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The Ginger Compress.

(This material is excerpted from my book and so if you see any references to other chapters etc. you will know why. It has some repetition with what I have already place here, which is now at the bottom of the page. I have not yet discussed Chronic Intestinal Stagnation [CIS], which is the main subject of the book, "The End of Medicine". Nevertheless, anyone who has been living in the modern world eating the"meat and sugar" can be certain they have developed CIS, so what follows is information of singular significance for everybody.)

If we established beyond reasonable doubt we do have chronic intestinal stagnation, then we may want to enquire as to what we can do to aid our intestines in healing themselves. From what has already been written it should be fairly clear we first need to begin by changing our way of eating to one based on eating cooked whole grains and vegetables. However, on the physical level, changing our way of eating is not enough. It is often assumed, or, it appears to be the assumption in macrobiotic literature, that we need but change our daily staple foods from meat, eggs, dairy food, refined, chemicalised foods etc. to whole grains and vegetables and our intestinal function will take care of itself. And, in many instances, when people begin eating cooked whole grains and vegetables according to macrobiotic principles, one of the first changes noticed is a considerable, often dramatic improvement in bowel movement.
However, the consumption of these foods on a regular basis as staple foods does not allow for making any real inroads on breaking down the chronic intestinal stagnation, the toxic mucus build-up in the intestinal walls. The chronic intestinal stagnation has, as already been suggested, been building up over the entire life of the individuals living in the modern culture eating the modern diet, and as the years go by the chronic intestinal stagnation becomes extraordinarily impacted and 'locked-in' the intestinal walls. Thus we must do something in addition to changing our way of eating if we wish to get rid of the mucus stagnation in the walls of our intestines.
I must avow I am not the first person in the history of humanity to recognise the large intestine is the single most critical organ to address if we wish to effect a true and deep healing occurring in the body. Many, many treatments have been devised over the years in an attempt to remove this impacted mucus material, including enemas, colonics, clay treatments, herbal colon cleansing programs, and fasts of innumerable kinds and varieties. However, none of them actually work, many are difficult to do, and some are actually detrimental to do. For example, I think colonics actually weaken the walls of the intestines.
What I mean by saying none of them actually work is that they do not effect the dissolution of the mucus stagnation in the walls of the intestines. They are effective, by and large, in sloughing off the mucus build-up in the lumen of the intestines, but then so does eating a diet based on cooked whole grains and vegetables, due to the high fibre content.
The most effective remedy of which I know is probably several thousand years old, and was probably devised at the beginning of recorded history. I have also heard it was thought up by a physician of a Buddhist persuasion in 500 BC. No matter, to the august and profoundly wise gentleman or gentlewoman who first first came up with the idea of the ginger compress, I offer my prayer of profound gratitude.
So, after a long and necessary preliminary discourse, we come to the reason for writing this book:

The Ginger Compress.

Items required:
1. One gallon of water in a container with a lid (tap water is fine).
2. 1/4 cup finely grated-by hand- fresh unpeeled Ginger Root (non-organic is fine) wrapped in a cheesecloth, or other natural fibre cloth, to make a bag of grated ginger.
3. 2 three feet long by 1 foot wide cotton terry cloth towels.
4. I cotton bath towel.
5. I pair of thick rubber gloves.

Before proceeding, take the two terry cloth towels and, singly, fold each one in three-folds such that they cover the area on your abdomen which goes from the sternum of the rib cage to the pelvic bone, and from one hip bone to the other. Once you have done this, sew each one along the loose edges so they are prevented from falling open once you start doing the treatment.
Also, the treatment has to be done on an empty stomach, either an hour before you eat or two hours after you eat. It can be done at any time of day. However, a practical tip is to do the first treatment just before you go to bed, and once you have done it, leave all the materials where they are. First thing in the morning, reheat the ginger water pot, making sure you do not actually boil the water, and you can do the treatment again. Thus, if you do it this way, you can do two treatments using the same ginger water .
Another point is that if you use a gallon container, once you have followed the instructions, the ginger water should retain its heat long enough to do do at least two treatments. If you want to ensure the ginger water remains hot, obtain a hot plate you can plug into an electrical outlet near the place you choose to do the treatment, and place the pot of ginger water on it after you have made it.

