Spotlight On: The Warming Socks Treatment

As rates of infection are on the rise, we want to continue sharing helpful, immune-supportive tips. This week, we are highlighting the “Warming Socks” - a safe, simple, inexpensive, and effective hydrotherapy technique that naturopathic doctors frequently utilize in practice. And the beauty of hydrotherapy is that it is a nice complement to both natural and conventional healthcare approaches!

What are Warming Socks?

This technique is often recommended at the first sign of any congestion in the ears, eyes, sinuses, throat, and/or lungs. Those who try it quickly learn how effective it can be in helping relieve nasal or chest congestion, earaches, sinusitis, and colds or upper respiratory infections. It is even helpful to mitigate the “brain fog” that can result from a night of over-indulgence!

Effects of the Warming Socks

Warming socks works to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating and grounding action - many patients report a deeper, more restorative sleep with Warming Socks. It is also effective for certain pain relief, and increases the healing response during acute infection.

The person’s body will dry the wet socks by pulling the circulation toward the feet and past all the organs of elimination. The immune system is stimulated, and the individual will sleep well. Throbbing may be felt in the feet. For optimum benefit, leave both sets of socks on throughout the night, even after the cotton socks have become dry.

Here’s how to use Warming Socks at home:

  1. 1 pair cotton socks
  2. 1 pair thick wool socks
  3. Warm bath or warm foot bath


  • Warm feet first. This can be accomplished by soaking feet in warm water for 5-10 minutes, or by taking a warm bath or shower.
  • Take the pair of cotton socks and get them wet with cold water only up to the ankle of the sock. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so that they do not drip. Place in the freezer for a couple of minutes.
  • Place cold, wet socks on feet. Cover with thick, dry, heavy-weight or wool socks.  Go to bed and cover with blanket. Avoid getting chilled.
  • Keep the socks on overnight. The wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.

Please note: Warming Socks should not be used by those who experience extreme weakness, tend to run cold, or who are at risk for foot infection --  such as those with diabetic feet/neuropathy or fungal infections of the toes/ feet. For small children or individuals of weaker vitality, wet only the toes of the cotton socks. (If you do not have wool socks sized for kids, use larger ones folded down!). For those with a wool allergy, other thick and fluffy socks can be used instead.

*A reminder that our Spotlight On wellness features are provided for informational and education purposes – and are not intended as special medical advice to diagnose or treat. We are not your personal Naturopathic Doctors. If you have urgent healthcare issues or concerns, please contact your primary care provider or another healthcare specialist for consultation.

Want to support our goal of expanding access to safe and holistic naturopathic medical care in Virginia? Donate to our fundraising campaign and help legislative efforts to license Naturopathic Doctors!


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