No Kidding! The Wet Sock Treatment for Colds, Flus, and Sinusitis

Photo: Our grateful thanks to on Flickr!

By Marcel Hernandez, N.D.

Last week, we talked about water’s many colorful and varied applications to promote health and a sense of well-being, down through the centuries.

Marcel Hernandez, ND

I kid you not, the “wet sock treatment” is one of the most useful hydrotherapy treatments for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.  And, as the name clearly and accurately implies, it requires very simple items found in any home.

It’s also a very relaxing therapy – infants and young children who are having trouble sleeping due to congestion will drop off to sleep.

Be prepared for some initial vocal resistance from the little ones!  Be patient – it will last for only a short time, as the therapy begins to work its magic.

  • The wet sock treatment also relieves head and sinus congestion, headaches, earaches, PMS, sore throat, prostate hypertrophy, and other conditions where there’s congestion.
  • It also relieves stress, prevents or shortens upper respiratory infections, warms chilled persons, and soothes abdominal pain.

Equipment Needed

  1. Foot tub, basin, or bathtub
  2. Hot water
  3. Cold water
  4. A pair of thin cotton socks, soaked in cold water
  5. A pair of thick, dry, wool or cotton socks
  6. A warm blanket
  7. A towel

General Instructions

  1. The wet sock treatment should be carried out in the evening, just before bedtime, or at other times when the patient can stay at home and not have to move around.
  2. The warmly dressed patient should sit on a chair or on the side of the bathtub with both feet in hot water (100 to 110 degrees) and a blanket draped around the shoulders.  Hotter water is better, though take care not to burn the skin.  Infants may be immersed in hot water.  The water should be 3 to 8 inches above the ankle bones.  Keep feet in water for 10 minutes.  The feet should be a rosy color.
  3. Take the feet out of the hot water and dry quickly.  The thin cotton socks, which have been soaking in cold water, are wrung out and immediately put on the feet.
  4. The thick, dry cotton socks are immediately put on over the thin cotton socks.
  5. The patient should then lie down and take a nap, read, or go to sleep.  Within 2-3 hours, the body’s natural heat will dry the socks, and they may be removed, if uncomfortable.

Contraindications: Insulin-dependent diabetes, Buerger’s disease, arteriosclerosis of the lower extremities, loss of feeling in the legs, or skin rashes.

For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch, or follow the link to: Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!