Place the container of water on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile, grate the unpeeled ginger root using a fine tooth grater until you have approximately a 1/4 cup; the easiest way to ensure you do not lose any ginger juice is to drape the piece of cloth you are using to wrap the ginger over a bowl and grate the ginger onto the cloth in the bowl.
When you have grated enough ginger, bring the four corners of the cloth together to enclose the grated ginger, twirl it to make a neck and wrap a rubber band around the neck to hold it together. Any overflow of ginger juice will then gather in the bottom of the bowl.
By now the water in the pot will be near to boiling; let it boil. Then, and this the most important point, once the water has boiled, switch your heat source off and let the water settle before you take the bag of grated ginger, squeeze the excess juice into the hot water, throw the bag in the pot, and if there is any ginger juice in the bowl, pour that in too.Then place the two folded and sewn-up terry cloth towels in the pot of hot ginger water and let them soak for a minute or two, with the lid on the container. You are now ready to do the compress.
Place an old blanket or sheet on your couch, floor or bed, wherever you choose to do the compress and set up the pot of ginger water with the two terry cloth towels(I will refer to these two towels as the ginger towels from now on in the description) in it on some newspapers within easy reach of where you lie down. Lie on your back (do not use plastic in any shape or form) on the sheet on the couch, bed or floor, expose the skin of your abdomen, with the bath towel, also folded so it can cover your abdomen, placed on your lap.
Then, with the rubber gloves on, remove the lid of the pot, place it on the floor, and pick up one of the ginger towels in the pot (if you are lying on the floor you will need to sit up to do this), wring out the the excess liquid back into the ginger water in the pot, then replace the lid to keep the heat in.
Taking the wrung out ginger towel, open it up so it is flat (it will remain folded if you have sewn the loose edges together), lie down if you have had to sit up to do the preceding, and raise and lower the ginger towel over the skin of the abdomen, close to but not actually touching the skin to begin with , until you can take it as hot as you can stand it leaving it directly on the skin. After you have placed the hot ginger towel on the skin, cover it with the bath towel that has been lying on your lap, to keep the heat in.
After two to four minutes the hot ginger towel will start to cool down. Then, lift the dry bath towel covering the ginger towel, remove the ginger towel, leaving the dry bath towel covering the abdomen to keep it warm. Remove the lid from the ginger water container, replace the wet, cool ginger towel and remove the second ginger towel which has been in the container while you used the first ginger towel, thoroughly wring the excess ginger water out of it back into the container, replace the lid and repeat the procedure as for the first ginger towel. Alternate the two towels for half-an-hour. This constitutes one treatment.

I recommend the compress is done 64 times, two to four times a week; this is one round of compresses, and this may not, and is generally not, enough to complete the job. If you determine your intestines need more work, I suggest you wait four to six weeks and then do another round of 64 compresses. And you may need to do two or three more rounds after that! The reason it takes so many compresses is due to the fact the chronic intestinal stagnation has developed over many, many years, even decades. The older we are when we find out we need we have chronic intestinal stagnation, the longer it has been going on. And the longer it has been going on, the more tenaciously hardened and impacted it is in our intestinal walls, therefore the more ginger compresses we will have to do, more consistently and perseveringly, in order for the compresses to have their desired effect.
I also recommend that once we are satisfied our intestines are back in shape again, it is a good idea to do one half-round of compresses regularly every year. With regard to children, it is perhaps better to wait until they are seven years old before doing the ginger compresses.
Here is another method for doing the ginger compress, which I learnt from David Jackson, a macrobiotic teacher and counsellor living in Arizona, who learnt it from his teacher, Roy Steevensz.

I gallon container(thick sides) of boiled water.
1/4 cup freshly grated unpeeled ginger root(does not have to be organic) in a cloth bag.
2 cotton towels, folded to cover the abdomen from the sternum to the pelvic bone and from one hip to the other.
1 dry towel.
2 wooden bowls about 10 inches diameter.

