Photo: John Fisher

Fighting a winter cold? Try the Magic Socks!

You know the feeling — you notice all of a sudden you’ve got a scratchy throat, maybe a few sniffles or a throbbing sinus headache.  A cold is on its way. Not what you need during the holidays! Well, this weird technique might just shorten that cold.

If you’ve got a small kid like I do (an active 5-year-old boy who spends a lot of time in close contact with his pals,) the timeline is pretty predictable, and usually unavoidable: He picks up a bug from any number of his Pre-K classmates. He comes home and coughs in your face a few dozen times, and the next thing you know, you’re reaching for the Vitamin C and the echinacea tea.

A lot of people say there’s really no cure for the common cold; you just have to ride it out and let it run its course. But is there anything you can do to minimize the effects and speed your recovery? Some naturopathic doctors recommend a strange but possibly effective solution called the wet socks treatment, also known as . . . . The Magic Socks.

As described on the holistic wellness site mindbodygreen, here are the instructions:

1. Just before bed, put your feet in hot water for 3 minutes. You can place them in the bath tub under running water. The water should be as hot as you can handle it without burning your skin.

2. Wet 1 pair of thin, cotton anklets in cold water. Wring out well and put on immediately after hot foot bath. he water should be as cold as you can handle it. (Remember, your feet are very warm so the cold will feel OK)

Photo: John Fisher
Photo: John Fisher

3. Put on 1 pair of heavy wool socks over the ankles and climb into bed. (I’m not going to lie — I couldn’t find any in my sock drawer, so I borrowed these from my wife!)

Photo: John Fisher
Photo: John Fisher

4. Cover well and sleep all night with socks on. Don’t remove socks until they’re dry.

5. Stay away from dairy and sugar, and drink plenty of water. Then notice how much more quickly you feel better when you use the wet sock treatment!

Why does this work? According to mindbodygreen:

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.

I know it sounds bizarre, and I’m usually skeptical of any medical procedure that starts with the word “magic,” but I honestly think it shortens the duration of a cold, and lessens the severity of the symptoms. Besides, around this time of year, who wants to be sick? That egg nog’s not going to drink itself!

See the full story at mindbodygreen.


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