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I'm A Naturopath: Here's Why I Wet My Socks When I Feel A Cold Coming On

Katie Corazzo, N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor By Katie Corazzo, N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor
Katie Corazzo, N.D., is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing family medicine in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in Nutrition Science and attended naturopathic medical school at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.
Woman Pouring Cough Medicine

When I first feel a cold coming on, I immediately start my vitamin regimen, whip up some broth soup, drink plenty of water, and...wet my socks before bed.

Why I swear by the "wet sock treatment" during cold and flu season.

You might be thinking, "Wet socks?! That doesn't sound comfortable at all!" But it's not as bad as you think and though there's no clinical research to support that this approach works, it's been effective for me over the years.

Whenever I feel a cold coming on, before bed I'll wet a pair of cotton socks with cold water and cover with wool socks. After putting on both layers of socks, I'll climb into bed and drift off to sleep. Again, while there's no research to back up this method, here's how proponents of it suspect it works: The vessels in your feet will constrict as the feet cool down, which redirects good nutrients into other areas of the body. These nutrients are needed to fight off infections and stimulate healing. Then your feet will start to warm up again, and your vessels will dilate to release the heat. This is when the junk in your tissues is dumped into your bloodstream so that your body can dispose of it. The alternating of hot and cold is thought to create a pumping mechanism that stimulates circulation and lymphatics. The results are an active immune system and decreased congestion.


How I wear wet socks to bed:

  1. Just before bed, put your feet in hot water for 3 minutes. You can place them in the bathtub under running water. The water should be as hot as you can handle it without burning your skin.
  2. Wet 1 pair of thin, cotton anklets in cold water. Wring out well and put on immediately after the hot foot bath. The water should be as cold as you can handle it. (Remember, your feet are very warm so the cold will feel OK)
  3. Put on 1 pair of heavy wool socks over the ankles and climb into bed.
  4. Cover well and sleep all night with socks on. By the morning, your socks will be completely dry and ready to remove.

I'd recommend this technique to anyone. Try it at least once in conjunction with other holistic cold remedies such as taking a vitamin D supplement, using essential oils, eating nourishing foods, and clearing nasal passageways using a neti pot, and see how you feel.

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