Do you only apply this at night, or could this be done anytime of day?
It can be done anytime during the day. I do it at night, an hour before I go to bed, so i can just fall asleep with it the castor oil on so I don't have to worry about getting cleaned up and going somewhere...it can be a bit a messy. I would highly recommend at night or while you are watching TV...just something that lets you rest quietly. You might have to go to the bathroom afterwards.
How long do you apply the topcal to each area with the hot water bottle?
I keep the hot water bottles on for an hour....before I got to bed. If you only have one bottle just keep moving it over the different areas for an hour.
Are you actually rubbing it into each area with the towel/cloth and then apply the hot water bottle?
I warm the castor oil in a hot water bath. I pour it in a glass container and put that container in hot water and swirl it around until the oil is warm, not burning hot. Then I just pour it all over the abdominal, pelvic, and rectal areas and just massage/rub it in with my hand. I make sure I put some over the liver area and the areas where the lymphatic system runs. Then I place a piece of flannel cloth over the areas and then put the hot water bottle(s) on for an hour. Most sites tell you to put it on the cloth and then put the cloth on...I just pour it on my body directly. I do this 3 nights in a row and then wait a couple of days and do it again. I even noticed a difference after just one night, so see if one night makes a difference. Don't burn yourself - a heating pad works too. I don't put the water bottles on my feet...just cover it with socks and go to sleep.