By: Shrutirupa pati ; ([email protected])
Guided by: Prof. Goutam bar
Textile design department, NIFT, Bhubaneswar
The objective of this research was to verify the feasibility of the use of fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenumgraecum) and rice grains (Oryza sativa) mixture for the filling of a microwavable heating pad. Research objectives were primarily focused on finding an appropriate, effective and convenient material for soothing inflammation in muscles or joints and a mixture of fenugreek seeds and rice grains came out to be one of the solutions for the stuffing of the heating pad. Microwavable heating pad contains solid organic particulates that are solid at room temperature. The contents can be heated by microwave radiation. The solid particles act as a reusable heat reservoir to release heat over an extended period or absorb ambient heat and serve as temporary pain relievers. Fenugreek seeds possess flavonoids and fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that work wonders in treating the pain. Rice grains increase blood circulation and ease tensed muscles. Once heated, the rice holds a large quantity of heat and can produce heating for several hours and the heating pad is reusable and washable as well.
Keywords: Heating pad, Microwavable, Fenugreek seed, Rice grain, anti-inflammatory
Conductive textile materials don’t usually react to their environment, but they create many smart applications possible in textiles, especially those that monitor body functions. They are widely employed in smart textile applications including sensors, heating textiles and electrostatic discharge clothing. Heat conducting fabrics in textiles are used significantly for various purposes and one of the foremost important uses is in heating pads.
1.1 Heat therapy and orthopaedic problems
Many elderly people tend to dismiss joint pain and body aches as a part of ageing and mostly prefer self-medication. But this untreated pain can become chronic and greatly affects their quality of life. Common causes of aches and pains in older people includes arthritis as the major problem. Arthritis may be a condition strongly related to age, also a couple of comprehensive studies so far have examined how arthritis affects the oldest old—those aged 85 years and older, who will number 3.3 million within the UK by 2033. The common sorts of aches and pains affecting elderly people includes joint pain and inflammation within the fingers, knees, , lower back pain, neck pain and nerve pain.
Heat provides relaxation, comfort, and reassurance, and taking the pain off several sorts of body pain, mostly protracted pains related to stiffness, cramping, and/or sensitivity, which may be loosely categorized as:
– Acute soreness from over-exertion
– Stiffness and pain in particular areas which are associated with osteoarthritis, muscle “knots” or trigger points, and most sorts of cramping/spasm (menstrual, neuropathic, restless leg syndrome, for instance, or maybe just stiffness from postural stress).
An easy, effective, and inexpensive way to treat arthritis-related aches and pains is by applying heat or cold to the affected joints. Heat therapy is a simple, inexpensive, and medication-free thanks to relieve some sorts of arthritis stiffness and pain.
1.2 How does heat therapy work?
Heat therapy can encourage the healing of damaged tissue as the warmth causes the blood vessels of the muscles to dilate slowly, which increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. It decreases joint stiffness. Warmth increases the pliability of the muscles and animal tissue, which increases joint flexibility and reduces joint stiffness. Heat stimulates joint fluid. Warming the joint, followed by gentle bending and flexing, can spur joint fluid (synovial fluid) production, which increases joint lubrication and therefore the delivery of nutrients to joint tissue. It distracts the brain from the pain because the comforting warmth can stimulate sensory receptors within the skin and reduce the transmissions of pain signals to the brain.
- Heat is reassuring, and reassurance is analgesic. this is often applied neurology, not just a psychological effect.
- Heat can penetrate a few centimetres inside the tissue and cells after which the biochemistry speeds up when the tissue temperature rises, which could have therapeutic implications.
- Heat may influence the common painful phenomenon referred to as “trigger points.”
A trigger point may be a small patch of acutely sensitive soft tissue, a poorly understood little patch of sensory misery. However, they work, nobody doubts that these sensitive spots in muscle are common. they will cause anything from stiffness and dull aching to show-stopping agony. The pain often spreads in confusing patterns, and that they grow like weeds around other painful problems and injuries, making them interesting and tricky and incredibly common. and warmth seems to be a very good therapy for trigger points.
2. Review of literature
2.1 Different Types of Heating Pads
A hot pad may be a pad used for warming of parts of the body to manage pain. Localized application causes the blood vessels therein area to dilate, enhancing perfusion to the targeted tissue.
1. Electric hot pad
They come in small, medium, large, and extra-large. they’re available in both moist and dry heat options, have easy to use controls, and lots of have an auto-shut off feature. Many accompany washable covers, and warranties. In an electrical hot pad one can control how long he want to use the hot pad, and lots of have variable temperature settings.
2. Microwavable Heating Pad
Microwavable heating pads are a hybrid of the disposable patches and therefore the electrical pads. Many of them have a double role as cooling pillows. They’re usually in a small pillow or packet form, and crammed with gel, rice, or other heat-retaining material. Simply pop them within the microwave and warmth to the specified temperature, then apply to the affected area.
3. Chemical Heating Pad
Disposable chemical pads employ a one-time exothermic reaction. It is frequently used for hand warmers. It is initiated by unwrapping an air-tight packet or container having moist iron powder and salt or catalysts which rusts over a period of hours after being exposed to oxygen within the air.
It helps to appease sore muscles or joints after heavy work or exercise. Heat therapy tends to scale back muscle spasms and causing it to relax. Ice has also been used as how of preventing inflammation and swelling of injured areas of a body. The physiological benefits of warmth therapy are numerous. the foremost important aspect of warmth therapy is that when heat is applied, the blood vessels expand which brings more circulation to the affected area and this increases the power of blood flow to the painful areas. These blood vessels allow blood and oxygen to flow more readily to the sore areas and a rise of nutrients and oxygen at the cellular level which aids in removing waste products that result from inflammation. Doctors sometimes recommend using these microwavable heating pads for relief from menstrual cramps or tract infections.
