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How to Make a Healing Rice Bag

Updated on February 15, 2014
rice, oil and herbs (optional)
rice, oil and herbs (optional)


Whether it's just because you are a lover of all natural home remedies, you're a lover of crafts in general or something else entirely, a healing rice bag is a useful, home made healing pad with your own personal touch to make it for a specific ailment (headache, muscle tension, etc) or with your favorite soothing scent.

Cloth: 100% cotton is recommended. You can make these in any size or shape, such as if you wanted to shape one to a specific body part, but a small rectangle is ideal for most bags. Remnants, scraps and fabric quarters are perfect for these, in size, shape and price! For maximum results, use calm or healing colors like blue, purple or orange for muscle pain.

Thread: preferably a color that matches the fabric you're using, but you can certainly get creative!


Rice: Any dry, real rice will work. No instant or minute rice. I recommend jasmine rice.

Scented Essential Oil: For maximum results, match the scent of the oil to the ailment you want to cure. Mint can ease and calm headaches while lavender can be refreshing. All you need is 1-2 drops depending on the size of your bad; a little goes a long way. Also, it is recommended to not use more than one scent.

Herbs: An optional addition if you have them available, for scent and other healing properties. Just be sure the scent blend pleasantly with the type of rice and oil you choose to use, if the dried herbs have a scent.


Whatever you decide to put in the bag, keep it dry. You don't want to cook the rice inside!

One or two drops of essential oil is all you need for a lasting, effective scent.

If your bag gets old, dirty or otherwise soiled from age, throw it away and make a new one. All of the materials inside are natural and degradable!


For simplicity, I'll give instructions for a simple 4-sided bag.

1. Line the fabric up so it's inside out and sew up 3 sides, or so that 1 side remains open. You can sew it by hand or by machine. If you sew it by hand, more of your energy and intentions goes into it and it adds that extra, personal touch and if you choose to infuse your energy with the bag, hand-sewing is the best method to do that.

2. Fill the bag with the rice, just a couple drops of oil and whatever herbs you want to put inside. Don't put too much rice in the bag, you want enough that they can cover and fill the bag while making it still malleable and able to fit comfortably on your body.

3. Sew the fourth side of the pillow up to seal it shut and mix the inside ingredients around.

4. When you're ready to use the bag, put it in the microwave for 1-3 minutes depending on heat and size and your preference.

finished pillow
finished pillow

Or you can purchase a bag already made at my etsy shop!


There are many ways you can customize your healing bag, but it is important to approach it with the recognition that you will be heating it in a microwave! So, anything you add to the pillow, inside or out, check that it is microwave-safe or choose an alternative and safe heating method.

Add Beads!

To either the surface of the pillow or to the edges while you hand sew. I recommend glass beads, just be sure to not switch the temperatures of the pillow too quickly because that makes glass shatter.

Gemstone beads are good as well but make sure the gemstone in use has no metal content. You could also put a particular stone inside the bag. Some spiritual healers believe that microwaves have negative effects on the healing properties of gemstones. I believe that magick of intention is the most powerful, so such a thing can go either way. After all, microwaves are from the sun as a natural product of nature that man has learned to harness.


Fun with Thread and Embroidery String

Another cute alternative if you don't want to risk playing around with beads is to incorporate frills or knot-magick along the seams of the pillow, or to sew healing images onto the surface of the fabric.

If you want to sew images on the bag, I suggest doing that before you sew up any edges.

Knot-magick and frills may best be added as you sew up the sides, or at the end.

I would personally avoid fabric paint. It is dryer safe but dryers are not the same as microwaves, and you don't want to risk melting or burning or cooking the rice or otherwise damaging the bag.


Which of the listed scents would you find most relaxing?

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Herbs for Headaches

Headaches come in a variety of ways, but every single one of them is annoying! Here I provide a sample list of herbs and what type of headaches they can mitigate.

Ginger: For externally-caused headaches, such as: viruses or illness, congestion, weather, an because of its property that keeps blood vessels dilated, it is good for preventing migraines.

Lavender: A good general headache cure. Has anti-stress, relaxation properties.

Skullcap: Perfect for tension-based headaches.

Sage: Good for over-eating headaches or head tension caused by over indulgence or other digestive-based headaches, and menopause-related headaches.

Peony: For menstrual headaches.

Vervain is also a recommended herb for easing menstrual headaches, but use very sparingly as too much may cause more irritation.

Goldenrod: For any general stiffness, muscle sore and also arthritis pain.

Roman Chamomile flowers
Roman Chamomile flowers
Wintergreen plant
Wintergreen plant

Herbs for Muscle Pain

When muscles become injured, two things happen:

1. It hinders the circulatory system, preventing necessary nutrients from being delivered.

2. Lactic acid builds up in the damaged area, which causes the soreness.

So to ease the pain and heal the overworked muscle, we need to increase blood flow to the area. This will help both of those issues, as lactic acid is dispersed by oxygen, and while you're focusing on healing the area, breathing deep will help your body rid itself of the lactic acid as well.

Anti-Inflammatory herbs

Used and known for their anti-inflammatory (blood thinning) properties. Also useful for easing menstrual cramps. You could incorporate the use of any anti-inflammatory herb, though some are most useful when ingested. This list is particular for skin contact and penetration or scent.






Rosemary: Because it has camphor on its leaves, it will help draw blood to the surface. Lavender also has this property, but is not an anti-inflammatory.



Do you blend any type of magickal or spiritual energy with your natural remedies or crafts?

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A Full Healing Experience

You may chose to use the bag itself, or create a zen, healing atmosphere and use the bag as an accessory to assist in the overall process. If you chose to create a healing atmosphere, here are some suggestions, based on common and my personal natural and magickal experiences:


Dim lighting creates a relaxing atmosphere, so pull the shades and get out those matches and lighters. Pillars, tapers or tea lights, these colors are often associated with healing:

Blue: Cleansing, refreshment, representative of water.

White: Cleansing, purification, mental, emotional-related healing.

Green: Health, illness-related healing

Gemstones and Crystals

If you don't want to risk gemstone beads on the pillow, holding or placing a gemstone near the bag may be a safer and more convenient alternative.

Amethyst: most commonly for alcohol-related injury (and a preventative), but also extremely effective for mental and emotional healing.

Amber: For headaches and stress-relief

Garnet: For circulatory-related healing, perfect for muscle-soreness bags.

Turquoise: Healing and balancing


You may choose a candle for its scent as well of course, just be sure all of the scents blend positively together. Any of the scents of the herbs listed above will work and increase the healing properties of the herbs you chose to put in the bag.


Most commonly, water is the element associated with healing and refreshment, so you may choose to have some type of water-based symbolism nearby in the form of an altar or a seashell collection or beach sand.

But also, fire can associated with cleansing, especially for muscle and blood-related aches and pains. An orange candle would be a perfect symbol for this, or a jar of ash or anything else that represents fire to you.


It is your responsibility to read and be aware of your medical conditions before using any of these suggested healing methods. While I have provided warnings and guidelines where appropriate, you are responsible for the creation and use of this herb bag and any damages it may cause.


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