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Make it Monday – How to Make a Rice Hot/Cold Therapy Bag

Rice therapy bags are great for soothing and helping to relax sore, aching muscles.  They can be heated in the microwave to be used warm or stored in the freezer for use as cold packs.

They are also a super, simple easy-sew project that can be made in whatever size you need.

For our oldest daughter for Valentine’s I made one to drape over her shoulders after a long day in front of the computer doing medical billing and transcription.

To make your own shoulder hot pad:

Cut a strip of fabric 7″X48″ from a 100% white cotton thrifted sheet or if using cotton yardage, cut two pieces 7″X24 1/2″. I used my rotary cutter, cutting mat, and quilting ruler to make this go lightning quick. (<-affiliate links)


Fold fabric in half so that you have a piece 7″X24″.  Sew ½” seams along the two long edges.  Sew a second seam 1/8″ in from first seam.  If sewing two pieces together, sew another double seam across one 7″ end.

Trim seam to ¼”.


Turn right side out.  Press.

Press under ½” hem around open end.


Fill approximately 2/3 full with long grain rice.   (Do not use minute rice.)  I used a canning funnel (<-affiliate link) to make it easier to fill.


Pin opening closed and sew close to the folded edge.  Sew a second seam 1/8″ from first.

Your therapy bag is now ready to be used.


To heat: simply pop them into the microwave on high. Each microwave heats differently and you don’t want to overheat them and burn the rice, so it’s best to start with one minute and then if that’s doesn’t get the bag warm enough, continue to heat in 30 second intervals.   It will take some experimenting to find out how long works best in your microwave for the size of rice bag you are heating.

Then sit back, relax and let the heat ease away any muscle tension you may be experiencing.  Or on cold nights, heat it and put in under the covers at the foot of the bed to warm your feet.

To use as a cold pack, store them in the freezer until needed.

Click on the link for instructions on how to sew a cover for your rice therapy bag.

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  • Michele Hjulstad
    January 31, 2012 4:37 pm

    Thank you. I will try this! Muggs

  • R. Harbert
    December 21, 2009 12:11 pm

    I have heard that if you bake the rice in the oven before placing it in the bag it will not have the moisture in it.  The bag I purchased did not have moisture.  The bag I made did have moisture in it when warmed up.  If this is correct, how long and at what temp. do I need to bake it?  Thanks.

  • Deby
    October 13, 2009 10:16 am

    I was just wondering why you cant use instant rice.

    • supermom
      October 16, 2009 9:16 pm

      Hello Deby,

      You want whatever you use to fill your therapy bag, whether rice or another grain to retain the heat and because instant rice has been processed it’s not likely to retain heat very well. Also, I wouldn’t expect that the instant rice would hold up as well as regular rice or whole grain.

  • nidcha
    August 17, 2009 5:35 am

    Nice information, I’m gonna try that.

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