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Make Your Own Aromatherapy Hot/Cold Pack

My homemade hot packs provide much needed pain relief throughout the day.  Whether I use one from the freezer or microwave a couple to soothe my shoulders, these small satchels of healing grains and pulses are always close at hand.  They make an heartfelt gift for family and friends and can be as simple to make as putting a knot in an old sock filled with rice, or placing a finishing hem on a scrap of fabric filled with left over lentils.

You can use a few drops of essential oils or even a tiny bit of vanilla extract or a few coffee beans if that suits your senses.  In the slide show below I have some examples of how to combine various beans and rice for unique combinations that can relax your mind and body.

Depending on your own personal preference you may enjoy the feel of a whole bean, like navy or kidney.   Or you might prefer the touch of tiny grains of rice.  Lentils hold heat very well and sometimes you can find very cheap split peas on sale in bulk at the super market.  You can even use a variety of grains that you have left over in your pantry.  I often like to add a few special items in each of my packs — Two halves of a split pea inside a rice packet can often be a symbolic metaphor for some part of our healing journey that we want to affirm.  Or sometimes I will place nine small beans inside for a bit of feng shui good luck.

The color you choose to make your hot pack may also provide you with another way to warm yourself.  An old pair of jeans makes for an excellent and sturdy hot pack.  While a soft tee shirt feels nice to the touch and may have cellular memories that make you smile.  In the photos below, I used a variety of fabric scraps as well as different fillings.

To assemble the hot pack, turn your two fabric scraps inside out and sew along three edges and partly up the fourth edge until you have a gap that is 2-3 inchs.  This will be the hole you need to fill the grains.  Turn the casing right side up and get your fillings ready.

For ease of pouring, I place my grains or beans inside a large plastic yogurt container.   And if I am scenting my hot pack I will place  a few drops of essential oils directly on top of the rice (or beans) before I fill the fabric.

I use a makeshift funnel by rolling a sturdy piece of paper and placing it into the two inch gap in the fabric and then carefully pour the scented grains and pulses into the pouch until it is about 2/3rds of the way to the top.

To finish it off, I fold the remaining raw edges over and hand stitch the last two inches.

Here are my notes from the packets I made last year that were pictured below just as an idea of the different combinations of scents you may want to consider.

Bay and Sage with Split Pea and White Rice and Brown Rice
Sweet Orange 9 drops, Lavender 5 drops / (9) Split Pea in white rice
Lemon and Peppermint oils in brown rice with one yellow split pea
Lavender – 1 pinto bean in brown rice
Lemon Grass ; Lavender ; Sage (small pinto beans)
Eucalyptus ; Bay / All Split Pea
White and Brown Rice (2) Split Pea – Eucalyptus
Lavender with Lentils
Lime and Eucalyptus with brown rice and (2) Split Pea
Lemon ; Sweet Orange ; Clove in brown rice with (9) Split Pea
Ginger and Peppermint with white rice and (9) Split Pea
Lavender and Sage with white rice and (9) split pea
Eucalyptus; peppermint – Split pea and brown rice and white rice
Lemon and Clove with white rice
Ylang Ylang in small beans

When I give these as gifts, I always include a note about what grains I used and the name of the oils that I specially selected for them.  You should also add a note about using CAUTION while heating these in the microwave.  All ovens are different and you should stop and check your hot pack after 30 seconds and then ever 15 seconds there after until you can determine how long is safe to heat one in your oven at home.

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