How to Make a Homemade Heating Pad

Two Methods:Using a Moist Heating PadFashioning a Dry Heating Pad

Heating pads can help relieve the pain of many different conditions such as strained muscles, menstrual cramps, and arthritis.[1] Heat therapy can increase blood flow and supply oxygen to reduce pain and relax sore muscles, ligaments, and tendons.[2] However, you may not want to use heating blankets or a chemical heating pad. By using some simple items around the house, you can make both moist and dry heating pads.

Method 1
Using a Moist Heating Pad

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    Learn when moist heat is best. There is some evidence that moist heat more effectively and quickly penetrates into deep tissues to help relieve pain. Fashion a moist heating pad for yourself if you need immediate relief because it’s most often used for shorter periods of time.[3]
    • Mix moist and dry heat throughout the day if you want.[4]
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    Apply a moistened towel. The easiest way to relieve pain with moist heat is by using a pre-moistened towel or cloth. Apply the cloth to the area causing you pain.
    • Use a towel or washcloth depending on how large the area causing you pain is.
    • Run the cloth under what as hot as you can get it. You could also boil water and pour it over the cloth in a sink or bathtub to prevent burning yourself.
    • Wrap the cloth in another cloth and place the cloth directly on the area causing you pain. If it is too hot, either remove it, allow it to cool a bit, or wrap it in another cloth.[5]
    • Heat a moistened towel in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute if you don’t want to use boiling water. Be careful when you remove it from the microwave.
    • Apply the pad for no more than 20 minutes at a time.[6]
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    Steam a bag of vegetables. Many companies now offer frozen vegetables that you can steam directly in the bag. Use your microwave to cook a bag of these vegetables and apply it to your sore muscles.
    • Choose a vegetable that can easily spread over any area where you have pain. Small vegetables or chopped vegetables such as peas, corn, mini carrots, or onions are good options.
    • Allow the vegetables to cool for a couple of minutes once they’re done steaming in the microwave. This will also let the steam settle and make the pad more moist.
    • Place a towel or cloth under the vegetables to avoid burning yourself.
    • Keep the bag of vegetables on your skin for up to 20 minutes.[7]
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    Fill a water bottle. If you have a reusable water bottle or another container that won’t leak, fill it with warm to hot water.[8] Apply it to the area causing you pain for up to 20 minutes.[9]
    • Avoid using boiling water, which may scald or burn your skin.
    • Place a cloth or towel between your bottle and skin to minimize the risk of burning yourself.
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    Take a warm bath. Fill a warm bath to help you relax and relieve pain. Warm water can soothe muscles and get blood and oxygen flowing to help pain and promote healing.[10]
    • Direct any jets in your bath on the areas causing you pain.
    • If you don’t have a bath, take a shower and direct the warm water stream on areas causing you pain.
    • The water should be between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius to minimize the risk of scalding. Use a thermometer or check the temperature by slowly sticking your hand or foot in the water[11]
    • Add some Epsom salts to your bath, which can help relieve muscle pain.[12]
    • If you don’t have a bath, consider using the shower or a steam room.[13]
    • Stay in the bath or shower for up to 20 minutes.[14]

Method 2
Fashioning a Dry Heating Pad

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    Be aware when to use dry heat. If you have chronic pain and don’t necessarily need immediate relief, consider applying a dry heating pad. Just like moist heat, dry heat can increase blood flow and oxygen supply and relax tender muscles. Unlike moist heat, you can apply dry heat for longer periods of time over the course of the day.[15]
    • Understand that using dry heating pads can dry out your skin.[16]
    • Use dry heating pads for up to 15 minutes every hour or two.[17]
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    Gather materials to make your pad. You can easily fashion a dry heating pad with a few items you have around your house. You can either sew them into a proper heating pad for re-use or use it only while you’re experiencing pain. Gather the following items:
    • A piece of cloth such as a sock, pillowcase, or cloth bag. You can also take a handkerchief or washcloth and sew the ends together to make a pack.
    • Some type of filling such as rice, flaxseed, buckwheat, or oatmeal.
    • A needle and thread if sewing your pack.[18]
    • You can also add a soothing oil such as lavender essential oil to your pack. This can help you further relax.[19]
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    Put together your heating pad. No matter what you’ve decided to use to fashion your heating pad, put it together before you use it. If you’re sewing one together from cloth, make sure to use tight stitches to minimize the risk of filling falling out.[20]
    • Check your cloth piece, tube sock, or pillowcase for holes. If you find any, either sew those or select a different type of pad to use.
    • Fold over the piece of cloth and sew together each side except one where so that you can add your filling. Make sure the stitches are close together and tight to prevent leaking.[21]
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    Fill and seal the heating pad. Once you’re heating pad is sewn or ready for use, add your selected filling. Make sure the pad is sealed tightly so that none of the filling can fall out.[22]
    • Use any type of filling you like. Rice, flax seed, buckwheat, and oatmeal are excellent options because they have small grains that can easily spread over a small or large area.[23] You can also try dried beans such as pinto, kidney, or lentils.
    • Avoid overfilling the pad. Put enough in it to let it move across the area you want to heat. For example, you might want to put between 4 and 6 cups of uncooked rice in a large tube sock.[24]
    • Place a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil in the filling for a pleasant smell and the benefits of aromatherapy.[25]
    • Sew the unsealed end of the heating pad if fashioning your own from cloth or a pillowcase.
    • Close up a sock by knotting it at the open end.
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    Microwave your heating pad. Place your heating pad in the microwave to warm up the filling.[26] The heat from the filling can help relax your muscles and relieve tension.
    • Heat the filling in the microwave for 1-3 minutes. This can warm up the filling to a comfortable temperature for you and prevent it from exploding.[27]
    • Remove the pad slowly from the microwave to minimize the risk of burning yourself.
    • Allow the pad to cool if it is too hot or re-heat it if it isn’t warm enough.
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    Lay the pad on your skin. When the pad is at an optimal temperature for you, lay it on your skin. Place a thin cloth or towel under the pad to minimize your risk of burning yourself.[28]
    • Leave the heating pad on the area for treatment for no longer than 20 minutes.[29]
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    Repeat application. If you continue to have pain, you can repeat application of your dry heating pack every 1-2 hours for 15-20 minutes.[30] Talk to your doctor if your pain persists for a long period of time.

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Categories: Hot and Cold Compresses