Wearing wet socks to bed is like magic when it comes to treating colds and flu, especially for children.
This may sound crazy, but wet socks are one of the best tools that naturopaths have for strengthening the immune system and helping loved ones bounce back quickly from a cold or flu. Mothers have been doing this for years, too.
Wet socks are a simple hydrotherapy technique, which is especially effective for relieving nasal congestion, bringing down a fever and inducing deeper sleep when you’re ill.
The best situation for using wet socks is when the person has an upper respiratory infection accompanied by a fever. When your temperature starts rising, it is time to pull out the socks.
All you need is a pair of cotton socks and a pair of wool socks, available from most of the UAE’s sporting goods stores. Make sure the wool socks are a bit larger than the cotton ones. Then, when you are ready for bed, follow these easy steps:
- Start with warm feet, either after a warm bath or a warm foot soak.
- Soak the cotton socks in ice cold water. Some people will even put their wet, cotton socks into the freezer for 5 minutes before putting them on. (You just have to try it.)
- When the socks are wet and cold, wring them out well and then put them on.
- Then put the pair of dry wool socks on top of the cotton socks. Please note, you do not wet the wool socks – they must be dry!
- Go to sleep.
That’s all there is to it. As you are sleeping, your body will be doing all the work. When you wake up in the morning, your feet and socks should be completely dry. You may need up to four hours of sleep to accomplish this, so it is best not to try this technique on a short nap. Most children will fall asleep almost immediately.
How does it work? The theory is that the blood vessels in your feet constrict as the socks cool your feet. This action sends all the good nutrients needed to fight off infections and stimulate healing into your organs and tissues.
When your feet start to warm up again, the vessels will dilate to release the heat. This helps the tissues to dump waste into the bloodstream for elimination. This alternating heating and cooling creates a sort of pumping mechanism that stimulates your circulation and lymphatic system, resulting in an active immune system and decreased congestion.
Other than the initial cost of the socks, wet socks for a cold or flu doesn’t cost anything, requires no medication and won’t cause any harm, so why not just give it a try?
• This story ran originally in February 2020.
Dr Robin Tauzin
A naturopathic doctor who trained in both conventional and alternative medicine in the United States, Robin is the chief wellness officer at Al Mansoori Specialized Engineering in Abu Dhabi. There she oversees the health monitoring management system, conducts individual consultations with employees for disease prevention using diet and lifestyle modifications and organizes wellness events.