Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Emergency Flaxseed Heated Pad

I am on Day Two of a cold - me and the rest of the country, right??  In my case, it involves a really heavy-feeling head and sore ears.  I expect by tomorrow, it'll move into my throat and chest, but meanwhile all I want to do is get some relief from the pressure.

I keep a bunch of rice bags and flax bags on hand to provide soothing heat for various reasons, but for some reason, today I couldn't locate any and being sick makes me whiny and low patience, so after searching for a few minutes, it seemed easier to just make one than to find one.

So bear that in mind - this isn't a pretty flax bag! It's an emergency flax bag.  Someday, when I'm feeling better, I can make a delightfully cute bag - but today, it's all about getting myself curled up in a chair as quickly as possible with a blanket, a nice cup of tea, and this flax bag, heated up, soothing my poor congested head.

To make an emergency flax (or rice) bag, you need:

1 sock
1 1/2 cups whole flax seed (or rice, or non-instant whole barley)
1/4 c. Mint (optional)
1/4 c. Lavender buds (optional)

The key point is - USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  A container, and some sort of grain or seed that can be heated up repeatedly.

Socks are the easiest container, because we all have mismatched socks, somewhere right?  If you don't, you're far too organized to ever need an emergency anything, so nevermind!  But for the rest of us, here goes - -

My first step was choosing my mismatched sock, and that meant pulling out my sock drawer and realizing what a terrible mess it was.  I sorted socks and put the matches together, and then selected the softest unpatterned, non-nylon mismatched sock that was left.  (Why unpatterned? Because I'm a big baby and didn't want any texture annoying me when I held this to my face.  Why non-nylon? Because I'm going to microwave this, and I'm not entirely sure one of those wouldn't melt!)

I used mint and lavender because I had it on hand, and because I think they add to the soothing qualities of the hot pad.  Mint helps with congestion, and lavender has relaxing properties and can help with headaches.  But if you haven't got them on hand, don't worry about it - the key part is quickly getting to some nice, moist heat.

Rice is something usually on hand as well, and it works fine here.  As it happens, I didn't have any, but I did have a bag of whole flaxseed.  In a perfect world, I might have used both, because flax provides a really nice moisturizing element to the bag that I like.  But here again - use what you have, unless it's instant rice or instant barley or instant anything - instant means that when you heat it, it will actually cook, and you don't want that!
Once you've got your items together, mix the flax and herbs together, and put them into a 2 cup measuring cup.  You want a spout to direct the pouring of the flax into the sock.

The only even slightly tricky part is getting this fragrant soothing mixture into the sock without making a big mess that will make a sick, pitiful person fall apart and cry.

Junk mail to the rescue!  Somewhere, you've got a thin piece of cardboard laying around, about post card size.  Use that to hold open the sock.

Now, pour the flax and herbs into the sock - easy peasy!  My knee sock filled up about half way with this 2 cup mixture.

I considered briefly trying to just do a sort of twist and fold over procedure so that the sock could be emptied later, and  then I realized that had to be the illness talking - this sock is full of seeds and herbs that will never come out cleanly, and its wayward partner is never, ever coming back.

So, instead, I knotted it closed like a sane person would, threw into the microwave for 1 minute, and curled it up near my ear and dozed off into a relieved nap.

Total time, start to finish, including the time it took me to tidy my sock drawer and the minute to nuke the flaxseed pad - 10 minutes.  Not bad, eh?

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  1. I am going to make one with the flax seed as I've done many with millet that my late husband got for me in a 20 pound bag and it's gone. Thanks for the idea!♥♫

    1. I've not tried it will millet - but I would if I had that much on hand! I like how softening the flaxseed is.

  2. My son just had ear infections a couple weeks ago. I wish I'd known about this then. I will for next time. I love the idea of adding the lavender. I hope you are feeling much better now. Thank you for sharing it at to What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week! ~Deborah

    1. Oh ouch! I hope he's better now - those are so painful! I somehow got past my cold in just a couple of days!

  3. Hope you are feeling better! This is a great idea and would feel so good when I'm sick. Thanks for sharing at TTF!

    1. I am better, thank you so much for the kind thoughts!

  4. I've heard of using rice but never flax seeds. I'll bet it would feel wonderful. Hope four feeling better now, thanks for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop, hope t see you again tomorrow! - Nancy
    The Home Acre Hop

  5. Instead of using electric heat pads & blankets or hot water bottles for aches and pains, these natural microwaveable heating pads are just the ticket!