Yep, one more review this week. It's been a while, so I figured you guys wouldn't mind two in a row. This one's really cool, too (literally, hehe). Warning: This is going to be really long because it has some awesome features that I have a feeling I'll end up rambling about. Skip to the bottom if you're short on time and want the condensed version first.
I don't know if you guys use ice packs and heating pads very often, but I do. Ice packs fix all the bumps and bruises the kids seem to get, and I use the heating pads for my back and legs more often than I'd like to admit due to some old injuries.
Previously, my two favorite heating pads were actually more like heating "bags." They were filled with little "bead" type things. One reminded me of a bean bag and the other was an aromatherapy one that actually had dried herbs and such inside so that when it was heated, it filled the room with an amazing smell.
Unfortunately, the latter eventually drew some moisture and I discovered it started to mold (eww!!). The first I still use, but after years of use (I always defaulted back to this one after trying new pads/bags), it has two small holes in it that I have to continuously fix. Um, so it currently has one of these clips holding one of the holes closed because I'm tired of restitching it where the material is starting to wear loose and not really hold thread that well. It's been my favorite bag, ok? I do what I have to. :P
Well, at least until now. I know, I know, this sounds like an infomercial already, but come on, why would a company send out their products (here's the disclosure saying that they sent this to me for free) for honest reviews if they weren't really all that great? They generally only do this if they're pretty certain they're going to get good reviews and this is no exception. This thing is freakin' awesome, ok?
So, I've used heating pads/ice packs with straps that hold them onto your body before, and frankly, they tend to suck. Oh sure, they're okay the first few times you strap them on, if the straps are long/short enough for the specific spot you want anyway. But then after a while, their velcro gets filled with the material from the main ice pack cover cloth and they just don't want to stick that well any more. Then it's quite impossible to stretch the straps to their fullest potential anyway and I resort to using them the same way I use my bag-type ones: I lay down on them for my back or place one over whatever spot I need it for, which pretty much immobilizes me, so I only ever use them at night. Oh, or when I'm at my computer and can sit up perfectly straight to hold one in place between my back and chair.
Too much info, huh?
Anyway, let's get to the bragging about the Therapod. First of all, the issue I just complained about? Not an issue here (at least not yet). The strap is plenty long so that even to wrap it around my midsection, I didn't have to stretch it that much (I'm fairly small so that won't be the case for everyone, of course). The material doesn't seem to fray like a lot of the cloth bags I've had before, so I'm not having an issue with the velcro becoming less effective yet either. The bag is flexible enough that for smaller areas, it can just be wrapped around and around hold it in place fine, too. I tried it on my wrist the other day after too much typing and was surprisingly impressed.
The absolute *best* part about the TheraPod is what its name alludes to. The heating bag part is actually split into four "pods," so that unlike other bags, all the little inside "bead/bean" things can't all slide to one side. Unfortunately, the picture on the box doesn't show that, and I'm not sure why. :( That's the greatest benefit of this thing, and they seemed to smooth it over for the box. :( Not to worry, though, because I took some pictures to show you what I mean. At worst, the filling can settle to the bottom half of each "pod," and the ice side is the same way. Ever put an icepack back in the freezer after it's "melted"/become soft, and didn't lay it flat? It gets all lumpy or all the gel gets squished to one side and when it freezes, it's not the most comfortable the next time you use it.
I didn't take a picture of the backside, but there's a pocket enclosure on the backside of the green section that the ice pack slips into. Depending on whether you need hot or cold, freeze the gel pack or heat the green side for a minute and a half or so.
Alright, this is getting even longer than I expected, so there's just a couple more things I feel like you should know. One of the bigger things they seem to be proud of is that the heating side uses "moist heat." I don't know exactly how it works, but it's true. When I first microwaved mine and put it on, it felt slightly wet...but uh, wasn't. I took it off, touched it with my fingers and wiped my hand across my back to feel for actual wetness, but there was nothing. It felt awesome, but I can't offer up much explanation for what's inside or how it works.
Now a product can't be perfect, so I do actually have one negative note to add. The only thing I found to be even slightly negative, could also be a positive, depending on what you like. Most heating pads get rather hot and cool down rather quickly...or they never really get "hot hot" and are merely warm for a long while. They all come with warnings, of course, but I wasn't expecting this one to be as hot as it was. I actually had to be careful of strapping it on too tight for the first few minutes because the material is relatively thin and gets super hot. You're supposed to let it rest for a minute before removing it from the microwave and using it, but how many people read the instructions? I don't think it'd leave burns unless you heated it longer than you should, but for those who are used to crappy mediocre heating bags, be warned...this one gets hot, you really should let it rest before using, and test for hot spots before strapping it on.
Phew, that was long. Did I mention that it's listed for only $13, although I don't know where/how to actually purchase it because the information site doesn't seem to lead to a product purchase page
Here's the condensed version for the lazy ones:
The TheraPod easily replaces my favorite heating bags/ice packs. The "pod" sections keep the contents from shifting all to one end. The strap is plenty long to use effectively and the pads are flexible enough to wrap around smaller body parts and still use the strap to hold it secure. The heating side gets really hot, which is awesome compared to other mediocre bags, but be careful to let it rest before using so you don't burn yourself. Thank you so much, Acu-life!