Warming Socks

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Latest Edit: Iva 2012-04-01 (EDT)

Warming socks, also known as the Wet Socks treatment, is a simple, overnight, hydrotherapy technique. It is especially effective at the onset of a cold / flu, for relieving nasal congestion, sore throat, ear infections, teething problems or dental infections. Anytime that draining acute congestion in the head is desired, the west sock treatment is often beneficial.

The controlled application of cold to the feet stimulates several actions in the body. The body first reacts by increasing circulation to warm the feet, which reflexively stimulates the immune system and drains congestion from the head and upper respiratory passages.

The Wet Socks Treatment is also beneficial as a preventive measure if you are feeling under the weather, run down, or if everyone around you is getting sick. This treatment can also be used on a regular basis to prevent illness and boost the immune system.


In the evening before going to bed, prepare by having a pair of cotton socks and a pair of wool socks. They must be at least 90% cotton and 60% wool, respectively. Most sporting goods stores and some department stores carry wool socks. For small children you can use safety-pins to hold a wool sock on that is too large, or rap wool cloth around each foot.


Step 1: Just before going to bed for the night, soak the thin pair of cotton socks in the coldest possible tap water.

Step 2: Wring out the cotton socks very well – they should still be wet, but not dripping.

Step 3: If your feet are cold, place them in a basin or bathtub of warm water and soak them for a few minutes until they are hot and pink. Remove your feet and quickly dry them off.

Step 4: Put on the cold wet cotton soaks and cover them with the pair of dry wool socks.

Step 5: Go directly to bed and keep the feet covered throughout the night. The therapy does not work if you or your feet are uncovered, such as when walking around or sitting in a chair uncovered.

If necessary the Wet Sock Treatment can be repeated through the night or used on consecutive nights. It is common to repeat the treatment for three consecutive nights at the onset of a cold, flu or other infection. If repeating the treatment in the same night or if an illness starts during the night, it is not necessary to warm the feet since they will already be warm.

How the Wet Socks Treatment Works

  • Increases blood circulation and stimulates the immune system. The stimulation of the immune system increases the circulation of white blood cells and improves the body’s reaction to acute infections.
  • Reflexively increases circulation and decreases congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head and throat.
  • Sedating action, and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment.
  • Decreases pain associated with congestion.


Do not perform this treatment if you feel chilled or your feet are cold and don’t warm up easily.

Do not use this self-treatment technique if you are unsure of the diagnosis or your or your child’s health problem. This advice is meant to augment and not replace the necessary care of a licensed primary care provider.

This treatment may not be appropriate if you have a circulatory disorder, advanced diabetes, if you have certain types of cancer or in some cases of HIV and AIDs.

Ensure to consult your naturopathic doctor before beginning any new treatments. The Warming Socks treatment should not be used by individuals with chronic conditions or compromised immunity. If you do not experience any improvement within a couple of days contact your naturopathic doctor.