Patients’ Experience of the External Therapeutic Application of Ginger by Anthroposophically Trained Nurses

  • Tessa Therkleson
  • Patricia Sherwood


There has been considerable public debate on a range of complementary health practices throughout the western world, perhaps especially in Australia, United States and Europe. Most often, the research critique of these practices is restricted to quantitative or non-user qualitative research methodologies. Consequently, there is a significant gap in the research profile of complementary health services that needs to be addressed particularly in view of the rapid and ongoing increase in the use of complementary services, even in the face of sometimes adverse media publicity. This paper demonstrates the contribution that phenomenologically based research can make to fill this lacuna by explicating, in detail, the client experience of a complementary health practice. The paper explores patient experience of a ginger compress, as applied by anthroposophically trained nurses, to demonstrate various therapeutic effects. Four key themes emerged including an increase in warmth and internal activity in the major organs of the body, changes in thought-life and sensory perception along with a greater sense of well-being and self-focus with the perception of clearer personal boundaries. These themes, emerging from a patient sample in New Zealand, compared favourably to the Filderklinik Study completed in 1992 in a large German state hospital.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 4, Edition 1 July 2004

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eISSN: 1445-7377
print ISSN: 2079-7222