Your Unexpected Ticket to Health This Cold Season: The Wet Sock Treatment

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Image What do rosemary oil, a bucket of hot water, your refrigerator, and two pairs of socks have in common?


They are the surprising winning combo that form the best remedy for the common cold that you’ve ever tried:

The Wet Sock Treatment


We’ve all been there.

One moment you’re on top of the world, getting more done than you normally would, eating out because you’re too busy to cook, and skipping your exercise routine because you’re too tired from being so productive.

Next thing you know you feel a tickle in your throat, your nose is a little stuffy, you feel sluggish and achey and so tired that your vision is blurring as you read.

But you don’t have time to get sick, there’s still so much to get done!

Oh no! What to do?!


The answer, my friends, is to use The Wet Sock Treatment.

The Wet-Sock Treatment is one of naturopathy’s most effective cures for the common cold.

That’s right, wet socks.

Cold wet socks to be precise.


How in the world could such an uncomfortable sounding method cure anything, you might ask?

The mechanism is actually fairly simple.

Your body is always striving toward homeostasis, so when you put very cold wet socks on very warm feet, you’re body responds with a rush of blood to the area to warm up what has suddenly become cold.

In other words, the wet-sock treatment will get your circulation moving. And when your circulation moves, blood moves through your lymph nodes, which in turn brings your immune system into hyper-drive.

You will wake up to find that tickle in your throat has “miraculously” disappeared, your nose is clear, and you’re ready to do all the tasks on your list with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

In fact, you’ll not only feel great, but your feet will be warmer than usual!

How to Use Cold Wet Socks to Boost Your Immune System

What you’ll need:

A bucket (or your tub)

A small towel

Lavender and rosemary essential oils (optional)

Yarrow tea (optional)

A pair of thin cotton socks

A pair of thick wool socks

A refrigerator


1. As you’re getting ready to go to bed, drench your cotton socks in cold water or yarrow tea. Make sure they’re saturated to the max, and then stick them in the refrigerator.


2. Fill a bucket (or your tub) with very hot water, not so hot that it’ll burn you, but as hot as you can comfortably handle.

Enjoy a nice warm foot-soak for up to 20 minutes.

You might like to put some lavender oil in the water to add some aromatherapy that will help you relax and sleep well later.


3. Once your feet are nice and toasty, pat them dry with your towel.

If you wish you can massage your feet with rosemary oil for added benefit. Rosemary oil will boost your circulation to another level.


4. Take the wet socks out of the refrigerator and put them on your toasty warm feet and cover the wet cotton socks with dry wool socks.

This sounds much worse than it feels, trust me!

Your feet will start to feel warm within a couple of minutes as your blood rushes in so your body can find temperature homeostasis.


5. Keep both pairs of socks on and go to bed.

When you wake up your feet will be warm and dry and you’ll feel a lot better than you did the night before.


6. Repeat the wet sock treatment for three nights in a row for best results.


Note: The wet sock treatment is most effective at the beginning stages of a cold, when you first feel it coming on.

It can be helpful later in the game also, but you’ll get the more benefit the earlier you start.

Moreover, the wet sock treatment can be helpful for other conditions such as migraines, insomnia, chronically cold hands and feet, and ear infections.

Lastly, please don’t use the wet sock treatment if you have any open wounds on your feet.


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  1. Essig-Patscherl waren es, wie Du klein warst ! ;-))

    • dareuber muss ich noch ein article schreiben. Weil es ist ja auch intern gans gesund, und anscheinend auf die hare auch…

  2. I have never tried this treatment before. I will remember it, though. I seem to catch colds easily. Thanks for stopping by my blog. We have a lot in common. I write for examiner.com, Natural Health Examiner. Natural is always best, in my opinion. Enjoyed your article.

    • You’re very welcome Barbara! If you catch colds easily it might be wise to follow the sauna protocol I mentioned in a previous post. You can do it at home in the shower. And also astragalus herb could be very useful to bolster your defenses in the colder weather. I hope you enjoy lovely holiday celebrations, and thanks for checking out my blog!

  3. can you do wet socks for a 6 month old baby?

    • Check with your pediatrician before doing anything. Ask about elderberry syrup as well, that might help. And yarrow tea.

      I have heard the story that in Nepal they roll their newborn babies in snow to build up their defenses right off the bat.

      Good luck with your little babe, let me know how it goes!

