Being pregnant with twins has brought out some creativity and some craziness in me lately. At least, that’s what I’m blaming for my need to pull out my sewing machine and make my daughter’s Halloween costume this year. She was a cheetah, or a leopard, depending on what day you ask her. Since I’m pregnant, I haven’t quite gotten around to putting away the sewing machine. It wasn’t so hard to carry it down to my sewing/soap office/dining room, but six weeks later, the trip back up the stairs is looking a bit more daunting. Lucky for me that I didn’t take it back up, when the sudden urge to sew something else hit recently.
After avoiding my daughter’s and husband’s germs successfully until mid-November this year, I suddenly felt that familiar pain at the base of my skull and in my neck as my lymph nodes started to swell. Unfortunately, the only drug I can rely on, ibuprofen, is a big no-no, so I was left with natural, safe remedies. The best of these for me, other than sleep and vitamins C and D, are hot compresses. I dug out my ancient flax seed aromatherapy sock that came from a popular bath-and-body store several years ago during some clearance shopping. I threw it in the microwave, then threw it on my neck. While the heat was helping, I realized that the eucalyptus had seriously faded and smelled musty instead. Rather than buy a new one, I did what we normally do in this house: make one myself. Since my typical customers purchase my bath and body products for relaxation as well as hygiene, I thought I would share this project with you.
Here’s how I did it.
Mix the Flax Seed and Essential Oils
I started by mixing the pound of flax seeds with several drops of eucalyptus, spearmint, and lavender essential oils.
I find those oils to not only be soothing when I don’t feel well, but also great at clearing clogged sinuses. “Drops” is the operative word here. These oils can be potent, and excessive amounts of oil can be dangerous if you heat the sock in a microwave. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can find them at health food and some craft stores. After some mixing, smelling, and adjusting, I was satisfied with the aroma, so I set them aside.
Sew the Inner “Sock”
I decided I wanted my flax seed compresses to be in two parts: the pretty outer cover and the muslin case to hold the seeds. The muslin case came first. I measured some muslin fabric to make a case that would be about 2 in by 8 in when finished. I cut a strip of fabric, folded it, sewed it on two sides (using about a 3/8” seam allowance), and turned it inside out so the seam would not show. I poured about 6 oz. of scented flax seeds into the muslin sock and used the machine to stitch across the top to close them in. If you don’t have a machine, you could sew the sock by hand, but the stitches need to be small in order to hold the flax seeds.
Sew the Outer Cover
Using the 2”x8” sock as a guide, I set to constructing a cover. I cut two strips of fabric, both slightly larger than the inner sock, one slightly longer than the other, so that when the cover was stitched closed on three sides, again using roughly a 3/8” seam allowance. The excess would act like the flap of an envelope. When tucking it inside the flap holds the muslin sock in place. The flap was the hard part. Basically, I folded the excess on each of the flap’s three sides over, ironed them flat, and stitched each side. My best version has not only straight line stitches with nice hems, it also has mitered corners, an enhancement you might try if you’re accomplished with a sewing machine.
Once they were all sewn, I could use them! I threw one flax-filled sock in the microwave for about a minute, shoved it in its pretty case, and found the sweet comfort for my swollen, painful lymph nodes that I had been searching for.
I imagine the relaxing effect would be enhanced with a warm bath and some herbal bath salts, or an herbal-scented bath bomb. So why not try it yourself? Let us know how it goes.
Disclaimer - Safety First!
Construct one of these aromatherapy socks at your own risk. Handling essential oils requires some caution. They are very concentrated, and can be irritating. Gloves and eye protection would be a wise precaution. Also, be careful when heating the sock. Don’t overheat it, and be careful not to burn yourself or the sock. Experiment with gradually increasing lengths of time in the microwave until you achieve a comfortable level of warmth.