by D.S. Braun
Most natural moist hot and cold pads on the market are made of corn or rice – and while these two fillers can be adequate, I believe that pure, natural flax simply beats either of these two materials hands down.
Flax is the superior choice due to heat retention, long-lasting heat use after use, neutral smell, high moisture content and in how it contours to your body, unlike the inferior alternative fillings.
Additionally, the moist heating and cold pads on the market today seem to be using a ‘shotgun’ approach. This means that they have combined a dozen or more herbs and put them in with their pad filler and expect these herbs to effectively treat many conditions.
The simple fact of the matter is that several of the herbs they include in their moist heating pads have NO therapeutic effect whatsoever when delivered through an herbal hot and cold pad simply because they are either bark or root and need the process of decocting in order to provide the most benefit. I use varying combinations of 3 herbal flowers that have proven therapeutic qualities through their aromas, and several oils which also have proven health benefits to mind and body via the sense of smell.
These moist hot and cold pads can be used for a wide variety of complaints and conditions including: pain, swelling, elevated temperature, stress, insomnia, cramping, muscle aches & pains, head pain, arthritis, rheumatism, gout, anxiety, and many others.
Here are my four main suggestions for making an *effective* herbal pillow or moist heating pad or cold pad:
1) Use a small combination of herbs (3 or less) that pertain to what you would like the pillow for.
2) Add appropriate oils to the herbs (no more than 3 or 4 different oils – sprinkle 30 drops TOTAL over the herbs) – this strengthens both the aroma and the therapeutic effects.
3) Make your herbal pillow in the size and shape you need – there really is no limitation here. Use materials such as cotton and flannel – and I always make them in two layers if using cotton. Also, those decorative quilting and pillow squares make *unbelievably* beautiful herbal pillows. Simply make a cotton herbal pillow and then ‘cover’ with a sewn quilting square for the front and flannel for the back of the pillow.
4) Use flax as a base – especially if you’re going to heat the pillows and use them as treatment pillows.
Well, this one is pretty easy to answer. If you’ve ever had a corn heating pad you know that they are bulky, heavy and sometimes downright uncomfortable to use on a part of your body that is already in pain. The rice heating pads are a little easier on the sore spots, but flax has them both beat, by a long shot.
The benefits of flax are:
Comfort – Flax is a very very small, smooth seed. This means that when used as a filler in a natural heating pad it will conform to any body part smoothly and easily. The difference in the very feel of a flax pad compared to corn or rice is beyond description. Flax is more comfortable, it conforms easily to odd-shaped areas you may need the heat or cold therapy and it has no sharp ends or parts to poke and prod your body.
Moisture - Because of flax’s high oil content, it simply retains moisture better than most any other natural pad filler including hulls, corn and rice. Flax also has a porous shell, unlike rice or corn – therefore it has superior moisture absorption qualities.
Heat - Flax will continue to provide moist, long-lasting heat use after use, without drying out and burning the filler of the same bulk and weight. Flax has a 40 percent oil content compared to about 15 percent for rice and 4 percent or less for corn.
Smell - Flax will not have that ‘cooked food’ smell to interfere with the benefits of aromatherapy in the pads. Although it is possible to burn flax seed, with normal use it will have a neutral smell, which allows the herbs and oils present in the pads to do their work unhindered.
Five basic blends to use in your natural heating pad for common ailments:
Blend of pure flax , organic lavender and chamomile flowers; with lavender, chamomile and rosemary oils. Used hot or cold, the herbs and oils in these pads will help ease headache and migraine pain, as well as relax and soothe both mind and body. Don’t let the name fool you, this blend is good for all types of body pain!
This blend was formulated with relaxation and stress reduction in mind. It contains a blend of pure flax, organic lavender and chamomile flowers; as well as ylang ylang, chamomile and lavender oils – all herbs which help quiet the mind and relax the body to help you unwind and achieve a state of calm after a tension-filled day.
Muscle/Joint Aches & Pains Blend
Using a blend of pure flax, organic lavender flowers; clary sage, cinnamon, lemongrass and chamomile oils, this blend is optimal for helping to relieve those aching strained muscles, arthritis and gout pain, or any other type of muscular/skeletal ache.
Cold & Flu Blend
An herbal pillow can be a great additional treatment to help you beat that nasty cold or flu. A blend of pure flax, organic lavender flowers; frankincense, thyme, lavender and eucalyptus oils will help ease congestion and coughs as well as help you relax so you can get the rest you need to recover from the bug that has bitten you.
We all know that a good night’s rest is essential to good health and an Insomnia Blend herbal pillow can help you more easily attain that restful sleep we all require. A relaxing blend of pure flax, organic lavender, hops and chamomile flowers; ylang ylang, lavender, chamomile and clary sage oils produces a calming, soothing aroma to help you fall asleep more quickly.
Using and caring for your herbal pillow:
Use as a heating pad for conditions including: Fibromyalgia, head pain, ear pain, joint pain, Cramps, Asthma, Body Warmth, Tension, Anxiety, sleep problems, Congestion, Coughs,
Use as a cold pad for conditions including: Eye strain, Sprains & Strains, head pain, Black Eyes, Nerve Pain, Fever, Bruises, Post Op Healing, Swelling
To use hot: Simply heat in a microwave for 2-4 minutes – depending on your microwave. Use caution when handling a hot Herbillow. Do not overheat. To help keep your herbal pillow fresh and last even longer, lightly spritz with water before heating.
To use cold: Simply place your herbal pillow in a freezer container or ziplock bag and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours – or, leave an extra herbal pillow in your freezer for those unexpected emergencies!
To clean: Simply wipe the surface of your herbal pillow with a damp cloth. You can also make a removable cover for your herbal pillow which can be machine washed. Do not immerse or machine wash the inner bag. If an herbal pillow which doesn’t have a removable, washable cover truly needs a thorough cleaning, put it in the top rack of your dishwasher and run the lightest cycle (WITHOUT detergent). Air dry.
Why not learn how to make your own Aromatherapy blends?
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