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Tired of pills that mask pain,
but don’t really heal?

Get natural pain relief with Cayce’s healing packs and poultices – safe, effective, and easy to use, even while you sleep...

Edgar Cayce gave a lot of information on different packs for pain relief. His pack therapy makes makes perfect sense for anyone who is ill or has a specific ailment. It’s passive healing that can address problems directly, bypassing regular functions of the body like digestion, which is often impaired in sick people. And it can be used on an unconscious person if closely supervised by a health professional.

The pack concept is an ancient one, but, in recent times, the race-horse industry has continued using fomentations and packs to bring healing, especially on the horse’s legs. And increasing numbers of professional athletes are discovering the value of healing packs for sports injuries and muscle pain.

A pack, or poultice, usually consists of a cloth or cloth bag, saturated or filled with a natural substance like castor oil, sugar, or salt. It’s placed on the skin in a problem area of the body to provoke a natural healing response. Different kinds can be used for pain relief, to heal a broken bone faster, purify internal organs, or for infection-free recovery from surgery.


The skin is highly porous, and can easily absorb either beneficial substances or poisons. Conventional medicine has known that poisons could pass through the skin for a long while, but has only recently acknowledged the useful side. Now, though, there are transdermal patches: nicotine patches, estrogen patches, birth control patches, and more. Whether or not you approve of some of those drugs isn’t the point. But it does show that there is a scientific basis for pack therapy and natural pain relief.

Working in my garden one day, I was inspired to make an herbal pack of plantain leaves for an arthritic ankle. Plantain (plantago) or rabbit lettuce is a common medicinal plant that grows underfoot in temperate-region lawns and gardens in all hemispheres. I just steeped the leaves in hot water, put them on the ankle and wrapped with plastic wrap. It brought pain relief to my ankle in a couple of hours.

Sometimes packs are taken hot (with a heating pad), or cold. Common elements are towels, plastic wrap, socks, elbows of old shirts, knees of old pants – anything that works. What you use will depend on the particular healing substance you’re applying for pain relief. (See the different kinds of packs below, and convenient ways to use them.)

Only for castor oil packs is the kind of cloth particular. For most others, only absorbancy and porosity are important – for example, nylon is porous, but not good for packs because it’s not absorbant. On the other hand, old bath towels are perfect, meeting both requirements. However, keep in mind that some herbal packs don’t need any cloth at all, like plantain or mullein, among others. You just steep them in boiling water and lay them on the affected part directly (when cool enough to tolerate), using plastic wrap to keep them on and keep the moisture in.


CASTOR OIL PACKS have many uses ranging from general debilitation, injuries, or dealing with arthritis pain. See castor oil, and castor oil packs, for how to make and use.


Mix salt and vinegar in a bowl, putting the salt in first, and adding the vinegar slowly until moist. If it gets too wet, it won’t hurt anything – it’s just harder to handle. Better add a little more salt.

  • Quality ingredients with no additives are ideal. Plain sea salt is best, but you can also use coarse kosher salt or the finer textured canning salt. Try to get something with no chemical additives, if possible.

  • For the vinegar, don’t use the store variety unless it says cider vinegar. Even so, the industry tends to make everything so “pure” that organic vitamins and minerals are compromised. Real vinegar should be cloudy, with the mother-of-vinegar in it.

  • Materials needed - old cotton socks, cut off shirt elbows, cut off pant knee joints, or a cotton bag. Which one you use, and how much filling you put in the pack depends on the area you are trying to cover – a knee joint, wrist, ankle, or kidney area.

  • How to apply – For pain relief on the feet and ankles, the sock pack works best. Put a large sock on, and gradually fill it with the saturated salt mixture using a spoon. Make sure the mixture is thickest over the bad area. Then wrap with plastic wrap to hold it still and protect the chair or bed. Leave on for at least a couple of hours. (This is especially good for gout.)

  • When you’re finished, you can save it for re-use by storing the salt-in-sock in a ziplock bag. This used version is especially good when you’re on the run, and need pain relief now. You don’t have to put your foot back in the sock -- just massage with the pack as-is. The salt and vinegar will ooze through to the skin as you rub. If the salt becomes too dry, just add more vinegar. It can seem almost magical at times, taking the problem away in minutes. Sometimes I’ve used the initial pack this way for a week, before mixing another formal batch.


    These are some others which can give effective pain relief, depending on the circumstances. Most use the same general methods and materials described above.

  • HOT SALT – Put the dry salt in a sock or sleeve of some kind, and use a heating pad, overwrapped with plastic wrap.

  • ALKATHYME (or Glycothymoline) – Saturate a cotton cloth (especially terry cloth), put on affected area and wrap with plastic wrap. Use hot or cold.

  • EPSOM SALTS PACKS – Dissolve about a pound of epsom salts in hot water, enough to soak a towel. Wring it out (not too dry). Apply and wrap with plastic. Try to keep hot for 2 or 3 hours.

    Cayce often suggested placing these over the kidneys to promote better eliminations, and some also find it can relieve pain from gout by helping to dissolve uric acid crystals.

    In our own experience we have used them on the abdomen to relieve severe pains from E-coli attack.

  • POTATO PACK (poultice). See our eye health page.

  • COFFEE GROUNDS – for swellings and burns. Don’t throw out those coffee grounds! Use the sock technique on feet, elbows, etc.

  • MULLEIN – for water on the legs, ankles. Steep the leaves in hot water, put them on the ankle and wrap with plastic wrap.

  • PLANTAIN – applied the same way as mullein.

  • SUGAR for bedsores and other wounds – pack the wound with sugar. Wrap with plastic wrap. Remove daily, cleanse wound, and pack with fresh sugar. This has been reported to have remarkable results, even in some cases of gangrene.

  • CABBAGE LEAVES on knee – Raw leaves, wrapped with plastic wrap.

  • By now you’ve gotten the idea that healing packs cover a broad area in the natural health arena. The American Indians knew that almost anything in their immediate vicinity could be used for natural medicine if you had the right knowledge and method – mud, herbs, clay, cow manure, berries, etc.

    Most of those we’ve covered here are commonly used Edgar Cayce packs, and a few more that we’ve found effective for pain relief.

    Healing packs are a tremendous self-health resource – make the most of it in your own life!

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    Dr. Sheila Miles is a Naturopathic Physician whom we know in Kentucky. She is Board Certified by the National Board of Examiners in Integrated/ Alternative Medicine and Natural Health Science, with a Doctorate in Natural Health Science. She is also certified in Nutrition, Homeopathy, and Herbal Preparations.

    We had the privilege of editing her new book, Healthy Choices in an Unhealthy World. It's an excellent basic grounding in nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and we are pleased to endorse it here. --
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