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Keywords:

  • ginger compress therapy;
  • Giorgi’s method;
  • nursing;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • phenomenology

therkleson t. (2010) Ginger compress therapy for adults with osteoarthritis. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(10), 2225–2233.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explicate the phenomenon of ginger compresses for people with osteoarthritis.

Background.  Osteoarthritis is claimed to be the leading cause of musculoskeletal pain and disability in Western society. Management ideally combines non-pharmacological strategies, including complementary therapies and pain-relieving medication. Ginger has been applied externally for over a thousand years in China to manage arthritis symptoms.

Method.  Husserlian phenomenological methodology was used and the data were collected in 2007. Ten purposively selected adults who had suffered osteoarthritis for at least a year kept daily diaries and made drawings, and follow-up interviews and telephone conversations were conducted.

Findings.  Seven themes were identified in the data: (1) Meditative-like stillness and relaxation of thoughts; (2) Constant penetrating warmth throughout the body; (3) Positive change in outlook; (4) Increased energy and interest in the world; (5) Deeply relaxed state that progressed to a gradual shift in pain and increased interest in others; (6) Increased suppleness within the body and (7) More comfortable, flexible joint mobility. The essential experience of ginger compresses exposed the unique qualities of heat, stimulation, anti-inflammation and analgesia.

Conclusion.  Nurses could consider this therapy as part of a holistic treatment for people with osteoarthritis symptoms. Controlled research is needed with larger numbers of older people to explore further the effects of the ginger compress therapy.