naturopathic doctor with different limitations, restrictions, or caps than other doctors
    2. State that Section 2706 of the ACA prohibits this kind of provider discrimination
    3. Ask the Commissioner to ENFORCE THE LAW

 

Examples of discrimination might be (select any of the following or write in your own):

  • Not covering ND services at all, even as an out-of-network provider.
  • Applying a $1,000 or other annual cap for services that are identical to those of other providers not subject to this cap.
  • Applying labs and diagnostic imaging against a different “alternative care” cap instead of applying it to the plan’s normal deductible.
  • Refusing to pay for a pharmaceutical, lab, or diagnostic imaging where it would be covered when done by another provider.
  • Not covering mandated routine preventive screenings like mammograms, etc.
  • ND is in-network with insurer but some plans offered by insurer deny coverage of services by ND (i.e., you can see an ND in the Silver plan, but not the Bronze plan).
  • Reimbursement rates for same quality and performance of services done by an ND are substantially different for ND than for other providers.

 

  1. Go to http://www.CoverMyND.org to send a message to the Governor to ENFORCE THE LAW

The Therapeutic Order

Many people believe that naturopathic medicine is about what treatments it uses.  While the contents of the naturopathic toolbox are very important, those tools do not define the profession.  You can read more about the tenets of naturopathic medicine here.  As a reminder, they include the following six key concepts:

  • First – do no harm
  • The healing power of nature – the body’s innate ability to heal itself
  • Identify and treat the cause of disease
  • Treat the whole person
  • Prevention first
  • The doctor as teacher

There is another key foundational philosophy in naturopathic medicine which will be the topic of this month’s blog post – the therapeutic order.

the-therapeutic-order

The therapeutic order is used to determine which treatments are needed for each patient in their given condition.  The order is usually depicted as a pyramid as shown with treatments ranging from creating a solid foundation of nutrition and lifestyle habits all the way to heroic measures such as surgery and chemotherapy.

When considering the therapeutic order one can see that naturopathic doctors have many, many different ways of addressing their patients as well as their conditions.  In fact, within each level of the pyramid, there are multiple different options of treatment and focus allowing us to tailor treatment to the individual.  It can also be seen that without a strong foundation (nutrition and lifestyle efforts) in place, there will be a continued need for more complex and invasive treatments.

Finally, it should be mentioned that multiple levels of the pyramid can be addressed simultaneously.  For instance, in the case of hypertension, once the cause of the disregulation of blood pressure has been identified, a patient may be on an antihypertensive medication (level 6), be on an herbal combination aimed to strengthen the cardiovascular system (level 3), and be starting a new exercise regimen (level 1).  Another patient may be more apt to focus on diet and avoidance of pharmaceuticals and focus on the removal of foods that they react to (level 1) while taking an herbal antihypertensive formula (level 5).  Both approaches have their merits and areas to be cautious about.  The treatment plan that will work the best is the one that works for the patient while addressing the underlying causes of disease.

Naturopathic medicine is more than its tools it is a whole system of medicine with a very solid philosophical foundation to guide the use of its varied tools and practitioners.

What topics are you interested in learning about?  Send us your questions:  info@vibrantfamilymedicine.com or www.facebook.com/VibrantFamily