Saturday, 20 April 2013

R...Rice Heating Bags

A few years ago, on Mother’s Day, my daughter gave me a microwavable, rice filled heating bag. It’s long enough to hang around my neck to ease the pain and stiffness I suffer after a day of writing…or sewing, or painting.

Available commercially in many different sizes and with a variety of fillers [other than rice], these bags serve a dual purpose. They can be stored in the freezer to use as a cooling pad, or warmed in the microwave for the heat.

As I suffer from chronic pain and frequent muscle spasms, heat is my first choice for relief. I think it works physically to relieve pain, and the warmth offers a sense of comfort that I find relaxing.

Used to ease sore muscles and the pain of fibromyalgia and arthritis, the bag could also be used to warm the bed and keep your feet warm at night. I’ve even heard of using them to keep casseroles warm when transporting or at the table.

A couple of minutes in the microwave can give up to an hour of safe warm heat. The safety factor is an important issue. Before I had my rice bag I used an electric heating pad, and fell asleep lying on it. Big no no.

The heating pad was old with a temperamental temperature gauge, and I’m embarrassed to say I got quite a burn from a ‘hot’ spot. I’ve learned my lesson there, though I have a new electric heating pad, it has an automatic shut off switch.

I’ve listened to friends and family, with their varying complaints of pain, especially in the shoulder area, and decided to design a better bag. There are numerous DIY tutorials on the internet for making these heat bags, with lots of patterns and helpful hints.

So far I’ve done 5 samples, designed to give heat relief to the neck and shoulder, and have loaned my prototypes out for feedback on their efficiency.

Filling the chambers of the bags with rice was a bit of a challenge, even with a funnel. I’ve found rice all over the place and other than the obvious, it’s messy, I hate suddenly seeing a few grains that I missed here and there.

It’s a mind association thing. I love crime shows and watch television while I’m sewing. Do you know how many shows have to do with decomp, and maggots? And do you know what a grain of rice looks like? Creepy.

At any rate, I know what my Christmas craft will be this year. Everyone will get a Bed Buddy for those cold winter nights, a small bag for warming hands, and a larger bag, designed by me, for neck and shoulder pain.

I just need a way to store this 8 Kg bag of rice I bought that’s a bit more spill proof.


Joyce Lansky said...

Also, if your pain gets better and you're hungry, you can add water and have a snack. :)

Deborah Lean said...

Too funny, thanks for the laugh.