3 Wonderfully Weird Ways to Beat the Winter Sniffles Naturally

It's that time of the year again! And no I'm not talking about the festivities of the winter season. I'm talking about the colds, flus, and upper respiratory track infections that seem to come with it.

While you've probably listened as your primary care medical doctor offered you the flu vaccine or saw television commercials for the latest natural blend of echinacea, you've probably never thought of these 3 wonderful and slightly weird ways to beat the cold and flu.

1. Wet Socks or Warming Socks

The wet sock treatment, also called warming sock treatment, is a tried and true holistic health approach to giving the cold and flu the boot!

Naturopathic doctors love this approach because of its simplicity while kids think its magic!

The warming socks treatment is type of hydrotherapy that uses the body's own immune and circulatory system to its advantage.

Hydrotherapy, or the use of water for healing purposes, isn't something new. In fact, it dates all the way back to Ancient Greece and the thermal baths and natural hot springs.

The Ancient Greeks were well aware of the healing attributes of the sulphur filled hot springs surrounding them, which they used to treat skin conditions and muscular and joint pain [1].

But the founder of modern hydrotherapy would have to be Vinzenz Priessnitz (1799-1851), a Silesian (now part of Poland) farmer turned physician [2]. He developed a system of treatment using water after he observed hurt animals dipping their limbs into water to accelerate the healing process.

He began to apply this water healing system to his own injuries and then to patients in his area. He eventually added diet and physical activity into his regimen and developed a clinic in Austria.

He became famous due to his success rate in treating the diseases of his day.

Out of this history comes the warming socks application.

So what is warming socks?

Warming socks is a hydrotherapy treatment that uses cool water to activate the body's immune and circulatory systems.

Cold water hydrotherapy has been shown to increase the number and activity of white blood cells as well as interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine necessary for the immune response [3].

Increasing white blood cell number and activity increases immune system function which causes a more vigorous response to help get rid of those nasty cold and flu viruses.

Warming socks hydrotherapy also induces vasodilation of deeper vasculature in the body to maintain the body's normal temperature. In other words, when cool wet socks are placed on your feet, your body automatically compensates by increasing blood flow to the surrounding area.

An increase in circulation and immune system function give the cold and flu a heavy hit.

So how is the warming socks therapy done?

After a very warm (thinking soothing not lukewarm or scalding hot) foot bath, take socks that have been dipped in chilly water, wring them out, and place on your feet.