Warming Sock Treatment
A natural method of stimulating the immune system and helping to zap a cold or flu is called the “wet sock” or “warming sock” treatment. This hydrotherapy treatment, which is commonly prescribed by Naturopathic Physicians, involves putting on ice-cold socks and … are you ready for this? … sleeping in them! It may sound strange, but it works because it rallies the body’s defenses, and the best part about it is that it uses the healing power of nature and doesn’t cost anything. The treatment is known as a “heating compress,” meaning that it’s up to the body to heat the cold, wet socks. The body reacts to the cold socks by increasing blood circulation, which also stimulates the immune system, which is then ready for battle against the affliction or condition.
This non-invasive treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head and throat. It also has a sedating action, and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. Warming socks are also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections. It’s best to start the wet sock treatment on first day of an illness, ideally repeating it for three nights in a row. People with chronic conditions or a compromised immunity should consult with a doctor before starting the wet sock treatment.
The wet sock treatment is used in conjunction with other modalities to treat acute inflammation and infection and is only one component of an integrated treatment plan that includes hydration, proper nutrition and immunity-boosting supplements. Boise Natural Health practitioners can work with you to formulate a comprehensive immunity-boosting plan.
Sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections.
Use with caution in diabetes, Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome, arterial insufficiency or advanced intermittent claudication.
1 pair white cotton socks
1 pair thick wool socks
Warm bath or warm foot bath
- Take a pair of thin cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. After wetting the socks, wring them out thoroughly so they do not drip. You may consider placing them in the freezer for 10-20 minutes (during the duration of step 2) to enhance the cooling effect.
- While the socks are cooling, warm your feet in a warm bath for 5-10 minutes. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first.
- Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.
- If needed, remove the cotton socks from the freezer, and bend or thaw them to the point where they can be worn. Place socks on the feet and cover the cold socks with a second pair of thick, dry wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.
- Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry by the morning.