    • Also, babies are very sensitive. If your doctor tells you it’s a good idea, don’t use temperatures that are as extreme as you would with an adult. The warm foot bath should be warm, not hot, and the socks shouldn’t be frozen, putting them in the refrigerator should suffice.

  4. I have a miserable cold that started today. Since I read this last night, I have thought about this treatment all day. I’ve been trying to decide if having a cold is better than freezing feet but I am going to try this. I’ll let you know if I feel better in the morning.

  5. I tried a version of this last night. I woke up 2 hours in feeling way worse so I pulled the socks off my feet. Any suggestion? I don’t want to give up on this treatment.

    • Hey Cassie, I’m not quite sure what to tell you as that has never happened to me. It could be that your immune system kicked in and made you feel worse. Healing reactions like fever or sweating etc. are there for a reason. In other words, your body knows what it needs to do to heal itself. If you really want to stick with the wet sock treatment, try it again tonight and the next day. You generally need three days for full effects.

      I’m also wondering if you did it soon enough. Generally it works best at the beginning of an illness, not when it’s progressed further along.

      I’d also suggest that you read this article: http://dellaterrawellness.com/step-by-step-guide-to-the-common-cold-home-remedies/ and try some of the other strategies listed as well.

      Lastly, and most importantly, if you keep feeling ill, go to the doctor just to make sure nothing worse than a cold is happening. If they say there is nothing they can do for you but tell you to rest, then you should turn to these strategies.

      I hope this helps, and I hope you feel better! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. Thanks for posting this. I learned this in homeopathy school and really appreciate that you took the time to document it. I have sent my clients this link so they can easily see how to do the treatment. Thanks-Samantha CCH

    • You’re very welcome Samantha!
      I’m glad you approve, and thank you for sharing with your clients. Your support means the world to me.
      Warmly, Katerina

  7. If all this does is stimulate the blood flow why not just get on the bike and go for a ride?
    Would not exercise do the same thing?
    That said – I’m not sure which remedy sounds worse. Nobody really wants to exercise when they feel bad.

    • That’s a really good question Mike. If you feel the initial tickle in your throat but still have a bunch of energy exercise can be extremely effective at preventing the bug from progressing (but make sure you’re wearing a scarf when you’re outside!)

      However, if you’re feeling tired you should listen to your body and rest. You’ll only drain yourself of resources if you push yourself at that point.

      And honestly, the wet sock treatment feels really good after the brief moment of shock. You’ll be surprised!

  8. I have been using this treatment for a couple of years now and it works great…I haven’t had to take any decongestants for it. I do have a question though. I came down with the flu and used the treatment which has definitely shortened the duration of the flu. But can I use this treatment as a preventative for my family? Even though they don’t have any systems, can i still have them do the wet socks to hopefully ward off the flu?

  9. I’m impressed. Although my cold isn’t completely gone, it definitely seems to have skipped the miserable runny nose and fuzzy brain stage. Will be doing this again!

    • That’s great news Bibi! I’m glad you’re feeling better

  10. Would this work for someone who has very poor circulation in his feet? (I am sure it would work for me if it works at all–I don’t have trouble with ice-block feet!) My husband has extremely poor circulation in his feet. He’s doing much better with cold feet since I purchased new warm slippers for him a few months ago, but there are certain things he can’t do. For example, some years ago on an overnight trip away for his birthday, we were at a place where we could go wading in a creek. The water was cold, of course, but after the initial shock, my feet warmed up, and I didn’t feel it any more. His feet on the other hand, simply got colder and colder, and he had to take his feet out of the water because it was so painful.

    • Yes, Ardella, thank you for your question. Indeed, the wet-sock treatment can help with overall circulation. Also, putting a small amount of cayenne pepper inside socks can also help warm cold feet. However, I highly recommend finding a Chinese medicine herbalist in your area, as there are internal formulas that are designed to specifically treat the kinds of symptoms you’re describing, and have the potential to create more long-term effects. Let me know how it goes!

  11. Thank you so much! I’ve tried it on myself as well as our baby of 11 months old and it really works miracles!

    • That’s great news Bibi, I’m so glad you’ve had successful results!

  12. I will definitely try this, but please explain why the 2-sock treatment should not be used if there’s an open wound on the foot. Does this include minor breaks like scratches or blisters? Thanks.

    • Hey Anya, wounds do best if they are left to air out and generally don’t heal as quickly if they are moist, this applies to most scratches as well. Blisters should be fine unless the skin is broken. If you ever have any questions it is best to check with your doctor. I hope this helps!



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