Oil dispersion bath

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Oil dispersion bath with brush massage

The oil dispersion bath (or Junge bath) is a bath therapy of anthroposophic medicine. It was developed by Werner Junge, inspired by statements of Rudolf Steiner. By purely physical principles a mixture of oil and water is achieved. For this purpose, a swirling apparatus made of glass is flowed through by the incoming bath water. The pear shape of the glass creates a vortex in the center of which oil flows in through a fine inlet. The oil is atomized into very fine droplets and forms a dispersion with the water, which remains stable for the duration of the bath and for a certain time beyond. The oils used as a base are various vegetable oils such as olive or linseed oil, to which essential oils or other additives such as metals are added. Often the oil dispersion bath is performed by a bath therapist who performs a brush massage. The temperature of the bath water should be approximately equal to the body heat and should not provide a heat or cold stimulus. After the bath there is a rest about the length of the bath. Wrapped in a cotton cloth and (wool) blankets, the aim is to warm the body by stimulating its own heat. The oil dispersion bath is used in addition to other therapeutic measures, especially in chronic diseases.

Filling a Jungebad apparatus with oil


The oil dispersion bath was developed by Werner Junge in 1937 as a medical therapy. Based on a note by Rudolf Steiner on the treatment of sugar dysentery (diabetes mellitus) (I. Medical Course, 1920, Dornach) "on the effect of finely atomized oils,"[1] he designed the first oil dispersion bath apparatus. [2] The name oil dispersion bath goes back to the anthroposophical physician Hans Klett, who called the oil-water mixture dispersion.[3] In 2001, bath therapists joined forces in the International Association for Oil Dispersion Bath Therapy according to Werner Junge.[4]


Brushes for the oil dispersion bath

The oil dispersion apparatus is installed in the water inlet of the tub. The incoming water flows through a pear-shaped chamber, the shape of which creates a vortex. A pipette runs from the top of the oil tank into the center of the vortex. The vacuum created there sucks in either air or oil, depending on how full the oil container is, and thus mixes with the water in finely atomized small quantities. The water-oil mixture flows out of the apparatus into the tank in the form of a funnel.

The temperature of the water should be approximately the same as the body temperature of the person bathing, feeling neither hot nor cold. The bath is usually done unclothed.

If the bath is performed by a therapist, a brush massage with a specific sequence of brush strokes is performed.

After the bath, there should be a post-bath rest about the length of the bath. The person bathing is wrapped in a cotton cloth and woolen blankets, so that a kind of moist warm full body wrap takes place. During the after-rest, there is often a reactive increase in body temperature. It should not feel cool in the rest wrap, nor should the person sweat.

The bath can be performed 1-3x per week, exceptionally more often. Partial baths are also possible.


The oil usually has a fatty base oil such as olive or linseed oil. This may contain plant extracts or an addition of essential oils or other substances. Examples of extract oils are calendula, oxalis, or arnica. Essential oils are, for example, lavender or rosemary. As admixtures you can find e.g. metals like copper or gold. Approximately 5 ml of olive oil-based oil is used per bath.[5] The choice of oil is made according to the clinical picture. A schematic classification based on the threefold system is: root oils strengthen the nervous-sensory system, flower oils promote the metabolic/metabolic-limb system, seed oils are said to have an effect on the heart, and fruit oils are recommended to promote circulation.[6]

Incomplete list of oils with added essential oils: angelica, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, wintergreen.

Brush massage

Brush massage of the hand

Brush massage is performed according to a fixed pattern typically in two sequences. First on the front, then in prone position on the back of the body. It begins on the feet, on the lower person, and proceeds to the upper person.[7] It was developed by Werner Junge from elements of classical massage and rhythmic massage according to Wegman/Hauschka.[7]

Oil dispersion bath apparatus

Oil dispersion bath apparatus

The oil dispersion bathing apparatus is a pear-shaped glass device that swirls incoming water and adds oil, sucked in from an inserted pipette, drop by drop to the outgoing water at the point of the vortex's highest rotational speed. This development was a synthesis of various ideas that Werner Junge had formed from his own observations and research, based on the knowledge of Rudolf Steiner's data and the scientific writings of Goethe.[8] In this, occupations with the nature of water and its vortices, lemniscate and projective geometry played a role.


  • A study on the absorption of ingredients in the oil dispersion bath compared with other bathing methods.[9]
  • A 2008 systematic literature review[6] found a small number of studies (1 prospective clinical study, 3 experimental studies with healthy subjects, 5 case reports, and 3 experience reports). The studies described improvement in almost all cases, although the methodological quality of most studies was weak. The main indications were metabolic/internal, and psychiatric/neurologic.



  1. Steiner, Rudolf. Geisteswissenschaft und Medizin [Spiritual Science and Medicine] (PDF). Rudolf Steiner Complete edition(a) (in Deutsch). 312. Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag.GA 312
  2. Boschan, Erika. "Das Oeldispersionsbad" [The oil dispersion bath]. Website of the International Verein for Öldispersion bath therapy (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  3. Junge, Franziska (September 1990). "So entstand das Öldispersionsbad" [How the oil dispersion bath was created] (PDF). Der Merkurstab. 43 (5): 338 - 339. ISSN 0935-798X. (url in Anthromedics: https://www.anthromedics.org/DMS-15685-DE)
  4. "Die Öldispersionsbadetherapie entsteht". 100 Jahre Zukunft (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  5. Erika Boschan. "Was ist das - ein Oeldispersionsbad?" [What is it - an oil dispersion bath?]. Wasser & Wort (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Büssing, Arndt; Cysarz, Dirk; Edelhäuser, Friedrich; Bornhöft, Gudrun; Matthiessen, Peter F.; Ostermann, Thomas (2008-12-04). "The oil-dispersion bath in anthroposophic medicine - an integrative review". BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 8: 61. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-61. ISSN 1472-6882. PMC 2612644. PMID 19055811.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Warning, Albrecht; Krüger, Markus (March 2014). "Das Öldispersionsbad nach Werner Junge" [The oil dispersion bath according to Werner Junge]. Der Merkurstab Zeitschrift für Anthroposophische Medizin (in Deutsch). 2 (67): 108-115. doi:10.14271/DMS-20288-DE.
  8. Warning, Dr. Albrecht (2016). Das Öldispersionsbad nach Werner Junge eine Hydrotherapie als Körpertherapie der Anthroposophischen Medizin. Als Chronik verfasst im Sommer 2016 [The oil dispersion bath according to Werner Junge a hydrotherapy as a body therapy of anthroposophic medicine. Written as a chronicle in the summer of 2016.].
  9. Römmelt, H. (1981). "Perkutane Resorption ätherischer Öle während eines Öldispersionsbades" [Percutaneous absorption of essential oils during an oil dispersion bath.]. München: Institut für medizinische Balneologie und Klimatologie der Universität München. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)Briefliche Mitteilung an Werner Junge vom 14.7.1981 [Letter to Werner Junge dated 14.7.1981]