The Wet Sock Treatment: A Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu

Wet Sock Treatment

No matter how ridiculous may sound, the good old wet sock treatment does work!

According to the Heartland Naturopathic Clinic:

“The Cold Sock Treatment is a simple hydrotherapy technique that is especially effective for relieving nasal congestion in bed at night (frequently better than medications and without the side effects). It also helps to stimulate the immune system in the upper respiratory tract and is relaxing for aches and chills and helps bring on a more restful night’s sleep when sick.

We find it helpful in such conditions as colds, “flu” (not the “stomach flu”), earaches, sore throats, and sinus infections. It is useful for people of any age from infants to the elderly. The Cold Sock Treatment is especially good to use with the nasal congestion of colds and influenza.”

It stimulates the natural defensive mechanisms of the body, as explained by Jamey Wallace, ND, Clinic Medical Director at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

This treatment, also known as a “heating compress,” boosts the immune system by increasing blood circulation. Namely, “ it’s up to the body to heat the cold, wet socks” according to Dr Wallace.

It has a mild sedative effect and improves sleep, relieves pain, increases circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat, and supports the healing response during acute infections. It is important to try it as soon as you experience the symptoms of a cold.

Then, here is all you need:

A pair of thin cotton socks

A pair of thick wool socks

A bucket


In a bowl of ice water, soak the thin socks, and when completely wet, remove them and squeeze out the water. Next, soak the feet into a bathtub or a bucket with hot water for 10 minutes to warm them up.

Then, remove them from the hot water dry them off, and put on the cold socks.

Cover the wet socks with the dry wool socks, and go to bed. Make sure the feet are covered during the entire night.


“When the Cold Sock Treatment procedure is followed correctly, the feet will start warming up within a few minutes of getting covered in bed. The congestion will usually start to be relieved within 30 minutes. It will often work better than a decongestant or antihistamine to relieve congestion during sleep.

Also, it is not uncommon to see a small child or infant fall immediately to sleep after they are put to bed with the Cold Sock Treatment. After approximately four hours the socks should be totally dry, the feet warm, and the symptoms will be much improved (if not gone).

If necessary the Cold Sock Treatment can be repeated through the night or used on consecutive nights. In repeating the treatment in the same night or if an illness starts during the night, it is not necessary to warm the feet in hot water since they will already be warm. Simply apply the wrung out cold wet socks and the dry wool socks and go back to bed.”



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