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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mallory Murray, NMD

Wet Sock Therapy: Easy at Home Therapy for Colds

What is wet sock therapy?

Wet sock therapy involves putting on a pair of cold wet socks with a pair of thick wool socks over them, and going to bed for the night.

But wait, I promise you this treatment is much more enjoyable than that sentence made it sound.

The premise behind this simple hydrotherapy treatment is that it increases circulation and relieves congestion. As your blood circulation increases in your lower body to warm it up, it helps pull the congestion out of your upper body, relieving the congestion in your head, throat, or upper respiratory passages that you are experiencing when you have a cold or the flu. It can be a really nice easy at home treatment to help relieve your congestion and allow you to get a more restful night’s sleep when you’re sick.

Talk to your physician about other treatment options that you can do in addition to wet sock therapy when you’re sick. Increasing fluids, limiting sugar, and taking appropriate steps to treat your symptoms when you’re sick will help you feel better quicker.

Who is wet sock therapy good for?

Wet sock therapy is great for people of all ages. It can be done in children as well as adults and elderly. It is especially effective for decreasing congestion during colds and acute infections.

Who should avoid wet sock therapy?

If you are immunocompromised, have poor circulation in your lower extremities, or have a low body temperature then consult your physician to see if this is a good treatment option for you.

What if I still don’t feel good when I wake up?

Wet sock therapy is most effective when it is begun at the first signs of sickness, and it should be repeated for a few nights in a row. Remember, this treatment is done in addition to other therapies that may be needed to help relieve your symptoms. It should not be the only thing you are doing to fight off sickness.

What if my socks are still wet when I wake up?

If your socks are still wet when you wake up, then chances are the thin cotton socks were not adequately wrung out before you put them on. It’s important that the socks are cold and damp, but should not be dripping. Also, you need to make sure that you are adequately warm for this treatment to be effective. If your body is cold then the blood circulation will not move into your feet like it needs to for the desired effect.

Is this treatment safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Wet sock therapy is a gentle mild treatment that is a great safe option for pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you are pregnant and choose to take a full body bath instead of just a foot bath to warm your feet up, be sure to avoid too high of temperatures for your bath water.

What you need:
  • One pair of thin cotton socks

  • One pair of thick wool socks


  1. Soak the thin cotton socks in ice cold water. Wring them out VERY well. They should be wet but not dripping when you put them on. Place them in the freezer if needed to get them cold.

  2. Warm your feet up with either a full body bath or a hot foot bath. It’s important that your feet are adequately warmed up before you put the cold socks on.

  3. Thoroughly dry your feet off with a towel and then put the cold socks on. Put the thick wool socks on over the cold cotton socks and hop directly into bed. You don’t want to be walking around the house after putting your socks on. This should be the last step in your evening routine.

  4. You can sip a warm comforting tea in bed like chamomile or ginger, but avoid ice cold drinks for the night.

  5. When you wake up in the morning the socks will be dry. If they aren’t dry, they were either too wet to begin with or your body wasn’t adequately warmed up before application.


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