Cold Wet Sock Treatment

By: Carrie Dennie, ND, RAc

As the Fall season approaches, it brings cooler temperatures, colorful foliage, pumpkin spice flavoring, and unfortunately the start of cold and flu season. A simple and cost-effective way to support your immune system is with the wet sock treatment. This treatment involves putting on cold, wet socks and then going straight to bed for the night. It sounds strange but it is very effective at mobilizing the body’s natural defenses. The best part is that it harnesses the healing power of nature and doesn’t cost anything!! It is very effective for babies and younger children too.

The Wet Sock Treatment acts to reflexively increase circulation, which stimulates the immune system and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a relaxing action and many people report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections. The Wet Sock treatment works best if performed at the onset of illness and repeated for three nights in a row. People with chronic illness or compromised immune systems should consult their doctor before starting the wet sock treatment.


Indications:  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.


1 pair white cotton socks

1 pair thick wool socks (also flannel or heavy-duty cotton socks)


Warm shower/bath or warm foot bath


  1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.
  2. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first.  Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm shower/bath for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.
  4. Place cold wet socks on feet. Cover with thick socks.  Go directly to bed.  Avoid getting chilled.
  5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.


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