When yard work (or play) leaves you with tired, achy, or strained muscles, it’s a good idea to have instant relief at hand. And you can, with the help of a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag. How you use this dandy device depends upon whether your problem calls for a cold or hot treatment. Here are your choices:

Cold treatment. Before trouble strikes, make a reusable ice pack. Just mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 2 parts water, then pour the solution into the bag (but don’t fill it; leave room for expansion). Squeeze out all of the air, seal the bag, and put it in the freezer. Because alcohol doesn’t freeze, the contents will be slushy rather than rock hard – and all the more comfortable to conform to your achin’ body.

Heat treatment. Put a wet washcloth in the bag, and microwave it on high for 30 seconds. Reheat it as often as you need to. It’s more portable than a heating pad and a whole lot easier than fussing with a hot-water bottle.


  1. The slushy bag might be good for coolers, easier to arange items, and later to put on sore muscles from beach volley ball.

  2. With heat or cold, make sure you are careful with how much time you keep it on the same area of skin! It was taught in nursing school to only keep heat/cold on one area for 15-20 minutes tops, then wait 10 minutes before putting it back on again. Check the skin to make sure there is no pink/red areas, if there is…wait longer, adjust temp (I add a towel or some barrier). A burn can happen from hot, as well as cold!

    One of my tried and true favorites is a simple heat pad made from a clean gym (or other long) sock! Fill the sock with rice about 3/4 of the way up. Tie the end of the sock and you can put that in the microwave for 30 seconds till desired temp (be careful to not burn the sock/rice). If you want to have added relaxation, you can add essential oils of choice to the material or rice inside to have a soothing aromatherapy session (do this AFTER heating or let the oil areas cool…don’t want a burn from hot oils, even if they seem tiny…your skin will know!). This treatment isn’t as great with cold as heat…but I have been able to do it with a day in the freezer.

    On cold days, it takes the chill right out of your bones if you do this and just put it around the back of your neck! I do that as I work on the computer on those cold winter days. Works heavenly!

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