More and more people these days are becoming susceptible to body aches and pains. Gone are the days when these discomforts were mere signs of aging. Studies show that constant physical and mental stress can actually cause unwanted pain in different parts of the body.
A hot compress is the ever-reliable remedy for these conditions. Most spa establishments nowadays use this before your massage. These hot (or cold) packs are readily available in drugstores, but nothing compares to a homemade microwavable heating pad or pillow that you can personalize to suit your specific needs.
These heating pads or pillows are not difficult to make. They are convenient and definitely safer than using electric heating pads.
Before you begin, you should be aware of the size of the microwave oven, and make sure your pillow will fit inside. Once you have determined the appropriate size, you can now proceed gathering your materials.
Choose your fabric. Fabric scraps may be used to make the pillow, although cotton proves to be the fabric of choice. You may also try using an old towel, fleece, knitted fabrics or flannel. The fluffier the fabric, the better.
Choose a shape. Cut the fabric according to desired shape and measurement. It can be a small rectangular pad which is quite handy and more versatile, or it can be a much longer one to wrap around your waist like a belt, which is great for the lower back and tummy aches. Personally my favorite one is shaped like a neck pillow.
Sew the sides, leaving one side open to stuff the filler into. Do not use a zipper because there should not be any metal when you heat it up in the microwave.
Choose your filler. There are several suitable fillers to choose from: uncooked rice, wheat, feed corn, barley, oatmeal, beans and flax seeds. You may also place the filler in a mesh pouch before putting it inside the pillow. The amount will depend on the size you have chosen.
Add a few drops of essential oil. For an added aromatic touch, you may add your preferred essential oil to your filler. Again, the essential oil you choose will depend on the feeling you wish to evoke every time you use your pillow. To induce calm and relaxation, you may add a few drops of lavender or chamomile. To invoke feelings of comfort and reassurance, try passionflower, rose, geranium or ilang-ilang. For headache soothers, you may try mixing your filler with dried lavender, rose petals or rosemary. Secure the open end of the pillow and you’re ready to go.
Of course, what’s soothing to one’s feelings should also be pleasing to the eyes. You can also make pillowcases of different patters and colors to make these heating pillows the ideal all-occasion gifts.
To use a heating pad, simply pop it in your microwave oven and heat for one to three minutes depending on the size. You can set a cup of water inside the microwave oven with it to add moisture, or spritz your pillow lightly with water. This will help refresh or strengthen the aroma of the essential oil if you added some to your filler.
Once done, you’re in for a soothing relief from minor body aches and pains. Your heating pillow will definitely come in handy to rid yourself of discomforts, or as a stress reliever after a long day at work. Just a little precaution: shake the pillow first before applying it on the affected part of the body to make sure it’s not too hot and to avoid causing burns. This is especially helpful when using the pillow with kids.