2.2 Microwavable Heating Pad with fenugreek seeds and rice as filling
A microwavable heating pad is a pad that is used by placing it in a microwave oven and heating it before use. These heating pads are basically made out of a thick insulative fabrics, for e.g. Flannel and are filled with grains such as wheat, buckwheat, corn or flax seed. As they are relatively simple to make, they are frequently sewn by hand, often with a custom shape to fit the intended area of use. Microwavable heating pads have been used in the treatment of muscular and joint problems for many years, and the benefits of either the heat in the treatment of such problems has been known for quite some time. In the past, similar hot packs were encased entirely in towels or other fabrics with no other exterior protective cover. Generally, the packs tend to cool in a relatively short time due to evaporation through the towels and other effects, which requires their reheating and dehumidifying for continued treatment.
Grains and seeds like wheat berries, dried corn, pot barley, rice, walnut etc. can be used as fillings for the microwavable heating pad as these grains have heat retaining capacity and some medicinal properties. Heating packs can also be made by filling a container with a material that has a high specific heat capacity, which slowly releases the heat over time. A hot water bottle is a common example of this type of heating pad.
Fenugreek seeds are always considered to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant properties from ancient times as they possess flavonoids and fatty acids that work wonders in treating the pain. A mixture of fenugreek seeds and rice grains when filled together in the heating pad can give benefits to people suffering from joint pain and inflammation. Also, one of the benefits of the heating pad is that it can be micro waved repetitively and there will be no bad odour as it has its own aromatic properties if an optimum amount of heat is applied.
2.3 How long should heat be applied?
Application time depends on where the pain is found. To be effective, the warmth must penetrate down into the affected muscles and joint tissues. Short sessions will warm only the skin and not the affected tissues. Minor to moderate pain in joints on the brink of the skin’s surface, like the ankle or elbow, many only require 15 to twenty minutes of the heat therapy. For more intense or deeper injuries, like moderate to severe arthritis within the hip or lower back, sessions or half-hour or maybe longer could also be beneficial.
3. Research gap
There has been many products and different types of heating pads introduced in the market. With fillings like buckwheat, corn, rice etc have been used since awfully long. Fenugreek seeds have many authentic pain-relieving properties used since ancient times. But then it is maybe in the form of oil or powder or their leaves. Fenugreek seeds when heated release chemicals which are considered to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. So, I am using fenugreek seeds as the filling for the heating pad. Along with-it rice is also used because of its excellent heat retaining properties and good aroma.
4. Materials and Methodology
Fleece fabric for the pad, cotton fabric for cover fenugreek seeds and rice are the key materials for the construction of a microwavable heating pad. Fleece fabric acts as a good heat conducting material and rice and fenugreek seeds are the fillings for the pas as they have good heat retaining properties. Also, there are other benefits of fenugreek seeds too in relieving the joint pain.
Fig 1. Materials(Fenugreek seeds, rice and fleece fabric)
To construct the pad, we need to follow these steps:
a. Selecting fabric
I will use fleece fabric for one side and cotton on the other side. The fleece is thicker so it perfectly traps the heat which is nice, especially when it just comes out of the microwaves. The cotton fabric on the other side can be a little warm for some time but it gradually cools down.
b. Cut and sew the fabric in the size and shape we want.
After cutting out a rectangle each of cotton and fleece, sew around the edges leaving about 1/4″ inch seam allowance. Also leave an inch or two open on one side so that we can fill pouch with fenugreek seeds and rice (about 1/2 to 3/4 full. I am taking the dimensions 10” × 8” as this is the perfect size to be applicable in any part of the body.
Fig 2. Sewing the fabric to make a pouch
c. Add rice and fenugreek seeds and sew the bag from the other side.
Fig 3. Filling the pad with fenugreek seeds and rice
For the removable cover, sew the cotton fabric into a size a little bigger than the pad and leaving an open end and closing it by adding a strip of Velcro. It is like the “pillowcase” idea. And whenever we need to heat the pad, we need to make sure to remove the cover. For the directions to use, heat the pad for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size.
Fig 4. Sewing the opening side of the pad
d. Heating the pack in a microwave
Keep the pad in a microwave for 3-4 minutes. Not extending the time more than this otherwise it can lead to burning of the fabric and fenugreek seeds. And the microwavable heating pad is ready to use.
Fig 4. Keeping the pack in microwave
5. Product design
Fig 5. Final product look
6. Discussion and conclusion
Heating therapy has been around since ancient times. There is also plenty of scientific research that confirms the efficacy of thermotherapy. Microwavable heating pads might not cure the disease but helps in giving the temporary relief to the pain and mitigate the acute symptoms hence contributing its part in that. Heat therapy is useful in ortho diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms and musculoskeletal injuries, lower back pain, cramps, and even mental health. Warm temperature elicits vasodilatation, stimulate blood flow, and oxygenate muscle tissues; all these processes are crucial components in alleviating the pain related to these diseases. Microwavable heating pads are excessively used for body pains after heavy exercise, lower back pain, menstrual cramps and some gel packs are used for beauty purposes as well. There are some relevant ways to maintain a heating pad like temperature control, removing the cover before putting it into microwave, maintaining hygiene keeping the products dry as the seeds inside can give a typical smell if kept moist for long hours.
There are several concerns and issues we should keep on mind regarding the safety while using heating pads. These issues range from getting burned to more serious ones like being electrocuted by the improper use of heating pads. So, keeping the safety measures in mind microwavable heating pads with fenugreek seeds and rice grain filling can act as the perfect authentic and safe way to relieve acute pain and soreness.
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