Hydrotherapies for Chest Congestion & Head Cold

Useful Historical Connections with Water


Water therapies in various forms have been used since the beginning of human existence. One of the first mentions of water used in healing the human body is from Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. Hippocrates, considered the ‘Father of Medicine” stressed the value of water, in different temperatures to bring about therapeutic benefits during illness.


A Silesian farmer, after an injury to his ribs used wet cold wrappings, drinking vast amounts of water and rest, was able to repair his injured ribs. He was then able to share his knowledge with people all across the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1821, in Bavaria, Sebastian Kneipp was born weak and frail. After repeated illnesses that were not healed, he started using icy plunges to improve his frail health. In the middle of winter he jumped into a river; from there his health improved and our version of modern day hydrotherapies as we know them, came into being.


Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (think Corn Flakes) in the early 1900’s in the US, also advocated for the benefits of water therapies in his spa and in life.


This painless, yet exceptional usage of water is available to anyone with water at their disposal, even in limited amounts. Water works with each individual's constitution so the benefits are many, yet varied for every person. I know I prefer the cold sock treatment as to the compress on the chest. My son prefers the compress on the chest.


There are many different applications of water to bring about total wellbeing to the body. Some through direct application of water, think of an ice pack on an injury. Other applications are indirect such as the ones listed below - the use of hot and cold to relieve congestion in the head.


Water therapies work directly or indirectly, on a whole or sectioned part of the body, via different formats of water such as, liquid, gas or solid state, and of varying temperatures.


For thousands of years the use of water has been used to bring about natural immunities in our bodies. With the ability that water has to vasodilate and vasoconstrict bringing about different aspects within our body.

  • Increased blood flow for body warmth
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Blood flow is slowed

When this happens in a controlled fashion, our body will respond by adding blood flow or decreasing blood flow to certain areas

These are some of my favorite remedies for chest congestion such as a cough, and for head colds and stuffy sinuses. My son will still ask for this treatment, and he's grown now.


Who knows exactly why water feels so good? Some scientists say it is due to our memories of being in the womb, while others say it is our primordial memories of living in water.



Hydrotherapy for Cough and Chest Congestion, and for Head Colds




Recipe for Cough and Chest Congestion


What you will need:

  1. 2 hand towels
  2. 1 large towel or baby blanket
  3. Sheet/towel
  4. Blankets for plenty of warmth
  5. 1 helper is helpful
  6. Timer

It's time to start

  1. Find the most comfortable place to lie down, a bed or couch is recommended.
  2. Put the sheet down on the couch, if you are in bed then use those sheets. Keep in mind that this treatment is designed to make you sweat, so if you don't want sweat all over your bed sheets or couch then use any additional sheets or towels.
  3. Person with this cough. Start face up, or face down, in comfortable position lying down on your bed our couch.
  4. Having plenty of blankets to ensure you stay very warm. 
  5. Best if done with no clothing on your upper half, bra or bathing suit is OK if required.


For the Helper - what to do?

  • Take one hand towel and get it wet.
  • Wring that towel out.
  • Place in the microwave and make hot - normally about a minute, although this depends on your microwave. Ensure that it is hot but will not burn when placed on the skin. To safely test this, apply to your inner wrist and leave on for a few seconds.
  • Place this towel on the chest or back (in position of lungs) of person lying down. Cover with an extra towel to keep your blankets dry.
  • Wrap person up in sheet and blankets. Ensuring that their neck and shoulders are covered and that they are comfy.
  • Leave for 5 minutes
  • During this time the helper needs to prepare the other hand towel. Prepare this with cold water. Put your towels in cold water or even ice water (your sick person will need to have a stronger constitution in general to be able to handle the ice water). 
  • Wring this towel out.
  • When 5 minutes have passed quickly unwrap the unwell person.
  • Place the cold towel on top of the warm one, and, then quickly flip over. It's like flipping a pancake.
  • Yes, this is cold and a shock to the unwell person! Quickly wrap them up again. This is when we have our blood flow being activated.
  • Leave this on for at least 15 minutes.
  • After 15 or more minutes you will need to feel if this has warmed up. To do this, carefully slide your hand under the cold towel, if the skin is warm, then remove the cold towel, if not then leave on longer and put more blankets on them.


Repeat process on other side:

Head back on up to the beginning of the what to do section.

This routine should take about 30-45 minutes.


OK now let's be real ...

Maybe you don't have a helper.

Just do the treatment by yourself on your chest - even this will help a great deal.


What is happening within your body?

Vasoconstriction and vasodilation (opening and closing of your veins) helps to open up the congested lungs, bringing in more blood flow which helps to clear out congestion, so be prepared to cough out gunk.

You are also meant to sweat, as sweating is a great way to get rid of toxins from your body.


Extra tips and guidance:

  • When you are finished keep yourself warm and dry.
  • You can do this up to two - three times per day.
  • You should feel relief right away, but don't be worried if you don't. Relief coms in the way of reduced cough, coughing up gunk, easier breathing.
  • 3-4 days of this treatment is OK, but be smart and give yourself a chance to heal.
  • If cough persists then please go to a doctor and see what else is wrong. Be proactive towards your whole health.






Natural Way to Relieve a Head Cold



Sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, or neck, pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory, and sinus infections are helped by this treatment.


This treatment acts to reflexively (applying hydrotherapy to one area of the body and affecting another) increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head and throat. It has a sedating action and many people report that they sleep much better during the treatment.

This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.



  1. 1 pair thin cotton socks
  2. 1 pair thick wool socks
  3. Bath towel
  4. Warm bath or warm foot bath (I use my bathroom sink for this stage).


  • Take the pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.
  • Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 10 minutes.
  • Dry off feet and/or body with with a dry towel.
  • Hop directly into bed, all ready to fall asleep.
  • Put the wet cotton socks on your feet.
  • Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed, and avoid getting chilled.
  • Keep both pair of socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.
  • Be ready for your nose and sinuses to clear out.


TIP: Before any of the other processes are begun, lay a bath towel over your sheets. Many times people will sweat (this is a good thing, as it releases more toxins) throughout the night. When you awaken it will be better to have a removable towel set down if you do sweat. Quickly remove the towel and go back to sleep with sinuses that are clearing.


​The wet sock treatment is best if repeated for three nights in a row. 

And, a warning for both of these hydrotherapy treatments! Don't do this wrong or half assed. It will make you feel worse and not be helpful. Please if you have questions ask me. Be safe and talk with your doctor first too, make sure you don't have anything else happening with your overall healthcare.

Let me know how this goes for you :)



Roll some of this onto your chest, both front and back, through your day to bring added warmth wellbeing to the area.

Sip on this tea of immune boosting herbs to ease the severity of any cold you have.

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