The bag of ginger is squeezed to get the ginger juice into the pot of boiled water(do not boil the ginger), right after you have boiled the water, and then the bag of ginger is placed in the hot water.
David's method is different from those in the books where he has two of the wooden bowls you can buy at oriental stores, the bowls being the ones made of interwoven strips of wood. These are about 8-10 inches in diameter. What you do is place one of the folded towels between these bowls and immerse it in the ginger water so that the towel gets heated and because you are holding the towel between the bowls you do not have to put your hands in the water.
Then you put the other dry towel try against the skin of the abdomen, and, after immersing the two bowls with the other towel place between them in the hot ginger water, you lift the bowls out of the water, and squeeze them firmly together to squeeze the excess ginger water from out of the towel. Then you take one bowl off the top of the ginger towel and place it underneath the other bowel, and place the hot ginger towel on top of the dry towel on the skin of the abdomen(you are doing the compress lying back against some pillows against a couch or wall).Then you cover that towel with another dry bath towel, also folded.
The heat and ginger chi penetrates through the dry towel into the abdomen, and you can feel your skin heating up. After a few minutes, as you feel the heat cooling down, you take off the top covering towel, and flip over the two towels on the abdomen so that the towel that has been recently soaked in the ginger water is now directly on the skin. You then place the one that was originally on the skin between the two bowls, while covering the one on your abdomen with the dry towel. You then immerse the two bowls with the towel inserted between them in the hot ginger water, take them out, squeeze the excess liquid out, and lifting off the covering towel, place the hot ginger towel on top of the one still on the skin, and cover them both with the covering towel. Then, once you feel the towel against the skin cooling off, you flip the towels over so that the recently heated towel is directly on the skin and proceed to take the top towel and place it between the two bowls, having placed the covering towel on top of the ginger towel on the abdomen, and immerse the bowls in the hot ginger water, etc. You go through this procedure for half an hour. If you have a gallon pot with thick sides, then the ginger water should easily retain enough heat for half an hour.
This method ensures that you have constant heat on the skin throughout the course of the half hour treatment.

Activity of the Ginger Compress.
The ginger compress works because of the etheric or 'chi' activities of the heat and the ginger root. From the perspective of yin-yang theory, the ginger root has strong yang activity by virtue of its "rootness". This more yang activity means the etheric activity of the ginger has a strong, downward penetrating movement. When you grate the ginger you will notice how the aroma of ginger powerfully fills the room, attesting to a strong dispersing, expansive movement of chi. The reason for this is the ginger root grows sideways, meaning it is more influenced by yin activity than, say a burdock or carrot root, and this yin dispersing activity is further enhanced by finely grating the ginger. My feeling is that by making the compress in this way, laying the towel soaked in this etheric activity, thereby harnessing it, on the abdomen while lying on our back, the towel focuses these etheric forces on the abdominal cavity in which the intestines lie, and they penetrate into the tissues by means of the root activity and break up the mucus stagnations encountered in the tissues by means of the strong dispersive activity. Furthermore, the etheric forces of the ginger stimulate the etheric, formative forces of the intestines, thus stimulating their proper activity.
The heat activity of the compress stimulates the blood and tissue circulation in the area being treated which then facilitates the bearing of the dispersed toxins away to be excreted.
The combination of these three etheric or 'chi' activities means the tissues of the walls of the intestine begin to receive clean, revitalized blood (if we have also changed our way of eating, and it has to emphasised the ginger compress is a waste of time if we do not) for the first time in years and decades, and they become revitalized, leading to regeneration of the tissues and restoration of their proper, harmonious function.

During Treatment.
As a result of doing the treatment mucus deposits are gradually dissolved and toxins flushed into the bloodstream and what happens overtly then will depend on many factors. All I will say here, and more is be said on this subject in the chapter "Macrobiotic Healing" in my book "The End of Medicine" , is the body may show signs of detoxification or may show no overt signs of cleansing other than passive weight loss, increased urination and bowel movement and some fatigue. More active signs of cleansing include nasal mucus discharge, sore throat, coughing and sneezing, fever and flu-like symptoms, temporary constipation and /or diarrhoea, various aches and pains, skin eruptions on various parts of the body, and headaches. If they are accompanied with healthy appetite, normal sleep patterns, generally okay vitality and no nausea, these signs indicate the healing process is going well. If you find these symptoms to be of some concern, then it is important to ask me via e-mail about what these symptoms mean and what you need to do for them, if anything.

