Health – Cold Mitten Friction

As we have entered the winter season, it seemed beneficial to share a massage therapy that can be helpful in the prevention and treatment of a number of conditions.

The cold mitten friction is applied to the surface of the body by rubbing a cold wet cloth in a circular motion. It is undoubtedly one of the most effective uses of water in the treatment of disease (hydrotherapy) known for stimulating the circulation of the skin.

Benefits of a cold mitten friction:

  • Produce general tonic for prevention or treatment of common cold and respiratory infections
  • Increase circulation of red blood cells
  • Aid body defenses in increased circulation of white blood cells
  • Increase blood flow to hands and feet
  • Assist heart
  • Prove useful in fighting depression
  • Increase elimination of bacterial toxins
  • Boost the immune system
  • Increase blood vessel tone
  • Enhance energy and endurance
  • Aid in drug addiction withdrawal
  • Step up all body functions

Cold mitten friction is a tonic with no adverse side effects.

Hydrotherapy Cold Mitten Friction

Articles needed:

  1. One or two small rough washcloths or cloth mitten/s (two wash cloths sewn together with opening for hand)
  2. Warm towel for drying; warm towels for covering
  3. Wash basin or sink


  1. Have room warm with no drafts
  2. If feet are cold, use a hot foot bath
  3. Fill washbasin or sink with cold water
  4. Bare one part of the body at a time
  5. Dip rough washcloth or cloth mitten in water and wring almost dry
  6. Rub briskly left forearm, arm, and hand. Dry arm and hand with a warm towel and cover
  7. Briskly rub right forearm, arm, and hand; dry and cover
  8. Rub chest; dry; cover
  9. Add abdomen or trunk; rub briskly; dry; cover
  10. Rub left thigh, leg and foot; dry; cover
  11. Add right thigh, leg and foot; dry; cover
  12. Rub back using an assistant; dry; cover
  • Keeping in mind an individual’s skin type, administer friction with rapid to-and-fro movements for no more than 1 to 1-1/2 minutes
  • Work up to icy water
  • Leave more water on the friction mit with each successive treatment
  • Avoid rubbing skin lesions or painful areas
  • Rest if becoming tired

“The act of rubbing the skin with a cold mechanical pressure gives a physiological response of vigorous and prompt reaction of the blood vessels sufficient to cause this treatment to be dubbed a vascular gymnastic. There is a profound stimulation to the skin. …

“There is scarcely any condition in which the cold mitten friction may not be employed, except that fractured limbs or malignant tumor should be omitted from the treatment.” Agatha M. Thrash, M. D., Preventive Medicine

Those with heart disease, apply cold compresses to the head, neck, and heart before beginning treatment.

“The external application of water is one of the easiest and most satisfactory ways of regulating the circulation of the blood.” The Ministry of Healing, 237

“The more active the circulation the more free from obstructions and impurities will be the blood. The blood nourishes the body. The health of the body depends upon the healthful circulation of the blood.” Healthful Living, 178