Warming Socks Hydrotherapy: The Benefits and How to Do It

Runny nose? Sore throat? Fever? Chills? Sneezing? Congestion? Headache? The home remedy known as warming socks hydrotherapy can be your go-to treatment for all of these symptoms. It’s been used in my family for generations.

The controlled application of cold to the feet prompts the body to increase circulation to warm them. This stimulates the immune system, and drains congestion from the head and upper respiratory passages. A side benefit is its soothing and sedating effect so it’s perfect before sleep. Another plus is that the warming socks treatment can benefit all ages.

What you need

  • 2 thin (at least 90% cotton) socks
  • 2 thick (at least 60% wool) socks
  • access to cold and warm water
  • possibly a towel

How to do it

  1. For the treatment to be effective and safe your feet must be warm so if they’re cool or cold take a warm bath or a warm foot bath. Then dry off.
  2. Wet 2 thin socks in very cold water and wring them out so they’re not dripping.
  3. Put on the wet socks.
  4. Cover each thin sock with a thick dry sock so that none of the thin sock is showing.
  5. Go to bed (and even to sleep), making sure you’re warm all over. When you wake, your feet will be warm and the socks will be dry.


  • DO use at the first sign of symptoms.
  • DO use this treatment as needed until the symptoms resolve.
  • DO consult with a health professional before starting this treatment if you have chronic health concerns or conditions, or a compromised immune system.
  • DON’T do this treatment if you feel chilled or your feet are cold and don’t warm up easily.
  • DON’T do this treatment if you’re unsure of the diagnosis of 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.