The ginger compress on the abdomen should not be done in the following instances:
Pregnancy and Breast Feeding.
Abdominal inflammation, appendicitis and pneumonia.
On the brain, on infant babies, and in cases when a high fever is running.
Overt cancers of the abdominal region, although they may safely be done on cancers in other parts of the body.

In macrobiotic books which discuss the ginger compress, it is always written "Special considerations for cancer patients..." and it goes on to talk about the Taro Potato Plaster. The reason it is mentioned cancer patients should not do a ginger compress for more than five minutes on a cancer is because it is thought the stimulation of the blood supply caused by the compress means that if there is a tumor in the region being treated then the increased blood circulation will cause the cancer to grow.
However, this is only true if the blood is still toxic. When a person starts the macrobiotic diet, then in ten days the blood plasma (the fluid in which the blood circulates) is renewed, in 30-60 days all the white blood cells will be newly created, and in 120 days all the red blood cells will be newly created. Thus, theoretically, if one does the ginger compresses beginning four months after starting the dietary practice, then the increasing blood flow means clean, fresh blood will be circulating more vigorously. The tumour will then be receiving this fresh, clean blood which in turn means the cancer will dissolve faster. However, to act on the side of caution, if a person has cancer of the colon or some other cancer of the abdominal region, it is perhaps wiser to wait until the dietary practice has been done for one year before embarking on the regimen of ginger compresses.
I have also heard it said this regimen of two-four compresses a week brings too much heat to the organism. However, doing it four times a week means we are applying heat to the abdomen a total of two hours out of the 168 hours of the week, which comes to 1.19% of the week. Furthermore, if one is to classify all diseases of humanity into two groups: whether they are diseases of two much heat, or diseases of too much cold, in the body, then it turns out that all degenerative illnesses are diseases of too much cold.
Two problems may become evident during the course of doing the treatments. One is the skin of the abdomen takes on a darkened, brown-red/yellow hue, and this will clear up after the regimen has been completed. The other is the possibility of detoxifying too rapidly, meaning the symptoms of discharge may become overwhelming. In this case simply adjust the pattern of treatment by stopping them temporarily for a few days or a week or two. The key point about the regimen of 64 compresses is to do them; whether this takes 16 weeks, 20 weeks or 24 weeks is immaterial; what is required is to get the regimen done perseveringly on a relatively consistent basis.

Possible hindrances to doing the Ginger Compress.

I have noticed over the course of 14 years of counselling thousands of individuals there is a great deal of resistance to actually doing them. I estimate perhaps 30% of the people I counsel actually do the two or three rounds of compresses necessary to completely dissolve and break up the chronic intestinal stagnation.
Of course, people say things like they do not have the time, or it's too complicated, or whatever. However, the reasons are, I feel, a lot deeper. First, the intestines are those organs of the body that have to with the expression of the activities of the will forces of the soul; will forces have to do with carrying out actions; if the intestines are weak and stagnated, then if we are asked to do something which requires a significant and radical change in any one of our habitual ways of doing any activity, we find it incredibly difficult to do so. The ginger compress regimen requires we take into account our necessity for doing them and scheduling the time to do them during the course of the week. If we do not do this, then we will have difficulty in getting them done.
Secondly, the large intestines and lungs correspond to our forebrain; our forebrain is the sense-organ instrument for the thinking activity of the soul; thus, if we have chronic intestinal stagnation, we also have toxic mucus build-up in our lungs and our forebrain. In regard of thinking, this means our thinking is stuck, moulded in the the tried and true, habitual, received learning we have picked up at school, college, in church, from our family and through the newspapers and other mass media and if we are to break through the stagnant, arid, destructive, techno-material thinking of modern culture, we have to break up this stagnation in the forebrain while at the same time undertaking the strenuous re-education and quest for self -knowledge necessary for true healing to occur. The ginger compress regimen on the intestines is necessary to do if we are to achieve this, and this is an uncomfortable prospect, at least sub-consciously.
Thirdly, and probably the most difficult of the three impediments to overcome has to to with our emotional life. In the course of counseling I have come across a remarkable phenomenon of human life, which is that when we experience a deeply wounding event during the course of childhood and early adulthood, like being sexually abused, or physically or emotionally beaten down, the actual events which occasion these traumas and abuses are literally 'recorded' in the mucus stagnation, in any organ or tissue of the body where they happen to have built up. This is to say, the mucus stagnation appears to act as a 'medium' on or in which the event/s in question are 'holographically' imprinted. This means that no matter how well we succeed in suppressing our memory of these events, they are literally playing out continuously, like an endless tape-reel, for as long as the mucus stagnation remains in the body.
Thus, there is not only the physical consequence of increasing toxicity of the body resulting from the build of chronic mucus stagnation, which, as I have shown, starts with the large and small intestine, and because of these organs relationships as paired complementary organs with the lungs and heart, in those organs too. And later, as a consequence of the Five Transformation Theory, with the kidneys/bladder, and liver/gall bladder. And because the kidneys/bladder rules the sexual organs, mucus stagnation also builds up there.
There is also the coincidental process, because of the relationship of these organs to the emotions, as stated in the Five Transformation Theory, of the increasing physical toxicity of the body being accompanied with increasing emotional toxicity, the nature of the emotion hinging on which organ or organs the mucus stagnation is on which the events occasioning these traumas have been 'recorded'.
The relationships of the more destructive emotions with the organs as stated in the Five Transformation Theory are as follows:

