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Health Services

Homemade Heat and Ice Treatments

Rice Sock

To Make:
Needed Items - Cotton Tube Sock, Uncooked Rice, Microwave
Optional Items - Essential oil or dried herbs
1. Fill the cotton sock with uncooked rice. It should be full, but NOT tightly packed.
2. If you enjoy aromatherapy, feel free to add a few drops of pure essential oil (such as lavender) or some dried herbs (such as chamomile).
3. Tie the end of the sock in a knot or you can sew it closed or tie it with a string.
To Use:
1. Heat on high in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes (it will depend on the strength of your microwave).
2. Apply to the desired area and shape to conform to the body part.
You can also place the rice sock in the freezer for about an hour to use as a cold pack.

Ice Pack

To Make:
Needed Items - 2 Sturdy Gallon size freezer bags, 70% Isopropyl alcohol, Water
1. Mix 3 cups water to 1 cup 70% isopropyl alcohol in a freezer bag.
2. Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal.
3. Label the bag "non-edible" or add some blue food coloring to identify the bag.
4. Place bag in a second freezer bag to prevent leaks.
5. Place in freezer overnight.
To Use:
1. Remove from freezer.
2. Place a towel between the area to be treated and the ice pack (DO NOT place directly on skin).
3. Conform cold pack to the shape of the body part to be treated and cover with an additional towel.
4. Treatment time should be from 10 to 15 minutes.

Ice Cups

To Make:
Needed Items - Paper cups, Water
Optional Item - Popsicle sticks
1. Fill paper cups with water and insert popsicle sticks if desired.
2. Place in freezer overnight.
To Use:
1. Trim the bottom of the cup to expose the ice, or use popsicle stick to remove.
2. Apply ice directly to skin while constantly moving the ice cup (You can use a towel or the stick to keep from freezing the opposite hand).
3. Continue to move the ice until you have moved from cold to burning/aching to numbness; typically 3-5 minutes
(DO NOT use greater than 7 minutes).


The information on this website is meant for patient education and to provide home treatment options for some common muscular and skeletal injuries. It is not intended to replace your health care provider. Many are actually intended for use by your health care provider through referral to the website for appropriate self-care interventions. If your symptoms get worse; are not improving in two weeks despite treatment; or new unexplained symptoms develop, you should contact or follow-up with your health care provider.
Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.