On a good day, we are 70% water.
When we drink our body’s minimal water requirements, we are 70% water. However, most of us float around in life on about 50% water, which is 20% less than optimal. This is astounding, considering how critical water is for our survival. Water is not passive, but an important part of our internal biochemistry. Water gives shape and stability to our cells, initiates life-promoting chemical reactions, facilitates the breakdown of food for absorption and assimilation, and maintains the delicate balance of our blood viscosity to facilitate transport and exchanges into the deepest levels of our tissues
It is not only the internal ingestion of water that offers benefits. Since ancient times, water has been used in external application to restore, maintain, or regulate physical well-being, practices known collectively as hydrotherapy. This has been done for centuries. There are Russian banyas, Turkish hammams, Korean jjimjilbangs, Japanese sentos, and Native American sweat lodges; all using water in various forms, such as soaks, steams, wraps, saunas, and plunges, as an elemental way to nourish the body.
Many hydrotherapy methods require traveling to a distant location, such as a remote hot spring, or paying to stay in a luxurious spa. But, there is one effective, mostly overlooked, hydrotherapy practice that is simply applied from the confines of your own home: the wet socks method.
The Wet Socks Method
The wet socks method is perhaps one of the strangest practices I have stumbled across, but though initially apprehensive, I have since come to find it a regular part of my wintertime support regime. The wet socks method is a folk remedy used in the cooler months of the year to increase lymphatic and blood vessel circulation. It supports healthy immunity, and is especially useful for common wintertime ailments, such as colds, sore throats, headaches, or lung conditions. It can also induce a deeper slumber, which I can attest to.
The wet socks method involves soaking a pair of cotton socks in very cold water, wringing it out, then, freezing the wet cotton socks for a couple of minutes before placing them on your feet! This may sounds crazy, but hear me out. The cold, wet socks are promptly covered with a larger, thick, dry, wool pair of socks. As you might imagine, this is generally done before bed, so as not to stand on your (now) soggy feet. In some cases, a person may choose to soak their socks in a peppermint ice tea or ginger ice tea, to reap the benefits of the volatile oils along with the wet socks’ benefits.
The Reason for this Madness
The reason for this “madness” has to do with a natural circulatory process: When your feet get cold, the body will prompt your heart to beat blood steadily down to the cool area, to heat it with warm, nutritive blood. It does this through stimulating vasoconstriction, or the contraction and tightening of the blood vessels, followed by vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels. Running alongside each blood vessel is a lymphatic vessel. Unlike blood vessels that bring nutrients to tissues, lymphatic vessels are responsible for moving all the unwanted cellular debris away from tissues.
The debris is brought to lymph nodes or other areas of the body where it can be filtered by your immune system and removed from the body. Lymphatic vessels don’t have the ability to pump all this cellular “trash” out on their own, needing the movement and force of the blood vessels to stimulate them into action. So, as the blood vessels are opening and closing, pushing warmth and nutrients to the tissues, they simultaneously push cellular debris out through the lymphatic system.
Water may be one of the most underestimated, underappreciated medicines of our modern time, a precious resource that is worthy of conservation, respect, and use as a time-honored support for our bodies, in sickness and health.
The Wet Socks Method: Tulsi Peppermint-Infused
• 2 ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi Peppermint Tea bags
• 1 pair cotton socks
• 1 pair wool socks
- Boil 2 cups of water.
- Place 2 ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi Peppermint Tea bags into water and let steep.
- Once brewed, pour the tea into a bowl, jar, or other glass container, then place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Once cooled, take out of the refrigerator and soak the pair of cotton socks in the cold tea.
- Optional: After soaking in the cold tea, you can place in your freezer for a few minutes if you would like an extremely cold pair of socks.
- If your feet are not warm already, warm your feet in warm bath.
- Ring the cotton socks out completely and put on your feet.
- Put your dry, wool socks on over the cotton socks. Make sure the dry, wool socks completely cover the wet, cotton socks.
- Head to bed. In the morning, your socks will be dry!
About the Author
Andrea Rossi, CNTP
Andrea is a food justice activist, feminist, alternative health media producer, community organizer, certified nutrition therapy practitioner, and “moments embosser” (those who make regular moments pop). She was home schooled until high school, of which she attributes her insatiable curiosity, out-of-the-box-approach, and general poor taste in clothes. She loves meeting new people, especially the unapologetic beautiful weirdos, and has decided that her next professional calling is to write a sexual health rock opera, coming to a stage near you. Andrea currently works too many jobs, but they share one common mission: bringing people she knows, and those she still has yet to meet, dignity, joy, and love through food and community.