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Wet Socks, Garlic Feet, and Onion Ear Muffs? What?!

If you’ve ever struggled with a nasty cold or flu that just knocked you down and lingered far longer than you would have liked, then you have to try some of these amazing, albeit somewhat stinky, naturopathic remedies next time you’re sick! Get ready for some seemingly wacky tips and tricks to help cut your cold & flu time in half!

WET SOCK TREATMENT 

Ok, I know what you’re thinking… “The last thing I want to do when I’m sick is to put wet socks on my already cold feet!” Trust me, if you do this the right way, I promise you will wake up the following morning with the ability to actually breathe through your nose!

Supplies you will need:
Bucket or large bowl
Ice water
A thin pair of cotton socks
A thick pair of wool socks
A warm bath
Towel
Pajamas (ideally long-sleeved & pants)
Sweatshirt

AFTER you have had your dinner, spent time with your family, caught up on your Facebook news feed, have brushed your teeth and are ready to get in bed…

First, get everything ready:
Set out a pair of pajamas for yourself including a shirt, long pants, and a sweatshirt.
Keep your clothes near the bathroom (ideally inside the bathroom) so you can put them on immediately after your bath. Avoid getting chilled.

Now it’s time to get your socks ready!
Fill bucket / bowl with ice water – submerge the pair of cotton socks in the water to ensure they are completely soaked.
Set your pair of wool socks to the side and keep them dry.
Keep both pairs of socks near the bathroom (ideally inside the bathroom) so that you can put them on immediately after your bath. Avoid getting chilled.

Now draw a bath that is on the warm to hot side; you definitely do not want a tepid bath because you actually want to effectively increase your body temperature. That being said, please do use your judgment on the temperature of the bath so as not to injure yourself either. Sit in the bath (do not submerge your head) for about 10-15 minutes, or until you feel like your body temperature is increasing and you start sweating a bit on your forehead. Keep track of your heart rate; if you feel your heart starting to race and you begin feeling lightheaded or faint, it is definitely time to carefully and slowly get out of the bath. So please listen to your body and go by your body’s time, and not the clock time.
Once you exit the bath, stay in the heat of the bathroom while you dry yourself off as best as you can.
Now remove the socks that are in the ice water, ring them out as best as you can (i.e. you definitely do not want them to be sopping or dripping wet), and slip them on your feet. Follow this by putting on the thick, dry wool socks over the wet ones.
Now finish getting dressed and bundle up nice and warm – I like wearing a sweatshirt over my long-sleeved and long pants PJs so I can lock in all of the heat from the bath.
As soon as you’re dressed, jump into bed and get under the covers. Not only will the hydrotherapy soothe and relax you for sleep, but you will wake up in the morning with your sinuses surprisingly clear!

How it works: When you take a hot bath, you are heating your body up, including your feet; the blood vessels in your skin have all dilated and are letting heat out through your pores. However, when you put on a pair of wet, cold socks, the blood vessels in the skin of your feet constrict due to the contrast from hot to cold. Therefore, as you sleep, the blood vessels in your feet will slowly begin to dilate as your body heats your feet back up. Since you have trapped the heat in your feet with thick wool socks, the heat cannot escape and evaporate into the air; therefore, your circulation will eventually reheat your feet back up, drawing the blood and congestion down and away from your head and sinuses, leaving you with dry socks and a clear head in the morning. 

Contraindications: Use with caution in diabetes, Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome, arterial insufficiency or advanced intermittent claudication.

GARLIC FEET

This one can get a little messy and stinky, and can actually burn your skin if you’re not careful! Take 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic and shred / grate it finely. Now slather on a thick layer of petroleum jelly onto the soles of your feet. Apply the grated garlic to the soles of your feet over the petroleum jelly. Why petroleum jelly? Because if the grated garlic juices come into direct contact with your skin, it will burn! Please do not apply it directly to your skin, and no, oil is not enough of a barrier; you definitely want a thick layer of petroleum protecting your skin! Now you can either lightly wrap your feet with cling wrap and then put socks on over this, or you can just put your socks on. Either way, it will get messy and stinky if you sleep with this overnight. Alternatively, if you don’t want to take this mess into bed with you, you can do it before bed and leave it on for an hour or so.

There is really no judgement if you skip this one! I’ve only been able to try it once, and my husband hinted that our sheets might smell like garlic for all of eternity…

How it works: Fresh garlic contains a constituent called allicin, which is responsible for the potent antibacterial and antiviral nature of garlic. However, allicin is spicy and will not only burn your mouth, but it can also burn your skin if you’re not careful! So please do proceed with caution. The reason we apply it to the soles of the feet is because it is one of the easiest locations to apply it to, and because the skin of the feet is thicker than other areas of the body, there is a slow and steady absorption of the allicin that occurs, allowing the blood levels to effectively kill microbes.

For all of you research-lovers out there, it follows the “500 Dalton Rule”, which means that any molecule with a molecular weight of up to 500 Daltons is readily absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. What is the molecular weight of allicin you ask? Well, it is 162.26 g/mol, which is equivalent to 162.26 daltons; therefore, it is being absorbed directly into your bloodstream! 🙂

ONION EAR MUFFS

The next time you or your child gets an ear infection, try this deliciously-smelling naturopathic fashion trend! Peel and cut a medium to large sized onion in half transversely (i.e. perpendicular to the grain), and nuke the halves in the microwave until they start to steam. Now this is important, please be sure not to burn yourself, and gently check the temperature of the onion with the back of your hand or the inside of your wrist. Once the temperature is warm enough to feel tolerable and comfortable, just wrap the half-onion with a cheesecloth or washcloth, and place the flat side over the affected ear and lie down to relax. If you really want to get fashionable, use both halves on both ears and firmly wrap a towel around them to keep them in place; now you’re ready for a runway fashion show in your bedroom!

** Note of Caution: Please keep in mind that onion earmuffs are not intended to replace antibiotic therapy, particularly in children with streptococcal infections of the middle ear! Bacterial infections of the middle ear (i.e. otitis media) in both children and adults can spread to the mastoid bone of the skull, and not only become extremely difficult to cure, but can also lead to permanent deafness! This is why early antibiotic therapy is a must!

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