Getting sick with congestion is an unpleasant business. Downright inconvenient, really. One moment you’ll be blasting through your week, working long hours and hauling in the overtime pay. You’re staying up late being a classy socialite and perhaps skimping a little on the sleep department. Maybe you’re eating out a bit more than usual, and perhaps going a little too hard at the gym. But in the name of productivity, it’s totally worth it, right?
It gets to the end of the week, you unwind a little over a glass of wine, and you start to feel a familiar niggling in your throat. The feeling spreads, with your nose quickly becoming stuffy and chaining you to a box of tissues. Your head constantly aches and your energy level just dipped well below normal. You, my friend, have officially got a cold. Or perhaps it’s the flu, depending on whether those symptoms are also accompanied by a fever and muscles which ache incessantly.
The weekend which you’ve worked so hard to take off beckons, yet you know by Saturday morning the sickness will be in full swing. You’ll be in no state to do anything even remotely enjoyable. The logical next step is to turn to cold and flu meds from your local drug store. The ones which dry up your nose, help you sleep at night and make you feel like you’re not really all that sick.
I could go on and on about how these meds are doing you far more damage than they’re worth. I could talk about how these brightly packaged, ruthlessly marketed pills are simply suppressing the body’s natural reaction to a bacterial or viral invasion, and how this natural response is a necessary part of healing faster. But that would be deviating too far from the topic of this post, so I’ll spare you the details.
For those of you who are a bit more holistically-minded, you’ll probably turn to proven natural remedies. These include ginger, lemon and honey tea, vitamin D supplements (or even better — pure sunshine!), and getting plenty of vitamin C. While these are all great ways to help your body fight the invasion, there’s one powerful natural treatment which you probably haven’t tried… cold socks!
What is cold sock treatment?
Okay, okay, hear me out, people! It sounds more than a little weird, and at first glance, it seems awfully counter-productive. But the anecdotal evidence suggests it really does work.
The cold sock treatment, otherwise known as the wet sock treatment, is a naturopathic solution to a common affliction affecting a large proportion of the world population every year. It can be used to treat both the common cold and the flu, or simply a case of bad congestion.
The treatment works under a simple premise. Our bodies are constantly trying to maintain a state of homeostasis, the point by which everything is in balance and functioning exactly as it should. Placing cold, wet socks on your feet forces your body to send a burst of blood to the area in order to warm up an area that has suddenly dropped in temperature, thereby seeking to maintain homeostasis.
This burst of blood flow means your circulation is given a kick-start, sort of like giving it a healthy energy drink! With increased blood circulation comes increased lymph node flushing, which stimulates your immune system and gets it working double-time.
The effect is immediate and impressive. Overnight, you’ll dramatically reduce congestion and others symptoms of your cold or flu. In addition, you’ll actually sleep better — after the initial shock of sliding on a pair of soggy socks, that is. This naturopathic treatment helps to quickly clear your sinuses, relieve nasal congestion and alleviate aches and chills.
If the anecdotal evidence is anything to go by, you’ll wake up with your sore throat magically gone. Your nasal congestion will be a thing of the past. The headache will have vanished. Your aches and chills will be but a distant memory. It’s even possible that with your circulation given a much-needed boost, you’ll feel better than ever. Weekend, here you come!
Using cold sock treatment for beating congestion
You’ll probably be surprised to learn that the process is a little more scientific than you might think. More complicated that simply dipping a couple of socks in some tap water then sliding them on your feet, anyway! Here’s what you’ll need to have a good go at this treatment:
- Lavender essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Large bucket (or bathtub)
- 1 pair thin cotton socks
- 1 pair thick wool socks
- Towel for drying your feet
As soon as you feel a cold or congestion coming on, you need to take action. The cold/wet sock treatment works best during the early stages of a cold or flu, helping your immune system to get the better before it’s had to change to truly take hold.
1. Half an hour before bed, dip a pair of thin cotton socks in cold water. Ensure they’re fully immersed and are completely soaked through. Place them on a plate and stick them in the refrigerator.
2. If you’ve got a bucket lying around, fill it with hot water. If you don’t have a bucket, the bottom of your bathtub will also suffice. The water should be as hot as you can handle without scalding your skin.
3. Place your feet in the hot water and soak them for 15 to 20 minutes. Placing a couple drops of lavender essential oil in the water will help you relax your mind and sleep better. And it’ll also smell amazing!
4. After soaking your feet, pat them dry with a towel. Consider massaging one or two drops of rosemary essential oil with a little coconut oil into your feet to take your circulation to the next level! It’ll feel great and help to relax you even more.
5. Immediately after massaging the oil, remove your wet cotton socks from the fridge and slip them on your nice warm feet. By all accounts, this isn’t as unpleasant as it sounds! Cover the wet socks with a pair of dry wool socks to insulate the cold and prevent your feet from “wetting the bed.”
6. Hop into bed with the double sock ensemble on your feet. Your feet should start to feel warm within a couple of minutes of putting on the wet socks, signaling that your circulation has jumped to the rescue and it’s doing its thing.
That’s it! Keep the socks on all night, and if you’re still feeling a little under the weather the next day, repeat again the following night.
What do you think? Have you tried this? Are you willing to try it in order to banish that pesky cold? We’d love to hear your take on this wacky DIY treatment!
— Liivi Hess