How to DIY hot pack at home

  1. Get a piece 100% cotton clean sock, with a long tube for knot
  2. Fill the sock with uncooked rice
  3. Tie the knot
  4. Test the heat every 20 seconds for a temperature check
  5. It should be feeling comfortably warm.
  6. You may enjoy the warm therapy for around 10min-15min depending on the heat retention.

Point to note :

  • A heating pad made of food might not be ideal for those who live in high humidity. This is because the food inside the pack might get mold easily. 
  • For fabric, consider only 100%. Avoid Nylon and plastic-containing material like a zipper, which should not be reheat in the microwave!
  • No stinky old socks, please.
  • Do not use popcorn seed. You will get something else other than a hot pack.

When to use a hot or cold pack?

Before applying a hot pack, we should first make sure, are we picking the correct choice?

You may think when should we use a hot or cold pack?

Let’s take a look.

If you have an acute injury ( a recent accident or sudden pain), go for the cold pack. Cold packs help to control swelling and reduce inflammation.

Point to note:

  • If you have an opened wound, apply proper wound dressing for protection and NEVER use an ice pack directly on the bleeding site.
  • In other circumstances, if you wish to relieve muscle tension, go for the hot pack. It helps to improve circulation of the localized area and soften the tissue.

Still in doubt? Then don’t do anything until you confirm with your medical professional.

When should you not using a hot pack

Since hot and cold pack will affect our circulation. And having the normal sensation to tell when it might be too cold or too hot is essential to avoid burning, some people should NOT use hot and cold treatment, or who should seek physician advice to proceed:

Contraindications & Precaution

including but not limited to people with 

  • Diabetes
  • Sensory deficit
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Internal bleeding
  • Cognitive issue (i.e. too young or too old)
  • Cardiac problem
  • Metal implant
  • Pacemaker
  • Breast implant
  • Open wound
  • Skin or bone infection
  • Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pregnancy (over abdomen or lower back)
  • Thermoregulation issue
  • Blood clot
  • Circulation problem
  • Peripheral vascular disease (i.e. blood vessels problem of your arms/feet)

What is the best type of heating pad

Different people will have a different need in selecting their best heating pads. 

Some people consider the best value in terms of price, others may look into size, power, shape those that come with a timer or temperature setting. 

Among all factors, please consider SAFETY FIRST.

Which means

  1. you should buy from a seller that you trust
  2. also to make sure you are eligible to proceed to heat treatment
  3. most important of all, please do follow safety instruction 

What are different types of heating pads for pain relief?​

Heat up by microwave. Oftentimes, products come with different shapes of design to fit on our neck, back, or limbs.

Also known as an electric heating pad. Users can set a time limit and heat level. But this is usually more expensive than a microwavable pack.

Also known as an electric heating pad. Users can set a time limit and heat level. But this is usually more expensive than a microwavable pack.

Fillings can be made with corn, rice, buckwheat, etc. However, it takes time to experiment heat retention effect of different ingredients.

Good money value. However, some people are worried about water leakage from the bottle.

Can I use a portable hand warmer ( or disposable hot pack ) for muscle pain?

The heat created from a portable hand warmer is by the oxidation of lighter fuel. Users must be careful of any potential leakage of any content from the warmer.
Handwarmer often comes in a handy size for people to place in their pocket. Therefore, if your target area is like neck and back, small size of hot pack might not be applicable.

How to use a microwavable hot pack

  1. Prepare a place where you can lie down or sit down comfortably. You can prepare some cushions, at least a towel, and a thin blanket to keep other parts of your body warm
  2. Microwave the hot pack according to instructions.
  3. If the warmth is not enough, try to add only 20 seconds each time
  4. Wrap the microwavable pack in a towel to create an insulation layer; if you are using an electric pad, layer a towel under the pad. Avoid direct contact with the skin
  5. Put the pack over your target area, with the towel side touching your skin. 
  6. You can tuck the towel end for closer contact if you are treating your back region
  7. Alternatively, you can use a clip or hairband to tie the towel ends
  8. Set a timer for 15-20mins
  9. Be alert for any sign of skin-burn
  10. The temperature should be feeling ‘Comfortably warm’

How often should we use a hot pack?

You can use it 3-4 times a day. Every time for 15-20mins. It is not advised to be used for an extended period e.g. 8 hours as it can cause skin burn.

How long does the heat last?

For moisture heating pad, it lasts for around 15 to 20minutes.

How hot can it get?

The surface temperature of a hot pad can be up to around 32°C to 40°C, which is around 90F to 105F. 

*A 5 minutes contact of a 50°C would be able to cause skin burn already

Here are our BONUS safety tips for you in using microwave hot pack

  1. Safety first – adjust for shorter heat-up time if your microwave is of higher voltage (above 700W). Most instruction manuals are referring to a 500W microwave oven. You might have over-heat your hot pack.
  2. Do not fall asleep – you need the alert to tell if the hot pack is too hot. Therefore, be careful if you are taking sleeping pills or muscle relaxants.
  3. Set alarm – It’s natural when you are warmed, you feel relaxed and want to fall asleep. Try to set an alarm to avoid skin-burn
  4. Temperature check – Once you take the pack from the microwave, try to feel it with your back of your hand for 5-10 seconds. It should feel comfortably warm, but not steamy hot.
  5. Use Towel – Just tuck the towel under your waist. But not too tight! 
  6. Explore different shape – some hot pack are designed in C-shaped to sit on the shoulder, where some hot pack comes with a belt where you can tie a knot so that it won’t get out of place
  7. Make sure the turntable in the microwave is clean – unless you wish your hot pack smelling like the pasta or dinner you had last night
  8. No “itchiness” – if you feel itchy, it might be too hot already
  9. Layered your hot pack – Layer or wrap your moist hot pack with a towel to avoid skin burn
  10. Do not lie on a hot pack, extra pressure will increase the contact temperature.
  11. It’s not the longer the better – temperature above 45°C can induce skin burn if there is a close contact of a hot pack with skin for long hours (>7 hours).

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