BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008 Dec 4;8(1):61.
The oil-dispersion bath in Anthroposophic Medicine - an integrative review.
Bussing A, Cysarz D, Edelhauser F, Bornhoft G, Matthiessen PF, Ostermann T.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Anthroposophic medicine offers a variety of treatments, among others the oil-dispersion bath, developed in the 1930s by Werner Junge. Based on the phenomenon that oil and water are resistant to intermingling and inspired by Rudolf Steiner himself, Junge developed a mechanism that, by churning water and essential oil constituents into a mist, is able to blend them. The oil-covered droplets empty into a tub, where the patient immerses for 15-30 minutes. We review the current scientific literature about oil-dispersion baths. METHODS: The following databases were searched: Medline, Pubmed, Embase, AMED and CAMbase. The search terms were 'oil-dispersion bath' and 'oil bath', and their respective translations in German and French. An Internet search was also performed using Google Scholar, adding the search terms 'study' and 'case report' to the search terms above. Finally, we asked several experts intimate with the relevant gray literature not listed in the above-mentioned databases. We included only articles which met the criterion of a clinical study or case report, and excluded theoretical contributions.
RESULTS: Among several articles found in books, journals and other publications, we identified one prospective clinical study, three experimental studies (based on healthy individuals), five case reports, and three field-reports. In almost all studies beneficial effects were reported, although the methodological quality of most studies was weak. Main indications were internal and metabolic diseases as well as psychiatric and neurological disorders.
CONCLUSIONS: The data found in these reviews does not allow strong conclusions concerning the role of distinct essential oils for well-being. There is a lack of methodologically sound clinical studies exploring the efficacy of oil-dispersion baths. Studies designed to answer that question are recommended for the future.