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I have an electric heating pad that plugs into a wall outlet. (It’s a Sunbeam heating pad.) I also have a heating pack that I made myself. (It’s a sock filled with rice.)
And I have a microwavable hot/cold pack that I got as a gift. (It’s a Bed Buddy.)
While they have all worked reasonably well up til now, they are all many years old.
Hubby and I have been experiencing a few more aches and pains than normal lately, so we’ve been looking for a heating pad that is heavy-duty — a little more durable and longer-lasting, good for everyday use.
Here’s why I use a microwavable heating pad:
- I have chronic neck pain — partly due to Lyme Disease, and partly due to spending way too many hours at a time working on the computer.
- Hubby had a recent bout with melanoma skin cancer — which led to a blood clot (or Deep Vein Thrombosis) and leg pain with swelling.
My Old Heating Pads
The electric heating pad never seems to stay at a comfortable temperature. Either it’s too hot — which sometimes I appreciate, but you can only take that much direct heat for so long. Or, if I turn it on low, it’s too weak to be effective. You’d think that the medium setting would be great, but it’s not.
Here are my thoughts on why electric heating pads don’t work for me:
- There’s no thick, plush cover of any sort on my electric heating pad.
- The heat becomes too concentrated when I fold it to fit under the back of my neck — my #1 sore spot. At the same time, it’s hugely uncomfortable.
- It’s just a thin plastic mat with wires in it, and that’s exactly what it feels like next to my skin.
- The thin cotton cover it came with offers nothing but minor stain protection.
There is no way that it’s thick enough to use this heating pad comfortably under the back of my neck while I’m lying down.
My DIY heating pad works best for a quick, short burst of heat, and only for smaller aches. It’s better suited for children actually. Again, it’s not thick enough to use comfortably where I need it, and it doesn’t cover a very large area.
My Bed Buddy microwaveable heating pad is longer and more configurable than the other 2, but it’s rather flimsy. It’s like it’s not filled to capacity with the rice inside. Here’s how I use it most: draped around my neck while I’m sitting at my desk working on the computer. It serves its purpose in that way. But it’s not quite large enough to wrap around your arm or leg if you happen to have a pain there. And it’s hard to get this thing to stay in place… anywhere. It’s also not thick enough to fit under the back of my neck while lying down.
We could really use a large, thick, repositionable heating pad for our adult-sized aches and pains.
Which is why I was absolutely thrilled to discover these new Thermal-Aid healing products at my local Costco!!!
- They have adult-sized heating/cooling packs in various shapes and sizes.
- They also have these cute heat/ice packs for children shaped like cuddly teddy bears in a variety of colors.
These have become my favorite new heating pads!
Thermal Aid Large Sectioned Heat/Ice Pack
I decided to try the large sectioned heading pad for myself and hubby. And I got the purple Thermal Aid bear as a gift for my 3 little nieces.
I cannot say enough how much I love Love LOVE the large sectioned heating pad!
No kidding. I use it all the time. (At this point, I’m using it nightly.) And hubby has used it a couple of times when he had serious leg pain and swelling.
Here’s why we like this microwave heating pad:
#1 – It’s a heating pad and an ice pack. I usually enjoy finding multiple uses for things around the house — always trying to get more bang for my buck. So I was thrilled to learn that this heating pad works both as a heating pad and as an ice pack! You simply toss it in the microwave for a few minutes to use it as a heating pad. Or, you toss it in the freezer for a 3 to 5 hours before using it as an ice pack. (As much as I use mine for a heating pad, I’d almost rather have a separate one to use as an ice pack.)
#2 – The segmented compartments are what make this heating pad better than most. The best part: there is absolutely no way the kernels of corn can leave their sections, so each segment remains just as full as the others, and identical in size as well. This is great for even heat distribution, and for thick, even coverage of a particular body part.
#3 – It’s so easy to contour it into whatever shape you need. Since it’s filled with thousands of individual large-sized pieces of corn, it takes on the perfect shape when you’re wrapping it around any body part. The corn inside shifts around perfectly in order to distribute the heat right where you need it. At the same time, you can position it exactly as you need it around your sore spots.
#4 – It’s big enough for wrapping around your leg, arm, back, shoulders, or neck. I absolutely love the large size of this heading pad. I think the large size pad would feel slightly heavy for a child or senior to lift and wrap around to fit, but they make smaller versions for those situations.
#5 – It’s a great neck pillow for sleeping. They say it’s a great heat source for an adult or child to cuddle with at bed time. I firmly agree with this! I’ve started using mine as a neck pillow at night — similar to what my chiropractor recommended. Now, whenever I’ve been on the computer for most of the day (which is almost always), I make a point to use the Thermal Aid pad as a heated neck roll when I’m going to sleep. It really helps to ease the pain a bit, and it’s a nice calming feeling which helps me go to sleep faster too. (Trust me, a heated neck roll is much better than a non-heated neck roll!)
#6 – It heats up in just 4 minutes. Initially, I heated mine for 3 minutes in the microwave the first few times I used it. But I quickly learned that the results are much better when you heat it for 4 minutes instead. It’s hotter — without burning your skin. And the heat lasts longer too. I guess it depends on your microwave.
