LUNG HEALTH: Wet Sock Treatment

Naturopathic doctors have an array of tools in their medicinal toolbelt. One that often gets overlooked is hydrotherapy...or...using water as medicine. Before cryotherapy became a fad, naturopathic doctors used water as medicine for centuries. And with AMAZING results to boot. Back in the 19th century, patients would retreat to water spas in hopes for true healing.


These days, we find ourselves overwhelmed with essential oils, pharmaceuticals, strict diets, and high dosing vitamins. I'm a fan of all of the above when the case is right however, sometimes it's nice to bring it back to the basics.


So, to kick off this month's theme of lung health, we're starting simple. Drumroll please...as we introduce...the Wet Sock Treatment.

grey wool socks on white satin sheets

Wet sock treatments are traditionally used to treat congestion and infections in the upper body and head. We're talkin' colds, headaches/migraines, sore throats, upper respiratory infections, low grade fevers (less than 100F), sinus and nasal congestion, and ear infections. It works by using cold water to draw blood flow away from congested areas and stimulate the immunes system.


This treatment is simple as can be but there ARE some general contraindications. If you have any of the following conditions, ask your doctor before attempting the wet sock treatment:

  • Diabetic neuropathy

  • Raynaud's

  • Pregnancy

  • Asthma

Items needed for the wet sock treatment:

  • One pair of high-rise cotton socks

  • One pair of thick wool socks

  • One bucket of ice water or a freezer

Now you're ready! All you have to do is:

  1. Soak your pair of cotton socks in ice cold water or dunk them in water and place them in freezer for 5 minutes

  2. Take a warm shower/bath to warm up

  3. Place the cold socks on both feet (deep breath, you've got it)

  4. Place the dry wool socks on top of the cold cotton socks

  5. Hop into bed or take a nap, ensuring the rest of your body is warm

  6. Wake up with dry socks and feeling refreshed!


Honestly, give it a shot. It may remind you of the good ole childhood days when you ran barefooted in cold grass or snow. Remember how refreshed you'd feel afterwards?


Sometimes simple is best. But for more remedies for lung pathologies, stay tuned! The month has just begun.


Until next time,


Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)



  1. Asplin, K. 5 Winter Remedies to Beat Cold and Flu Season. Chicago

  2. BAGHERZADI, A., EMANI, R., GHAVAMI, H., KHALKHALI, H. R., & EBRAHIMI, M. (2021). Comparing the effect of heat and cold therapy on the intensity of nitrate induced migraine type headache in cardiac inpatients: A randomized controlled trial.

  3. Boyle, W., & Saine, A. (1988). Lectures in naturopathic hydrotherapy. Eclectic Medical Publications.


Disclaimer:


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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