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A character is given a hot foot bath as a treatment for either being cold or having a cold, which will be treated as the same thing. Very common in cartoons.
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This practice is derived from hydrotherapy, which was popular in the 19th century, and remains so in alternative medicine circles. As such, this trope is related to Healing Spring, although it's performed with ordinary heated water, occasionally with mustard powder added, rather than some kind of magical water.

Do not try this if you are actually suffering from hypothermia. Warming the extremities first can cause shock.


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Examples:

Comic Books

  • Boule et Bill: One gag sees Boule and Bill walking home through a snow storm, with every person they encounter wishing them good health. The final image depicts the two having caught a cold, and getting a foot bath treatment.
  • In the Futurama comic "A Cure For the Common Clod," Fry is seen on the cover unwell with his feet in a bowl of water.
  • Jan, Jans en de Kinderen: In one comic, Grandpa falls through the ice on a shallow pond when he tries to prove to Catootje and Jeroen that it's safe. Then the two kids also enter the pond so they can later claim they went out on the thin ice first and Grandpa saved them, thus preventing Grandpa from getting in trouble. The final panel shows all three home again, getting a foot bath against the cold, while Jans praises Grandpa for his heroics.
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  • One Superman comic used this in the splash panel. The plot of the story is that a crook wished away Superman's powers, leaving him mortal and vulnerable. The opening panel shows him sneezing while Jimmy Olsen pours hot water into the bucket at his feet.

Film — Animation

  • In Peter Pan, after one of his harrowing encounters with the crocodile, Captain Hook is shown sneezing and groaning from a headache in his captain's quarters. He's wrapped up in a blanket with a hot water bottle on his head and his bare feet in a barrel of water. Smee comes in with a kettle of boiling water to refill the barrel and accidentally pours too much in, scalding his captain.

Film — Live-Action

  • In the Laurel and Hardy short They Go Boom, Ollie is sick with "ammonia." Stan attempts to prepare a foot bath for him, but hijinks ensue.
  • Batman & Robin. During the fight against Mr. Freeze in the museum, Robin gets frozen solid but survives. After the battle, he's seen in Wayne Manor with his feet in a bucket of warm water to help him recover.

Live-Action TV

Music

  • In the 1929 song "I Got a Code in My Doze," the singer has a cold and sings, "I can't sleep, I can't eat, get a pail and soak my feet." This song was most famously performed by Barbra Streisand in Funny Lady, the 1975 sequel to Funny Girl, and by Betty Boop in the cartoon "Betty Boop's Ker-Choo."

Puppet Shows

  • In the Under the Umbrella Tree Christmas special, Iggy gets coated in ice when Jacob accidentally sprays him with the hose while outdoors in freezing weather. Holly thaws him out with a warm blanket and a steaming foot bath.

Western Animation

  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In the Goofy short Cold War, Goofy tries using this method to treat his cold. It makes him too hot, so he turns on a fan, which makes him too cold.
    • At the end of The Grasshopper and the Ants, the ants let the starving and freezing grasshopper into their home. They provide him three buckets of hot water, two for his legs and one for his abdomen.
    • In Lend a Paw, Mickey gives Pluto a foot bath after he saves a kitten from a freezing well.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Putty Tat Trouble concludes with Sylvester the cat and his rival in their respective apartments shivering and sneezing with their feet in washpans of hot water. Both cats had fallen through the ice on a frozen pond, courtesy of Tweety and his trusty ice pick.
    • Referenced in The Unmentionables; as Rocky and Muggsy prepare Cement Shoes for a blindfolded Bugs Bunny, he complains "Look, fellas, how many times do I have to tell ya? I haven't got a cold!"
  • Aladdin: The Series: In the episode "Sneeze the Day," Genie catches a cold, leading to Power Incontinence. At one point, the ailing Genie is briefly shown being treated with a foot bath.
  • The Archie Show: In "Snow Business," hijinks result in Veronica's dad getting covered in snow. In the next scene, he's shivering with his feet in a barrel of heated water.
  • In the Barney Bear short "Polar Pest," the title character is hibernating for the winter when his nephew, a polar bear, shows up. Obviously accustomed to the Arctic, the nephew declares that the house is too hot and starts opening all the windows. Barney frantically attempts to keep the windows closed, but eventually loses the battle. In the next scene, a shivering Barney is giving himself a foot bath while his oblivious nephew begs to be taken ice fishing.
  • The Flintstones: In "Here's Snow in Your Eyes," Wilma and Betty wear swimsuits for a Beauty Contest at a ski resort, and end up catching colds. At the end of the episode, Wilma is shown giving herself a heated foot bath.
  • On The Jetsons episode "Elroy's Pal," Elroy wins a visit from TV superhero "Nimbus the Great." But on the day he is supposed to visit, Nimbus gets sick. He is seen at home with his feet in a foot bath.
  • In the Little Princess episode "I Don't Want a Cold," after recovering from her cold, Princess thinks she's spread it to the adults and gives the General a foot bath, using her (thankfully clean) potty chair as the bowl.
  • Occurs in the animated version of Madeline's Rescue. After being saved from drowning in the river, the title character is shown recovering with a foot bath and an ice pack. (The corresponding scene in the original book does not include the foot bath, but shows her bundled up in bed instead.)
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "Son of Stimpy," after searching for his sentient fart out in the cold, Stimpy returns home encased in a block of ice and is given this treatment.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!:
    • In the episode "Hassle in the Castle," Scooby uses a foot bath (and a blanket) to pretend he's got a cold so he won't have to sniff out the Phantom. Naturally, the others don't fall for it.
    • At the end of another episode, Scooby really does catch a cold and soaks his feet while Shaggy serves him chicken soup - with a live chicken in it.
  • Tom and Jerry: Several of the cat and mouse shorts end up with Tom having nearly drowned (or frozen), and Jerry or someone else soaking his feet in hot water. In the Chuck Jones short "The A-Tom-Inable Snowman", the water is so hot that Tom launches like a rocket.
  • In an episode of Wallace & Gromit, Wallace soaks his feet after being made into a snowman, although he's just cold, not sick.
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