Often used as a method for reducing fevers in adults and children, Wet Sheet Wrap is a form of hydrotherapy that has many uses in natural medicine. Also known as “Spanish Mantel” or “Magic Carpet” (as children like to call it), Wet Sheet Wrap may be used to help elevate the body’s natural detoxification process. The primary physiological effect that takes place during Wet Sheet Wrap is an increase in circulation throughout the body. The increase in circulation has many health benefits:
- induces sweating which flushes out toxins through the skin
- facilitates the movement of nutrients into cells and tissues
- stimulates an immune response that can last 24-36 hours
Additionally, increased circulation and the dilation of blood vessels help reduce inflammation in tissues (which research shows is an underlying factor in many illnesses).
In addition to fever, Wet Sheet Wrap may be useful during a flare of certain chronic illnesses, after an injury, or following surgery-under appropriate medical guidance. The same approach is used in all situations.
How to Perform Wet Sheet Wrap at Home
It is helpful to have an assistant available to help with applying and removing the sheets.
A full-body wrap is used.
- Place a plastic covering over surfaces where the person will lay down (“the sweat site”) to protect surfaces from getting wet. This can be a bed, couch, or on a floor.
- Have 2-3 pillows ready to use. One for the head and a small one for under the knees. A waterproof pillowcase is ideal. An extra bath towel is helpful to have on hand.
Application of Wet Sheet Therapy
- Pre-warm the body by having the person take a hot shower, sit in a warm bathtub, sauna, or steam room. They should be sufficiently warm from shoulders to toes. This process may take 10-20 minutes depending on what you use. Soak a cotton sheet in ice cold water. When time is up in the bath, wring out the sheet.
- Quickly wrap the person in the sheet from shoulders to toes like a mummy (excluding the head). Do not delay; you don’t want them to get chilled.
- Wrap in a wool blanket (at least one, two is ideal, or use a sleeping bag).
- Use the bath towel to cover the person’s head so only their face shows.
- Help the person into a comfortable position.
- Maintain the sheet wrap therapy for 30 minutes; they may or may not be sweating at this point. It may take a few times of doing a Wet Sheet Wrap before a person begins sweating at the 30 min mark. You may continue for up to 2 hours, checking on the person every 15 minutes.
- If the person is not sweating after 30 minutes, begin the process in the bath again (re-warm the water to the same temperature as above).
Seek emergency care immediately if you are unable to manage a fever, if there is nausea, or if the person is unable to remain attentive and engage with you during treatment.
Mooventhan, A., and L. Nivethitha. “Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body.” North American Journal of Medical Sciences 6, no. 5 (May 2014): 199–209. https://doi.org/10.4103/1947-2714.132935
Medicine Talk Professional. Clinical Resources and Patient Handout. Eli Camp, ND.