#7 – The heat in the Thermal Aid heating pad itself lasts for about 30 minutes. After that, it’s still warm, but not hot. I can still feel the warmth on my neck for an additional 15 minutes or so after I remove the pad.
#8 – Hubby uses it when his leg starts to hurt or swell. He actually used it the night he had a knot on the back of his leg that started swelling. He said this heating pad felt really great on the sore spot. And it really did make the swelling go down. (We alternated with ice and heat.) Coincidentally, he had a doctor appointment the very next morning, and that knot on his leg turned out to be a blood clot! Yep, he was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis and rushed to the emergency room that day. The artery in his leg was almost completely blocked. He’s okay. He now has to take blood thinners for 6 months — which is routine for DVT. But we’re so glad that we were aware of the knot on his leg and were able to ease the pain and the swelling that night!
#9 – It’s really well made and will last a long time! At first I thought, “Oh, this will probably be just like all the other DIY heating/cooling packs out there. You fill them with corn (or rice) and they work for awhile. Ho hum.” But no! After doing a little research, I found that they use a patented process which eliminates toxic mold/fungi from forming in and around the corn. I also found this:
Thermal-Aid is a revolutionary, 100% natural therapeutic heating/cooling treatment pack specifically designed for the medical field, to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Our researchers worked closely with milling engineers from the largest agribusiness companies in the world to create a line of products, using a unique process, which allows a specialized corn to hold temperatures for long periods of time. This process removes the germ from the kernel, thus removing virtually all the moisture and preventing mold or fungi from forming. The entire process hardens the corn segments, causing an even temperature in each segment, and creating extended temperature retainment (hot and cold). This also extends the life of the corn beyond that of the material it’s sewn into! Source
2 Things I Wish The Microwave Heating Pad Had:
- I wish the cover on the sectioned heating/cooling pack was removable for washing. It says you can spot clean, you just can’t get it soaked. I’d rather have a separate washable cover that I don’t have to worry about getting makeup or other stains on.
- I wish the it came in a darker color fabric, so it would be less likely show stains and dirt (and dog fur) over time.
Thermal Aid Heat/Ice Pack Teddy Bears
I gave the purple teddy bear heat/ice pack to my nieces for Christmas. They loved it!
They each wanted to have their picture taken showing off how they plan to use it.
I was thrilled to see their excitement. I mean, it’s a silly heating pad! How many kids would get excited over something that’s good for them?
They range in age from 7 to 9, so they really seemed to understand some of the reasons they would want to use this little bear the next time they have an ache or pain.
It was a win-win. They liked how cute the lavender Thermal Aid bear is. I liked how eager they were to use it.
Thermal Aid Heating/Cooling Pads For Pets
They also have a version of the Thermal Aid hot/cold pack that is made specifically for pets.
I seriously considered this for my dog. He had TPLO knee surgery when he tore his ACL several years ago, and now the vet said he’s beginning to show signs of arthritis. He’s not on any regular meds for it yet, but the vet said to be prepared — it is likely that constant leg aches and pains are just around the corner for him.
I decided not to buy the pet version just yet because, honestly, it looks identical to the human version. I can’t tell what’s different, so I will probably just use our large sectioned Thermal Aid on our large breed dog when the time comes. (I might make a darker cover for it, because his fur is black, and the heating pad itself is an off-white color.) If the pet Thermal Aid had a detachable, washable cover, I’d probably buy it in the large pet size.
Thermal Aid has been tested on patients and animals with many different pain ailments including arthritis, fibromyalgia, broken bones, multiple sclerosis, migraines, back pain, and various muscle aches. The results have been incredible, sparking major interest among healthcare professionals and veterinarians across the country. Source
The Bottom Line On My Favorite Microwave Heating Pad
There are some really cool uses for a microwave heating pack that you probably haven’t thought about.
I did already think of giving the Thermal-Aid teddy bear as a baby gift, but here are some more great reasons to do so that I didn’t think of: Why A Thermal-Aid Bear Should Be On Every Baby Registry.
And just for fun… here are 10 Ways To Stay Cozy With Thermal-Aid. Some of those are way outside the box, and I can’t wait to try a few.
Professionally, I pursued my Masters Degree in Family Therapy at Texas Tech — where I obtained invaluable expertise and experience helping people with a wide variety of physical and emotional health issues. Personally, I think it's useful when people realize that they're not the only one going through a difficult time. So any time that I think my personal health experiences would be helpful to someone else going through the same thing, I will share my story here. With health issues that I've personally experienced (like Endometriosis, Lyme Disease, Hysterectomy, Skin Cancer, Ganglion Cysts, Autism, and other topics that very few people enjoy talking about) and health products that I've found beneficial (like sleep aids, essential oils, and medications)… I do my best to provide my own raw and honest firsthand experiences that I think others would appreciate hearing about and (hopefully) find helpful. I'm grateful that I have a number of friends who have also been willing to share their very personal stories here — regarding their own physical and emotional health. When I'm not writing about health topics, you will find me sharing Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).