One of our favorite family jokes is the one of the simpleton who, when asked to name the most amazing human invention, intoned: "The thermos."
"Yeah! The thermos. You put hot things in it and it keeps it hot; you put cold things in and it keeps it cold. How do it know?!"Well, here is my new amazing hot/cold pack. It's perhaps not quite as amazing as the thermos, but it's pretty amazing for all that. Microwave it for a minute and it provides beautiful heat for almost an hour to soothe sore and aching muscles. Freeze it, and it's an ice pack (minus the hard cubes and moisture of the melting ice) - to soothe sore and aching muscles!
Yes, there are two of them. Although each pack can be used for both hot and cold applications, from a practical perspective, it takes a good deal longer to freeze one of these than it does to microwave it. My current regimen is ten minutes of heat and then 20 minutes of torturous physical therapy followed by ten more minutes of icing. Frozen shoulders apparently need both heat and ice. Anyway, it didn't take me long to figure out that I'd have to have one of these hot/cold packs dedicated to the cold side of things. So I made two.
This is SO much better than a heating pad. They're stuffed with flax seeds, which conform to your body and have a bit of weight to them, so they can easily transfer either heat or cold without you having to press down on the pack to keep it in contact with your skin. But 'how do it know'? Apparently flax seeds have a high concentration of oil in them, and it is the oil that retains either heat or cold, whatever you subject it to. Plus, heating pads are stiff, electrical, and prone to mustiness. Don't even talk to me about ice or frozen pea packs. They are lumpy, wet, hard-frozen, and uncomfortable - and also prone to freezer-must. I find the light aroma of the heated flax seeds very enjoyable and I have been advised to put the cold pack in a ziplock bag, to avoid picking up that stale freezer smell! You take the the pack out of the ziplock when you're ready to use it, as it remains perfectly dry.
These heat/cold packs have really picked up my spirits! It's amazing what a little thing like this can do. Flax seeds. Who would have thought it? I'm actually kind of looking forward to my next range-of-motion torture session. Or at least to the temperature therapy aspects of it. . . .