How to Make Thermal Pads

Written by goody clairenstein
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How to Make Thermal Pads
Soothe your muscle pain with a homemade, reusable thermal pad. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Thermal pads are excellent for relaxing tight, knotted muscles or soothing menstrual pain. It's easy to assemble your own thermal pad that you can use again and again instead of relying on the expensive single-use kind from the drugstore.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Thick fabric swatch or medium towel
  • Strips of elastic
  • Reusable therapy gel pack that is microwave- and freezer-safe
  • Sewing machine
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Zipper (optional)

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  1. 1

    Purchase a reusable therapy gel pack from the drugstore or department store. Make sure you purchase a multipurpose gel pack that can be frozen for cold gel therapy or heated in a microwave for thermal therapy. A therapy gel pack should cost somewhere between £6 and £13, as of 2011.

  2. 2

    Measure the gel pack without the covers that may be included in the package. Record the measurements. These measurements will function as the guidelines for constructing your own cover to keep the thermal pad in place.

  3. 3

    Construct a fabric pocket for your gel pack using its measurements as a guide. Double the measurement for the length of the gel pack, and add 2 inches for the body of the pocket. Make sure the ends of your fabric swatch or towel are wide enough to accommodate the gel pack to allow it to easily slide in and out. Fold the fabric into a long tube and sew it shut along its long end, then sew one short end shut.

  4. 4

    Attach the zipper to the open short end of the fabric tube if you desire. If not, leave it open, making sure there is enough excess fabric so you can fold it to secure the thermal pad. Don't worry about making the fabric pocket for your gel pack too hardy; while in use, it won't get a lot of heavy-duty handling, as you will ideally lie still with the thermal pack in place.

  5. 5

    Measure two lengths of elastic so that they could tie around your waist or hips when attached to the fabric pocket, and cut them to size. Attach one strip of elastic to each short end of the fabric pocket so that it can be secured to your body with the gel pack inside.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose a fabric swatch or towel that is thin enough to effectively transfer the gel pack's heat to your body, but thick enough to prevent burns and discomfort. When preparing to use the thermal pad, make sure you heat up the gel pack separately from the fabric pocket you constructed to minimise risk of fire.

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