Cold Cures Looking For A Better Cough Cure? Try Rubbing Vicks VapoRub On Your FEET

More and more Vicks VapoRub fans are claiming the ointment cures a cough better when rubbed on the feet rather than on the chest as the company suggests.

Rub Vicks VapoRub On Your Feet For A Better Cough Cure

There’s no doubt most of us have faint memories of our moms gently rubbing Vicks VapoRub onto our chests to help cure a cough or cold. The aromatic ointment has been used for decades to help relieve congestion and coughing issues in both children and adults alike. But it seems there’s a better way to use Vicks than the method we’re all used to. More and more enthusiasts of the product are claiming that rubbing Vicks on your feet rather than on your chest is a more effective cough cure and treatment for other cold symptoms. 

Is Rubbing Vicks On Your Feet Really Better?

Procter and Gamble, the company that manufactures Vicks VapoRub, recommends that the healing ointment be rubbed lightly on the chest and back for optimal results. However, social media sites and internet message boards are brimming with claims that applying Vicks VapoRub to the soles of the feet and covering the balmed-up tootsies with socks before going to bed is a much more effective way to fight a cough. 

No evidence has shown that the foot Vicks method works any better, but millions of people are buzzing about the “modern” way to apply the balm, nonetheless. And their thinking isn’t totally out of left field; many alternative and complementary medicine practices such as acupuncture and reflexology are based around the belief that certain points on the feet are directly linked to other parts of the body and can offer therapeutic effects throughout a person’s system when stimulated. For example, reflexologists believe that applying pressure to reflexology points located on the ball of the foot can help alleviate problems and illnesses that affect a person’s chest — a cough being a good example. 



A photo posted by Leanne Stedman (@leannested) on


Another common belief regarding the healing powers of the feet is the idea that placing slices of raw onions in your socks can help cure illnesses. The thought behind the old wives tale is that the onion absorbs toxins and disease from the body. 

READ MORE: Can Placing Onions In Your Socks Really Cure Illnesses, Or Is All Just A Myth?

But perhaps the practice most in line with the Vicks on feet method is aromatherapy foot massage. This massage technique involves rubbing aromatic essential oils all over the soles of the feet, which is believed to help treat a number of illnesses and diseases. Vicks VapoRub contains camphor — an essential oil extracted from trees that is said to calm coughs — and eucalyptus oil, which has antibacterial effects and is often used as a decongestant. Therefore, rubbing the aromatic ointment on the feet somewhat mimics an aromatherapy foot massage, which relieves stress and therefore may be quite effective at helping relieve a cough. 

What Procter And Gamble Says
 About The Foot Method

With more and more people touting the benefits of rubbing Vicks VapoRub on the feet, Procter and Gamble released a statement that reads: “[Applying Vicks VapoRub to the feet] is not in line with what the product is for so we would not endorse it being used in this way.”

Vicks was invented in the 1890s by North Carolina pharmacist Lunsford Richardson, who later named it Vick’s Magic Croup Salve after his brother-in-law, Dr. Joshua Vick. In 1912, the formula was rebranded to Vicks VapoRub we know and use today.

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Kambra Clifford