When it comes to home treatment for any kind of pain or inflammation, a hot compress is very effective.
Warmth from a hot compress is soothing and healing for the body. It helps dilate blood vessels, which makes it easier for the blood to distribute nutrients throughout the body as well as flush out toxins.
A hot compress helps relieve pain, increase circulation, relax muscle spasms, aid wound healing, and treat several skin and eye problems. It is usually applied for 5 to 15 minutes every 2 hours.
Commercial hot packs are available but may not be suitable for all body parts. For instance, your eyes may not be able to bear the weight and bulkiness of a commercial hot pack. Also, commercial hot packs may contain chemicals that can harm your skin if there’s any leakage.
However, it’s easy to make a hot compress yourself at home using some simple, cheap materials you probably already have laying around your house.
Here are some methods to prepare a hot compress at home.
1. Moist Compress
This is the simplest way to make a hot and moist compress. All you need is a towel and some hot water.
- Fill a large bowl with hot, but not boiling, water.
- Submerge a cotton cloth in the water until it’s saturated.
- Wring out the excess water, so that it doesn’t drip.
- Fold the cloth into a rectangle and place it in a ziplock bag. This will help seal in the moisture and the heat.
- Place the compress on the affected body part.
2. Dry Heat Compress
A dry heat compress is very easy and convenient to use. However, one major downside is that it could potentially dehydrate the skin. If you have dry skin, avoid this compress and stick to a moist warm compress.
- Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of cooked rice into a ziplock bag. Heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Remove it from the microwave and set it aside. Wrap a washcloth around the bag and use it as needed.
- Alternatively, heat a thick-bottomed pan. When it’s hot, add 1 cup of salt to it and allow the salt to get warm. Transfer the warm salt to a clean cloth and tie it into a bundle (you can also secure it with a rubber band). Your compress is ready to use. Once the compress cools down, reheat the pan and place the bundle on top of it until it warms up again.
3. Hand Towel Method
One of the best and simplest ways to make your own heating pad is by using hand towels. For this, all you need is two hand towels, a ziplock bag and a microwave.