Wheat Bags versus Hot Water Bottles (HWB)
What a treat on a cold winter evening to snuggle up with a wheat bag or a hot water bottle to keep you cosy and comfortable, both providing long lasting heat. Which is more effective or better? Loyal wheat bag users maintain that wheat bags - often called wheat warmers - are safer and more versatile whereas fanatical hot water bottle users protest that the old fashioned HWB is traditional and better. WheatWarmers
Safety is always the primary concern and it is always paramount that the user follows the manufacturers' guidelines. Wheat bags should come with user instructions giving guidance for the microwave heating time and options for different powers of microwave. Do not buy wheat bags where instructions are not provided. Instructions should also mention that a small cup of water should be placed in the microwave alongside the wheat bag to maintain the water content in the wheat grains and prevent the grains drying out thus reducing the risk of charring or burning. Covers should also be 100% cotton which is fire retardant.
HWBs are filled with boiling water, this can make the bags too hot and if the bag bursts the burns can be very serious. This is a particular risk for the elderly or for people that suffer with arthritis in their hands or wrist joints especially when filling the bottle. Pouring the very hot water through the opening of a HWB requires a steady hand and the risk of burning from the slightest spill is high. Both wheat bags and HWBs should be checked regularly for holes and general signs of wear and tear. Rubber HWB may perish faster than a PVC or synthetic alternative.
Both products take the same amount of time to prepare for readiness, two minutes in the microwave for the wheat bag and boiling the kettle and pouring the water for the HWB. Some households do not have a microwave and other alternative methods for heating a wheat bag ar enot economical or convenient. Both products are easily transportable and can be taken on short trips outside the home or even on holiday. People that suffer with Reynaud's syndrome can heat up hand sized wheat bags and take them out which helps to relieve the discomfort just enough to carry out regular tasks.
The greatest difference between he two I believe is the versatility of a wheat bag. Traditional HWBs either lie at the bottom of the bed or rest against the body and you need to be sitting down or be still to feel the benefit. In contrast the wheat grains in a wheat bag mould themselves to the contours of the body. The most common shape and style of wheat bag is a rectangle containing loose grains which is best used in the same way as the HWB. There are increasing alternatives in variety of shapes designed specifically for the neck, shoulders, back, elbows, hands etc and almost anywhere a hot or cold application may be needed. Some of these can be used without restricting mobility, for example, WheatWarmers make a Back & Tummy wheat bag Back & Tummy Wheat Bag which can be secured tightly against the body with a velcro belt allowing the user to move around freely whilst still experiencing the benefits of a heat pack.
For those sensitive to lavender or wheat/wheat germ a HWB would be the obvious choice. Some wheat bag manufacturers offer their products with or without lavender so the user has a choice.
For this reason we like the wheat bag range produced by WheatWarmers. Their wheat bags are made with or without lavender depending on the customers' preference. The bags are made from 100% cotton corduroy and come in a variety of body friendly shapes that fit around the body. The safety information that comes with the wheat bag is detailed and shows a commitment to the customer. Our top favourite from this range is the Neck & Shoulder wheat bag Neck & Shoulder wheat bag which is made in a horse shoe shape to sit around the neck. It is sewn into sections to keep the wheat in place and the heat evenly distributed. Details of the whole range can be found on Ebay under the seller 'wheatwarmers' WheatWarmers