Liver/Gall Bladder - frustration, irritability, impatience and anger.
Kidney/Bladder - fear, anxiety, loss of confidence and self-esteem.
Lungs - melancholy and sadness, sense of loss.
Large Intestine - depression, loss of enthusiasm, ennui.
Heart/Small Intestine - overly excitable, nervousness, hysteria.
Stomach/ Spleen-Pancreas- doubt, worry, skepticism, cynicism.

These emotional moods are, in the person so afflicted, permanent and cannot be explained by any current event going on in their lives. They are, so to speak, their mood of soul, and colors every motivation, attitude, expression and way of relating to themselves and the people in their lives and the world in which they live.
They are permanent, that is, for as long as the mucus stagnation is present in which these emotional traumas are imprinted. I must also point out these 'permanent moods of soul' are present even if their have not been any emotional traumas; however, it is probable that if there have been emotional traumas, and it is fairly evident that emotional, physical and sexual abuse is endemic in modern culture, the imprinting of the events occasioning these traumas has the effect of accentuating these moods of soul to a deeper extent than in those individuals who have been fortunate enough not to have been emotionally, physically or sexually abused in their childhood and early adulthood.
When we do the ginger compresses on our abdomen, then the dissolution of the mucus stagnations will cause the 'holographically imprinted event' to be released from its entrapment in the mucus stagnations, as they are dissolving, and these events will surface into our consciousness and we will have to deal with them phsycologically. It is probable, as it has been in several instances in people with whom I have been working, that when these events surface into day consciousness, it is the first time they become aware that these events have indeed occurred, because they did such a effective job of suppressing their memory of these events when they first occurred.
This is, in many instances, a traumatic experience, occasioning much pain and suffering. Now, I feel when a person is asked to do the ginger compresses, they know, sub-consciously, the dissolving of the mucus stagnations brought about by doing the ginger compresses is going to occasion the release of the suppression of the events, and since the pain and trauma associated with them is so profound, they would rather not have to deal with it.
This is understandable. However, any healing that is worthy of the name is necessarily accompanied with pain and suffering. If we go through a healing which leads to a resolution of our symptoms which is not accompanied with pain and suffering, both physical and psychological, then we can be assured the healing is superficial and will not bring about the profound transformation of our being, in body, soul and spirit, which is the healing I am discussing in this book. Therefore, the regimen of ginger compresses is necessary for us to carry out, anyway, if we wish to bring about a true and deep healing of ourselves and the world.
As to what I feel we need to do if we 'find out' we have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused in childhood and early adulthood, I offer the following suggestions:

