Making a Heat Therapy Pillow

Kim Davis
July 22, 2005

Wouldn't it feel nice and soothing to have a warm pillow on the back of your neck after a hard day at work? Or how about some heat therapy on that knee you messed up a few years ago that flares up every now and then? You can make yourself a pillow that will comfort those sore aching spots with heat. It cuddles that sore spot better than a heating pad. heat therapy pillow




  1. First measure and cut one piece of fleece material 11 x 16 inches.
  2. Cut the chord into two equal lengths.
  3. Press up a seam allowance 1/4 from the edges on the 11 inch sides.
  4. Fold the material in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch the long side 5/8 inch from the edge. You have now made a tube with two open ends.
  5. Turn the material right side out.
  6. Insert the ends of one of the pieces of chord into one end of the tube to form a handle. Pin in place.
  7. Stitch close to the edge of the end of the tube.
  8. Now stitch again 1/4 inch from the first seam. Remove the pins.
  9. Fill the tube from the other end with the rice.
  10. Insert the other piece of chord into the second end. Pin in place and stitch closed as you did the first end with two seams.

Now, on to the heat part. Place the pillow in the microwave and heat for twenty seconds. If that doesn't feel warm enough for you try a few more seconds. Now place the pillow on your aching spot. Doesn't that feel good? You can hold it in place with the handles or tie the handles together with another chord. The rice holds the heat and surrounds the area unlike a heating pad that just touches the top surfaces. You can even safely go to bed with this. By the time the rice cools you'll be fast asleep and don't have to worry about turning off the heating pad.

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January 16, 2006

After being approached numerous times at mall kiosks to try one of those small, filled "tension relief" pads (pillows) I decided to make my own.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 166 Posts
December 6, 2006

Herbal Cozy. Here is a great tip I found that was shared on a website I found this week. Basically this is an pillow filled with rice and herbs. You put it in the microwave for 2 minutes or less for warmth and heat, or throw it in the freezer to ease injuries, or for headaches.

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May 7, 2008

If you have children with frequent earaches, here is a great tip: Get a clean sock and fill with 1/2 cup or so of regular white rice. Make a knot just above the rice leaving a bit of "wiggle room". Just put in the microwave for about 30 - 40 seconds at med-high, testing periodically for comfort.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I have a friend that microwaved my neck pillow too long (3 minutes). The pillow was filled with rice. The rice burned and oozed out of the fabric enclosure. Does anyone know of a filler that will take a lot of heat and retain that heat. Any information certainly will be appreciated. Thank you.


Fran from Springfield, GA


By cindy (Guest Post)
April 7, 20080 found this helpful

You can also fill it with buck wheat. You can get it from a whole food or natural store. You can Freeze it or Heat it. Just remember to heat it at 1 min at a time, after each minute move it around.

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By Shelley (Guest Post)
April 7, 20080 found this helpful

Corn, you can get a 50 lb bag at Bass pro shop, wal-mart or a feed store for about $5.00-10.00 Put it in the microwave for about 3 min the first time to kill any "boll weevils" and 2 min each time you heat it up from then on. You don't want to cook it any longer because once you burn it you can't get the smell out. I make a pillow with the corn sewn in and then pillow cases of different materials. The pillows are about 10x12 inches which are nice for your tummy or back. A neck roll is nice too. If you hold it to your body it can stay warm almost all night long. My corn pillow is one of my favorite things in the world.

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Why not start over with rice?

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

Flax seed works and they put in lavender and other herbs to make it smell good too.

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April 10, 20080 found this helpful

Plain Pot Barley - you can get it at any bulk store. Cheap and doesn't hurt it when overheated. Holds the heat longer than rice as well!


Adding lavender or other scents works great as long as they aren't over heated.

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By (Guest Post)
April 10, 20080 found this helpful

I have heard flax seed or bird seed.

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April 10, 20080 found this helpful

We used dried beans. Any kind works. Have used ours for years and you can empty it wash and refill it.

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May 22, 2010

Can you use synthetic stretch toweling for making rice bags, that you heat in the microwave?

By verna from Melbourne


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 147 Feedbacks
May 22, 20100 found this helpful

No it's not safe, good luck.

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May 22, 20100 found this helpful

Ditto what kffrmw88 said. It isn't safe, they prob would melt or start a fire. Plus they wouldn't retain the heat for your pack as well. I think all of the commercial ones for sale I have seen are 100% cotton.


This doesn't address the fabric issue but has a few safety tips on it:

And don't leave them heating unattended etc.

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May 22, 20100 found this helpful

I've used plain muslin when I make mine, and I'll make a cute cover (think mini-pillowcase) out of cotton flannel.

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May 22, 20100 found this helpful

I use flannel. I would think what your talking about might melt.

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May 22, 20100 found this helpful

I use old T-shirt fabric, myself. I've never had a problem with it. :)

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May 23, 20100 found this helpful

Only use fabric that is 100% cotton. You can make them using old jeans, shirts, sheets, etc.

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May 26, 20100 found this helpful

Hi. I use fleece and have sold hundreds of them. I make them 12 inches by 12 inches and when you heat them 2-3 minutes you get a moist heat. My people that buy them come back year after year to buy more. Good luck.


Barb from Michigan

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June 19, 2011

I bought a linen fabric with 50% linen and 50% rayon. Could I use it to make rice bags?

By Marina L.


June 20, 20110 found this helpful

This type of fabric ravels easily. If you blind stitch it you could probably use it. That is, stitch 1/2 way between the stitching line with fabric on the right side out, then turn the fabric inside out and stitch on the stitching line. This will keep all raw edges enclosed. This will help to keep it from raveling.

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February 27, 2012

I've made these for years. Kids love them. I keep one in the freezer and one at room temperature. The cold ones are great for minor injuries. I use flannel fabric so it won't melt. Also you can use cracked corn as a filler. You can find it at feed stores. Can you use a different fabric?

By jilled

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