A compress is a cloth soaked in a hot or cold liquid that is applied to the body for healing purposes. Its purpose may be to simply apply heat or cold to an affected area or to apply medication. To apply herbal treatments using a compress, steep the desired herbs in water and then strain them, then soak a cloth in the resulting liquid, squeeze out the excess liquid and apply the compress to the affected area. Hot compresses are generally used to draw out infection and increase circulation to the area while cold compresses reduce swelling.

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