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This guide will help you create a "rice sock," a compress which can be heated in a microwave or chilled in a freezer and applied to the body to help relieve pain and discomfort. It can also be used as a physical therapy device for hands. Flaxseed can also be used and stays hot longer.
- Get a clean cotton sock and fill it with uncooked rice. I first experimented by heating white rice, brown rice, barley, flax seed, etc. in socks to see how each worked. All worked fine, but flax seed was the smoothest to feel. It took a little longer to heat than rice, but also stayed warm longer. Don't pack it in tightly, leave some room for the grains to move around so that it will more easily conform to the area to be treated.
- Use a thick athletic type sock, so grain will not stick through. Tie the open end of the sock with yarn, ribbon or string.
- Put the filled sock in a microwave oven for approximately 1 minute (or to chill the sock, put it in a freezer for about 45 minutes).
- Shake the rice/grain sock to evenly distribute the heated or chilled rice.
- Apply the sock to the desired body part.
- To use for physical therapy, just create a smaller rice sock and knead it slowly and gently with the affected hand. As time passes and the hand gets stronger, knead harder.
- You can add a few drops of your favorite scented oil, such as pure essential lavender oil, which aids in relaxation.
- You can add some dried herbs to provide scent, as well. A popular mix is dried lavender, chamomile and lemon peel.
- Be sure the sock is closed tightly and knot the tie to prevent a spill.
- If the sock becomes dirty, you can throw it away and make a new one, or empty the contents into a clean sock and wash the dirty one.
- An alternate way to make these, if you have more time, is to sew a little pouch (with or without a decorative design). These can be used for yourself, given as gifts, or even to sell if they are really good.
- New rice will give off quite a bit of moisture when microwaved and will smell strongly. The more your sock/beanbag is used and microwaved the less damp it will feel and the smell will gradually fade.
- Washed and dried cherry pits can also be used instead of rice.
- The foot of an old pair of pantyhose could be used as the inside layer of a two layer sock to keep the rice from migrating through a less tightly woven outer sock.
- Corn seed (available at farm outlets) can also be used and the heat generated seems to last longer. Don't use popcorn for this project! The corn also has a slight odor when heated. If made from sturdy material, it can withstand years of daily use!
- A small pillow case may be substituted for the sock if you want a pad that covers more area. Remember, more area means slightly longer heating/cooling time. You will want to experiment with times and settings, but be careful not to burn yourself.
- If you have no materials around to seal the sock, just tie a knot in the end of the sock itself or sew up the end of the sock to create a permanent seal.
- To be prepared for the unexpected, keep one in your freezer, so it's ready to use at a moment's notice.
- A good way to make a larger rice "pillow" is to fold a soft dishtowel (clean) in half. Sew up two of the sides, fill it with rice, then sew up the third side. These are especially good for menstrual cramps, because the weight feels nice on the abdomen, and the heat soothes the pain. It's also great as a foot warmer in bed.
- Flax seed (those little things you find in birdseed) is another possibility. Flax seeds are small, hard, smooth brown seeds about the size of a sesame seed. Their smoothness makes them conform very well to any shape.
- A rice sock also works well for comforting puppies who cry in the night. Warm it and put it in bed with the puppy. Be certain it's not too hot.
- A small amount of Vick's Vaporub can create an aromatic and therapeutic aid that will help with colds or allergies.
- Do NOT use Minute Rice or other quick cooking sorts of rice. It will start a fire in your microwave.
- To prevent fires, put a glass of water in the microwave with your rice sock when heating it.
- Never use anything metal to make your rice sock because you will be using it in the microwave, and microwaves do not like metal.
- Don't use twist ties to close your sock, as they may contain metal.
- Use caution so as not to overheat the sock. Rice socks can cause severe burns if overheated. The rice can also burn! At the very least this will smell bad, and it could possibly start a fire or burn a hole in the sock.
- Never use a rice sock on a person who is sleeping, anyone who is paralyzed, a person who has been given medication that might numb their body (such as an epidural), or an infant. They could be burned severely, because they will not be able to feel or tell you if the sock is too hot.
- Use a cool or cold rice sock to cool someone with a fever as long as it does not induce shivering, since this can increase metabolism and body temperature. For an adult with a high fever place a cold sock on the forehead and cool socks in each arm pit and, if tolerated, at the base of the back of the neck. Check the temperature about every 20-30 minutes. Continue cooling until the temperature is below ~101F . A cool sock at the base of the neck or on the forehead can be continued for comfort.
- Do not treat a child's fever with cold; tepid baths are better.
- If the rice sock feels too cold or hot at first, you can wrap it with a light towel until the temperature equalizes a bit.
Things You'll Need
- A clean cotton sock
- Uncooked rice or flaxseed.
- A piece of yarn, ribbon or string, not plastic
- A microwave and / or a freezer
- A small pillow case may be substituted for the sock if you wish a larger pad.
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