The Strangest Remedy for Colds & Flu


06 Apr The Strangest Remedy for Colds & Flu

Wet Sock Treatment: A Novel Home Remedy for the Cold and Flu

If your head is congested and you can’t sleep, give the wet sock treatment a try as an inexpensive, yet effective, home remedy for the cold and flu.

Want a natural way to stimulate your immune system and zap your congestion that doesn’t involve swallowing handfuls of supplements or nasty tasting concoctions? If you’ve never tried the “wet sock treatment”—tonight is the night to give this commonly-prescribed naturopathic treatment a try.

What is the “Wet Sock Treatment”?

This water-based therapy involves putting on ice-cold socks and…Are you ready for this?…Sleeping in them! It may sound ridiculous, but the wet sock treatment works because it rallies the body’s defenses and reflexively increases circulation and decreases congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head and throat. As an added benefit, this wet sock therapy has a sedating action, so you’ll likely sleep better during the treatment.

Here’s an explanation of how this home remedy works: when water at temperatures below or above normal body temperature is applied to the body it stimulates what is known as the reflex arc in which nerves send signals to muscles, vessels, glands and organs. Because all fluids of the body, such as the blood and lymph, are in a closed circuit, anytime you impact fluids in one part of the body it will have an impact on other parts. When you use moist hot or cold applications, such as a pair of wet socks, the moistness allows for deeper penetration into the skin and impacts the blood and lymph vessels instead of just the muscles or skin. Moist applications also have the added benefit of a longer duration of action.

With wet sock therapy, cold damp socks are initially applied to the feet, causing an initial blood vessel constriction response followed by blood vessel dilation. The body’s natural reaction to the cold socks is to increase heat production by dilating vessels and bringing more blood flow to the feet to combat the cold. This vasodilation response is the desired response because as blood flow volume to the feet increases the head and lymphatic tissues drain, the internal organs decongest, and the immune system gets stimulated.

When is the best time to perform this treatment?

The wet sock home remedy can be used anytime there is congestion or inflammation in the sinuses and head, especially when associated with a cold or flu. This treatment at home is typically done prior to bed since it is sedating and also tends to increase the overall temperature of the body, induce a slight fever, and make your body a less hospitable environment for germs. Ideally, you want to start the wet sock treatment at home on first day of illness and repeat three nights in a row.


  • 1 pair of thin white cotton socks or polypropylene liner socks
  • 1 pair of thick wool socks or thick polypropylene socks
  • 1 bowl of ice water


  1. Soak the pair of thin socks in the bowl of ice water. Then wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.
  2. It’s important for the treatment’s effectiveness to warm your feet first by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.
  4. Place ice-cold wet socks on feet. Then cover with thick wool socks. Put on the first set of pajamas and go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.
  5. Wear both pairs of socks overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.

The best part about the wet sock remedy is that it uses the healing power of nature and costs nothing. People with diabetes, Raynaud’s syndrome, arterial insufficiency, or advanced intermittent claudication should use caution and consult with a doctor before starting the wet sock treatment.

The wet sock treatment can be part of an integrated, holistic treatment plan for anyone suffering from congestion, especially related to a cold or the flu.. The next time the flu or a bad cold gets you down, let nature be your cure and give the wet sock home remedy a try. You just might be amazed!

© Dr.Tasnim Adatya | Site designed by Dawson Beggs