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Clay Compresses - Bentonite & Illite

Using and Preparing Clay Compresses

Clay Compress
Large Bentonite Clay Compress - Always fashion compresses to the exact needed size


See Also:

Using Healing Clay Externally
Clay Packs and Poultices / Clay Gel & Magma



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Healing Clay Compresses

A clay compress is quite different from a clay poultice. There are many reasons one may elect to use clay compresses over clay poultices/packs:

  • When the body is too weak to handle full clay packs
  • When the supply of clay is too limited to continually use clay packs
  • When a very wide surface requires continual treatment
  • When convenience is such an issue that clay compresses are the only viable treatment option

As an example, if the entire back/spine requires treatment, a clay poultice would require that the back be immobilized during treatment, which is often impractical, if not impossible. A clay poultice can be used over the specific area, and then a clay compress can be worn.

A clay compresses (or multiple compresses) may be prepared, placed on the body, secured, and the individual can continue with normal daily affairs.

Due to the fact that clay compresses are not usually as insulating as clay packs, the body may experience coldness when large compresses are used on the torso. This needs to be monitored carefully, with common sense guiding how long treatments should be continued.

Clay compresses may also result in pain masking, rather than true pain relief, in situations with severe chronic pain. Individuals should be careful not to over-tax any injured area while using clay compresses. Muscle healing requires muscle resting.

Preparing a Clay Compress

Clay CompressFirst, one pre-prepares clay for use. The author prefers a super-hydrated clay, where the clay is completely hydrated to the point that no further water may be added without causing a seperation of the clay magma.

There are two methods generally used in the preperation of clay compresses:

The first method is easier to prepare, but may not be as "strong" as with the second method. A clean, white cotton cloth or dressing is completely soaked in the clay; the dressing is thus completely saturated. The compress is then placed on the treatment location. This might be best thought of as a "wet rag" treatment. Such a compress may only last 20-30 minutes.

The second method requires a bit more work. A clean, white, cotton dressing is placed on a table, and the clay is applied to only one side of the dressing. Enough clay should be used so that one cannot see the dressing through the clay. Too much clay added will cause clay to leak from the sides once the compress is placed on the body. Depending on the density of the clay used, these types of clay compresses can be left on the body for between twenty minutes and 3.5 hours.

Leaving a clay compress on the body to the point that it dries can cause some difficulties with the skin, with prolonged use. Every situation is unique, and one must use good judgment when deciding how long each compress can remain on the body.

Generally speaking, the higher the swelling potential of a clay, the longer a compress can be left on the body before necessitating a change.

When preparing a clay compress, always fashion the compress to the exact needed size; one can even cut the dressing to comfortably mold and fit precisely on the desired treatment location.



Above is a charged clay compress, which can be worn or used with the TDP lamp. Make certain to spray the pre-prepared clay compress prior to heating so that the clay doesn't dry out. Twenty minutes of charge time is sufficient. This is a "wearable" clay compress, perfect for treating upper, mid, and lower back pain. Notice the straps, which allow one to easily remove, adjust, and keep the clay compress in place. The location of the straps depends upon the treatment area. Top straps are ideal for upper back treatment, and may actually be easier for all back treatments. Side straps may be easier for leg or hip treatment.

When Should a Clay Pack be Used Instead?

There are many cases where a poultice should be used in place of a compress, if possible:

  • When any skin or open infection is present
  • When treating any condition that requires the clay work deep within the body

In such situations, compresses can still be used, but preferrably after a clay poultice.

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