1. No blame. I do not feel that any one is helped if we go about blaming the perpetrators of these traumas, no matter how justified we may feel in blaming them. Furthermore, any idea of vengeance and redress simply does not answer the questions posed by these events and it leaves out of account the most important fact of human spiritual life. This is karma. Karma is a profound spiritual reality which is not taken into account at all in their daily lives by people living today. Now, karma is a vast subject and all I will say here is karma means that inexorably, ineluctably we will find we have to make up to others, either in this life time, or the subsequent life on earth, in one way or another what we have done to them. This is to say, it is not up to us to judge other people, for our, or other peoples', misdeeds, will be atoned for through karma.
2. Forgiveness. We must dig deep in our souls and find it possible to forgive the individual/s involved for what they have done, not as a cursory nod to the idea of forgiveness, but as a profound reality in our souls.
3. Find something about the event or the individuals involved which is beautiful and good, for it is rare for any one individual or event to be unredeemably evil.
4. This is probably the most difficult suggestion to carry through, but is probably the most important: ask ourselves what is about us that occasioned these events to take place. What is it that we need to work on psychologically -mentally, emotionally, spiritually - so we can truly digest the lessons to be learnt from these events for ourselves.
5. Once we have digested all that needs to be learnt, understood and changed, forget about the events, for time itself is a great healer.

There are additional aids to help breaking up the chronic mucus stagnation. The first is to make sure we go for walks every day for at least half to one hour. The act of walking serves to do to an 'internal massage' on the intestines; it is helpful to use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, to walk to the store rather than drive etc. And the walking is most helpful if it is a relaxed stroll around your neighborhood or in the park, where the simple enjoyment of the sights and sounds we encounter is our aim rather than trying to do any exercise.
Massaging the intestines while doing the compresses. While you are lying down with the ginger towel on your abdomen, using the extended index and forefinger of both hands together, press on the intestines beginning at the ileo-cecal valve approximately two inches to the left of the right hip bone, and using a push and release motion work your fingers up the right side of your abdomen, across the abdomen to the left, just above the navel, and then down the left side to just above the pelvic bone, moving in a spiral motion further in from the path you worked so that the massaging gradually works toward the center of the abdomen. When you have completed one massage in this way, start again from the beginning and work you way to the center of the abdomen. Do this two or three times or so during the time you are doing the compress. When you press down with your fingers go as deep as you can, while trying to keep the abdominal muscles totally relaxed.
Another aid is the following exercise. Stand straight, eyes looking straight ahead, with your hands by your sides in the middle of a room so you have plenty of space. Then move your hands, fingers extended, upward and outward while raising yourself up on your toes and taking a deep breath through your nose so that the inbreathe goes to your lower abdomen. Hold the position momentarily, then slowly, simultaneously bring your hands down past the hips and then forward toward your front while bending down into a 'skiing' position, tightening your abdominal and buttock muscles and as you bend while exhaling slowly through your mouth, in order to complete the exhalation by the time you end up in the 'skiing' position. What I mean by the 'skiing' position is you end up on your toes, bent at the waist with your buttocks close your ankles, your arms extended in front of you with fingers extended forward, as if you were just about to push off down a slope if you were wearing skis. What you should feel as you go through this motion is a gathering and concentration of 'chi' or etheric forces in the pit of your abdomen. Do this exercise, on an empty stomach, three to five times, two to three times a week while you are doing the ginger compress regimen.
Tai Chi and Yoga are also beneficial. Any form of strenuous exercise is not recommended during the first year of changing over to a macrobiotic dietary program or while doing the ginger compress regimen. The reason is during the early stages of being on the macrobiotic dietary program the body is detoxifying itself and the organs of detoxification and elimination are active in carrying out the dissolving and removal of toxins. Now, when we do any form of strenuous exercise, such as jogging, high impact aerobics, weight-lifting etc., then the metabolic rate increases, meaning more waste metabolites of cellular activity are being generated than when our metabolism is functioning normally. Therefore, the organs of detoxification and elimination of wastes are asked to deal with the process of detoxification and elimination which ensues when we begin a macrobiotic dietary practice as well as with the toxins generated by intense exercise regimens. This puts a heavy strain on these organs, which are at best in a weakened and fragile state when we start the diet and the added load caused by the heavy exercise is going to make it a lot more difficult for these organs to both do their job of detoxification and elimination while at the same time regenerating and revitalizing themselves.

Comments or questions can be sent to the address below as I check this address every few weeks. Please mention Alchemycal Pages in the subject line. Thank you. Patricia


Copyright © Kaare Bursell, 1996-2031.