We don't know about you, but when we have the flu, we wear 10 layers of clothing (one must be a fluffy dressing gown), are armed with boxes of Lemsip, tissues, hot water bottles, Vicks and a healthy supply of TV boxsets.

One thing that does not occur to us is to take our warm, comfy socks, dip them in water and put them back on our feet.

Yet naturopath Dr Katie Corazzo, writing for website Mind Body Green, says that while it may sound strange, it really works.


Dr Corazzo says that she does all of the usual things - broth, warm clothing - that other people do, and acknowledges that most people would take a WTF approach to her suggestion. Yet she explains:

"After putting on the socks, you'll climb into bed and drift off to sleep. While dreaming sweet dreams, your feet will be doing all the work. The vessels in your feet will constrict as your feet cool down, which sends all the good nutrients into your organs and tissues.

"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 blood stream so that your body can dispose of it. The alternating of hot and cold creates a pumping mechanism that stimulates your circulation and lymphatics. The results are an active immune system and decreased congestion. By the morning, your socks will be completely dry."


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A naturopath is someone who believes in natural remedies rather than allopathic medicine (western or modern medicine). When we did some searching around, it appeared that this remedy is actually practiced by other people.

The Heartland Naturopathic Clinic says that it is a simple hydrotherapy technique. It advises:

Preparations: In the evening before going to bed, prepare by having a pair of cotton socks and a pair of wool socks. They must be at least 90% cotton and 90% wool, respectively. Most sporting goods stores and some department stores carry wool socks. For small children you can use safety-pins to hold a wool sock on that is too large, or rap wool cloth around each foot.

Step 1: Soak the foot part of the cotton socks in cold tap water and wring them out thoroughly. Place the socks close to the basin or bathtub used in the next step. Note: If your feet are already warm (e.g., you have already been in bed) you can skip to Step 3.

Step 2: Put your feet into a basin or bathtub of hot water to warm up your feet. Soak them for a few minutes until they are hot and pink.

Step 3: Remove your feet from the hot water and quickly dry them off. Immediately put on the cold wet cotton socks, and then over them, put on the dry wool socks.

Step 4: Go directly to bed and keep the feet covered through the night. The therapy does not work if you or your feet are uncovered, such as when walking around or sitting in a chair uncovered.

Blogger Lisa Zahn wrote: "I decided to try it on myself after reading about it in a book on my shelf, An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants by Mary Bove, N.D. She recommended the wet socks treatment as one possible treatment for bronchitis, which I felt I had and which I was desperate to heal without antibiotics.

"And you know, the treatment wasn't bad at all. It felt pretty good, in fact, and certainly not uncomfortable. And in the morning when I woke up with dry and warm feet, I did feel much less congested and my cough was easier. You must follow the steps exactly, though."

Jerica, who runs a site called Sustain, Create and Flow tried the treatment and added: "The Magic Sock method is not a comprehensive cure-all. It is just one method in your ‘natural medicine chest’ that works best when combined with other healing components like a honey remedy, increased fluid intake, sleep, and immune-boosting supplements such as garlic, vitamins A, C, D and E, and zinc."

The jury is out here at HuffPost UK Lifestyle (sorry but we'd rather stick our hands in a bee hive than put wet socks on when we're feeling ill) but if in doubt, ask your GP.

Quick Poll

Would you try the wet sock treatment?


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  • Take Hot Steam Showers

    It feels good and will make you forget your disturbances for a while. In the meantime, it helps relieve symptoms of chest congestion by relaxing your breathing from promoting coughing. For a quick alternative, simply put your head under a towel over a sink full of steamy, hot water for the same effect.

  • Try Some Homemade Chicken Soup

    The steam of the hot soup will help clear your air passages and give you some breathing relief; plus it's yummy comfort food that will send you flying back to your childhood days!

  • Use A Nasal Sinus Rinse Or Neti Pot™

    This nasal saline irrigation uses salt and water to flush out the nasal passages and relieve congestion and pressure in your head.

  • Suck On Some Zinc Lozenges

    They are little "candies" that promise to shorten the duration and severity of cold symptoms. My family uses them regularly, and I've personally found them to be very helpful. Some people find they cause nausea, so I would recommend eating them right after a meal.

  • Try A Spoonful Of Honey To Relieve Coughing

    <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1 " target="_hplink">Research</a> shows "parents rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief of their child's nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection." <em>You should never give honey to children under 1 year of age because of the risk of infantile botulism.</em>

  • Try My Recipe For Sneaky Chef Cold Buster

    This sweet, frozen-fruit smoothie has a big dose of immune-boosting vitamin C and antioxidants, which may help ward off colds and flu. The surprise ingredient here, black tea, has been shown to build up germ-fighting powers. The honey not only sweetens the deal, but soothes sore throats and coughs, too. Makes 4 servings 2 cups brewed decaffeinated black tea, cooled 1 large orange, peeled 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, rinsed (If using frozen, use a brand without syrup or added sugar.) Juice from 1 fresh lemon 4 tablespoons honey 2 to 3 cups ice Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Serve in a tall glass with a straw (or pour into Popsicle molds and freeze).