How To Make a Rice Sock for Pain Relief

Instructions and Tips to Make a Rice Sock

Close up of hands holding rice
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A rice sock can be used to help relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy, ease the tension of a headache or a sore muscle, and even help with baby after birth by using moist heat. Moist heat provides all the benefits of dry heat but with an enhancement. The rice sock is the perfect delivery system because it is not expensive, it is easy to use, and you can sleep with it because it does not stay warm nor get warmer as time goes on, making it safe for labor and sleep.

While heat has long been used as a source of pain relief, comfort, or relaxation on the perineum when a woman is giving birth, it can also be used in pregnancy as a safe and reliable form of pain relief and as a way to promote relaxation. Here are some places that moms use their rice socks:

What You Need to Make a Rice Sock

Making a rice sock is very easy. The simplest form of a rice sock should take no more than a few minutes to make.

  • Tube Sock or another sock
  • 1.5 - 2 lbs plain rice
  • Herbs or aromatherapy oils (optional)
  • Needle (optional)
  • Thread (optional)

This is a great way to use up any spare socks or single socks that no longer have mates. The one thing that you need to check for is that there are no holes or severely worn spots in the sock. The taller the sock, the more rice you will need and the bigger the end product will be.

Steps to Make a Rice Sock for Pain Relief

You do not need to buy a lot of things for this project, most people will have the basics in their house. 

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Cut or tear a small corner of your bag of rice off.
  3. Pour rice into open tube sock. Use between one and a half and two pounds. More rice for a firmer rice sock, less for a less firm sock.
  1. Tie the end of the sock to prevent rice from spilling out. You can also use the needle and thread to sew the end of the rice sock closed.
  2. Heat in your microwave for two to three minutes, depending on your microwave.
  3. Use to relieve pain or aid in relaxation.

Tips for Making a Rice Sock

The rice socks are a simple project that can take anywhere from a few minutes to a half an hour if you sew your own. The nice part is that with some simple care and following these tips, your rice sock will last at least a year, maybe more, depending on how often you use it.

  1. Do not use minute rice. This will not heat up the same way as regular rice will and won't produce the heat you are looking for in a heat pack.
  2. A gray tube sock will not show dirt as quickly as a white tube sock. And while stripes on tube socks might be out in gym classes, they are awfully fancy on a rice sock.
  3. Some people enjoy using lavender or other essential oils in their socks. Simply add some prior to sealing the sock. This can be in the form of dried lavender buds or essential oils.
  4. You can also stitch the sock closed for a fancier rice sock as opposed to tying it. You can also make rice pillows.
  5. Buck wheat, corn, and other grains can also be used instead of rice. You can decide which smells better for your purposes.
  1. If you know how to sew, you could also make packs. Most people who do the packs choose a rectangular shape for more coverage. If you do this, you may want to do channels to prevent the rice from bunching in one spot.
  2. If you do not want to make a sock, you can also buy these types of products in many stores or online at Etsy and other shops.
  3. After you give birth, these are still great for aches and pains, warming your bed, the baby's car seat, and so much more. These are even used for kids to help with growing pains and other things that require heat.

Sources:

Dahlen HG, Homer CS, Cooke M, Upton AM, Nunn RA, Brodrick BS. Midwifery. 2009 Apr;25(2):e39-48. Epub 2007 Nov 26. 'Soothing the ring of fire': Australian women's and midwives' experiences of using perineal warm packs in the second stage of labor.

Petrofsky J, Berk L, Bains G, Khowailed IA, Hui T, Granado M, Laymon M, Lee H. J Clin Med Res. 2013 Dec;5(6):416-25. doi: 10.4021/jocmr1521w. Epub 2013 Oct 12. Moist heat or dry heat for delayed onset muscle soreness.

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