The method of “Warming Socks” is an age-old remedy that helps to promote overall circulation in the body. When your immune system is fighting an infection such as a cold, flu, headache, sinus infection, sore throat, upper respiratory infection, using warming socks has been known to help improve the course of the illness, even eliminating it in the initial stages. In general, the immune system’s best defense is a strong, efficient circulatory system, which helps get immune cells right to where they need to be, much like getting first responders to the scene of the accident on a highway. When used at the onset of the cold or flu, infection can be inhibited and stopped from progressing all together, while still gaining the immune benefit from having been exposed to the virus or bacteria.
In Naturopathic Medicine, Warming Socks have been a big component of hyrdotherapy – utilizing water in the form of hot/cold treatments to support overall health. The basic idea is to promote circulation that increases heat locally to the feet. Initially the socks are applied cold, but within minutes of wearing the socks, your feet will start to warm up and your body will work to warm the feet and dry the socks.
Warming socks can also be used to help “mental congestion” as well. If you having difficulty falling asleep because of racing thoughts, an unquiet mind, or constantly thinking, warming socks can promote better sleep. Most people report a more restful sleep while doing warming socks, which can impact much of your overall health.
How to do warming socks:
1. Obtain two pairs of socks:
-One thin, cotton pair
-One thick pair (traditionally wool socks were used, but you can use anything which help make your feet warm)
2. Rinse the thin, cotton pair of socks under cold tap water. Wring out the excess water.
3. Put the cold, wet socks onto your feet.
4. Put the dry, thick socks on over the wet pair.
5. Ideally, this is done before bedtime, but you can take a nap or merely wear them as you are doing something relaxing. Make sure you are sleeping in a warm-cozy bed or under a blanket.
6. Immediately your body will start to warm your feet and it may take several hours, but your body will dry the socks. Circulation will be stimulated and you should start to feel congestion clearing and you will become more relaxed.
7. When you wake up (or after you have rested for several hours), the socks will be warm and dry. If they are not warm or dry after 12-16 hours, contact Dr. Nelson.
8. You can repeat this process as needed. Traditionally, people report repeating the Warming Socks three nights in a row for the most positive results.
NOTE: Some people really dislike the initial application of cold to their feet. If this is the case, you can dip your feet in a tub or footbath of warm water to “pre-heat” your feet before the cool sock application.
Warming socks can be done with children and infants. Other forms of this hydrotherapy have been done with throat compresses and even a Warming T-shirt for chest congestion. There are no complications to warming socks. Best of all, they are inexpensive, as most people have access to socks and water.