You’d probably never guess that a pair of wet socks could pull congestion from your head and stimulate your immune system. Sounds like hocus-pocus promoted by a traveling charlatan, right?
Historically, this hydrotherapy was called “Wet Sock Therapy.” At some point, a marketing savvy naturopath explained to young patients that the overnight drying of the socks was a “healing magic trick” and the name quickly evolved into “Magic Socks.” Kids love it and it actually does work like magic to arrest the onset of mild colds and flus.
Here’s how the magic-sock trick works:
When covered (insulated) with wool, damp socks draw congestion from the head and work overnight to stimulate systemic circulation. This treatment reflexively decreases congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat.
The socks will dry overnight as the body brings warm, fresh blood to the feet. This, in turn, invigorates the immune system and helps fend off acute illness. Magic Socks can be used nightly when any concern exists about the onset of an acute infection or illness and with any ongoing insomnia.
For best results repeat treatment for three nights in a row or as instructed by your doctor. If you develop a loss of sensation in your feet while using Magic Socks, remove the socks and check in with your doctor. Do not use this therapy with any condition that has resulted in loss of sensation or circulation to the feet unless first consulting with your doctor.
Make a Pair of Magic (Wet) Socks
- Before bed, wet a pair of thin, cotton anklets in cold water.
- Wring out excess water and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
- Put the socks on your feet.
- Pull a pair of heavy wool socks over the anklets and climb into bed.
- Cover well; sleep all night with the socks on.
- Bastyr University. “Dive ‘Feet First’ Into Wellness With a Natural Remedy.” Accessed July 2015.
- Mooventhan, A., and L. Nivethitha. “Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body.” North American Journal of Medical Sciences 6, no. 5 (May 2014): 199–209. doi: 10.4103/19472714.132935.
- Options Naturopathic Clinic. “Magic or Warming Socks.” Accessed July 2015.