Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are the most commonly treated acute problems in general practice. Instead of treatment with antibiotics, therapies from the field of integrative medicine play an increasingly important role within the society. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether mustard footbaths improve the symptoms of patients with RTIs.
The study was designed as a pilot study and was carried out as an interventional trial with two points of measurement. Between November and December 2017, six practices were invited to participate. Two of them participated in the study. Patients were included who presented with an RTI at one of the involved primary care practices during February and April 2018. Participants in the intervention group used self-administered mustard seed powder footbaths at home once a day, to be repeated for six consecutive days. The improvement of symptoms was measured using the “Herdecke Warmth Perception Questionnaire” (HeWEF). A variance analysis for repeated measurements was performed to analyse differences between the intervention and control groups.
In this pilot study, 103 patients were included in the intervention group and 36 patients were included in the control group. A comparison of the intervention and control group before the intervention started showed nearly no difference in their subjective perception of warmth measured by the HeWEF questionnaire. Participants of the intervention group who used mustard seed footbaths for six consecutive days showed an improvement in four of the five subscales of the HeWEF questionnaire.
This study could provide a first insight into a possible strategy to improve symptoms regarding RTI by using mustard seed footbaths.

Copyright © 2020 Katja Goetz et al.