Herbal Pillow Instructions

I gave my tummy pillow to Penny a few months back. She’s since asked me for the instructions on how these were made. I have to say, it’s embarrassingly easy. It’s almost not an instruction.

Finished dimensions:

  • Eye Pillow: 9″ x 3.5″
  • Tummy Pillow: 15″ x 9″

Filling:

This is where you can get creative. You can use flax alone, or add lavender, rose petals, rosemary for some aromatherapy.   Don’t forget to look in your spice cabinet.  There are lots of nice smelling herbs too.

I started with 4:1 ratio of flax to lavender. This is about the average ratio I found online. I made the eye pillows, and found that I didn’t quite have enough lavender mix to fill the tummy pillow, so I kept adding flax. I think the final ratio was more like 6:1 flax to lavender. The ratio for a tummy pillow isn’t nearly as important as the eye or neck pillow, since it’s not close to your nose to give the full benefit of the aromatherapy.  And remember, a little goes a long way.  Or, if like me, you run out of lavender before you get to the “correct” fill amount, just keep adding flax seeds.

What’s the correct fill amount?  It’s really individual.  The eye pillows need enough weight to fill the contours, but not too much so that it feels like your cat is sitting on your head.  I used about 1 cup of the flax/lavender mixture.

For the tummy pillow, you want a little more weight, but not so much that the pillow is so stuffed that it no longer drapes over your tummy (or shoulders).  Just think about when you have cramps, it helps when you push on your tummy with your hands.  That’s the slight pressure you want to achieve.  I’ve asked Penny to weigh the pillow I made originally, since I forgot to write it down.

Aside: Before I had a tummy pillow, my favorite tummy pillow was my first cat, Izzy.  She always knew when I had cramps.  She would crawl up on my belly and go to sleep.  Her warmth, weight, the purring, and drape was perfect.  We would both snooze a bit, and my cramps feel better for it.  Somehow, I was never able to train any of my other cats to do it, hence the need for a pillow.

Why flax? I found online that flax holds its temperature best of all the other typical fillers: rice, beans, buckwheat. It also forms to your face/body better than beans, due to its size.

I found both the flax and lavender in bulk at my natural food store.

Fabric:

For the eye pillows, I made 2 with silk charmeuse plus a silk cover, and 1 with muslin plus flannel cover. I kept the cotton for myself, and gave the silks to friends. I have to say, I like the silk much better. It feels cool to touch, and warms quickly. The silk also drapes to cover contours of the bridge of your nose and your eyes much better. This keeps the light out.

For the tummy pillow, I made the core pillow out of unbleached muslin, and a flannel pillow cover for it. You can toss the cover in the wash whenever it’s needed.

Usage:

For the tummy pillow, just pop it in the microwave on high for a couple of minutes (YMMV, since all microwaves are not equal. Keep an eye on your microwave for the first few times until you know your optimum time for the temperature you desire.) And place it on your tummy (or any other areas that needs a little heat). This works wonders on menstrual cramps. I should know.

Back in May, when I threw my back out, the chiropractor was using something similar (unscented). They were long lengths of these, with periodic stitching to keep the fillers in place. I think they were filled with buckwheat and kept in steamers. They put the pillows (wrapped so you don’t get burned) on the table under your lower back and your shoulders, and put you in a dark room for about 15 minutes after your chiropractic session. Hmmm. Lovely.

The pillows were about 20″ long by 4-5″ wide, with stitching running the width every 5″ along the length. Sort of like the channels in your down comforter.

Since I gave Penny my tummy pillow, I need to make myself another one. I also intend to make a few 6″ x 6″ flax pillows, without lavender, so that I can stick them in the freezer to use as ice packs. So much better than using ice, since you don’t have to deal with a drippy mess, and it’s reusable!