Heat is used to promote healing and can be helpful in minimizing muscle spasms. Heat helps muscles relax, improves circulation and soothes throbbing pain and stiffness.
There are risks to using an electric heating pad because these devices emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Some research has suggestes that exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields (emitted by appliances such as hairdryers, electric blankets and electric razors) can damage DNA in brain cells. The data came from a study in rats at the University of Washington, which found DNA damage in animals exposed to a 60 hertz field for 24 hours; more damage was found after 48 hours. Henry Lai, Ph.D., the study leader, said that data from this and a previous study suggest that the effects of exposure are cumulative and may build up in humans over time as a result of repeated brief use of common plug-in appliances. He suggests limiting exposure to as little time as possible, particularly with devices used close to the body. EMFs are stronger as you get closer to the device.
Where does that leave you when we tell you to use heat?
An easy solution to this problem is to make your own heating pad! You can use a variety of fabrics such as old socks (sew or knot end closed), washcloths or old towels. If it’s a cotton fabric then you can use it. There are numerous filler options such as uncooked rice, wheat, feed corn, buckwheat hulls, oatmeal or cherry pits. You can also add spices, herbs or essential oils. My favorite is to use rice soaked in lavender oil for several days in a sealed container.
Basically you can cut the fabric to whatever shape you would like it to be. Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill pouch with your choice of filler. You want to fill it about ½ or ¾ full so that it can mold around your body. Once it’s full, sew it closed.
When you are ready to use your homemade heating bag; heat in the microwave for one to three minutes, depending on size. You can also set a cup of water inside along with it to add moisture or spritz bag lightly with water first.
Make sure you shake it first, feel around and check that it’s not too hot. Enjoy!