Cold Sock Hydrotherapy Treatment to relieve Congestion

This has been a week of patients coming in with nasty, gunky colds.  Since so many folks can’t reach their physicians in the next few days,  Here is my first line solution to nasal or sinus congestion.

May your holidays be happy.

Cold Socks Treatment

The Cold Sock Treatment is a simple hydrotherapy technique that is especially effective for relieving nasal congestion in bed at night (frequently better than medications and without the side effects).

It also helps to stimulate the immune system in the upper respiratory tract and is relaxing for aches and chills, and helps bring on a more restful night’s sleep when sick. We find it helpful in such conditions as colds, “flu” (not the “stomach flu”), earaches, sore throats, and sinus infections. It is useful with people of any age from infants to the elderly.

The Cold Sock Treatment is especially good to use with the nasal congestion of colds and influenza.

Preparations. 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 wrap wool cloth around each foot. I’ve even tucked a tiny baby inside a wool sweater using the arms of the sweater as leg coverings and pinning the sleeve openings shut.

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.

When the Cold Sock Treatment procedure is followed correctly the feet will start warming up within a few minutes of getting covered in bed. The congestion will usually start to be relieved within 30 minutes. It will often work better than a decongestant or antihistamine to relieve congestion during sleep. In addition, it is not uncommon to see a small child or infant fall immediately to sleep after they are put to bed with the Cold Sock Treatment. After approximately four hours the socks should be totally dry, the feet warm, and the symptoms will be much improved (if not gone).

If necessary the Cold Sock Treatment can be repeated through the night or used on consecutive nights. In repeating the treatment in the same night or if an illness starts during the night, it is not necessary to warm the feet in hot water since they will already be warm. Simply apply the wrung out cold wet socks and the dry wool socks and go back to bed.