Social media (TikTok, specifically) is chock-full of hacks for actually every part. Some are completely bizarre and ineffective. Some will not be beneficial by consultants and ought to be averted (cough cough, dangerous skin-care hacks). And others are genuinely fairly useful. Living proof: submerging your face in ice water.
This random—albeit refreshing—method helps relieve nervousness by activating the physique’s mammalian diving reflex. And, in accordance with the web, it could actually additionally assist relieve nausea and hangovers. Learn on to be taught extra about it and learn how to attempt the ice water trick for your self.
What’s the mammalian diving reflex?
The diving reflex consists of respiration cessation (apnea), a dramatic slowing of coronary heart price (bradycardia), and a rise in peripheral vasoconstriction, explains Judy Ho, PhD, a medical and forensic neuropsychologist. “When activated in emergency conditions the place an individual would possibly drown, it’s thought to preserve important oxygen shops and keep life by redirecting exercise to the 2 organs most important for all times—the guts and mind,” she provides. In different phrases, the physique physiologically responds to chilly water submersion by stopping your respiration and slowing down your coronary heart price to preserve vitality for survival.
That stated, when utilizing this hack as a coping method, Dr. Ho emphasizes that the aim is not to considerably cease your respiration or decrease your coronary heart price. As a substitute, transient experiences with chilly water or chilly objects, notably when the chilly hits the face and nostril, sends a message to the vagus nerve, which manages the parasympathetic nervous system referred to as the remainder and leisure system.
“When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it regulates and slows down your coronary heart price and respiration and results in an general feeling of calm for many individuals,” Dr. Ho explains. “It additionally alerts to your mind and physique that there isn’t a emergency occurring right here and due to this fact lets you calm down and reset from a worrying scenario.”
The very best a part of this coping method is that it’s very straightforward to do—all you want is a bowl, water, and ice. And, Dr. Ho says it really works inside seconds to minutes to assist calm you down. Preserve scrolling to learn to do it.
How you can activate the diving reflux with ice water
The directions are fairly easy: Begin by filling a bowl (ideally one that may suit your whole face) with water and ice. Then submerge your face within the ice water for 10–15 seconds. Repeat as wanted. Most significantly, be mild with your self. “Don’t submerge your self to the purpose the place you are feeling like you may’t breathe or are choking,” Dr. Ho says.
If submerging your face in ice water doesn’t really feel comfy or if it’s simply not sensible to do on the time (like if you happen to’re out and about), there are different methods to activate the diving reflex. Dr. Ho recommends inserting a small baggie with ice cubes or an ice-cold towel in your face. Splashing chilly water in your face may even do the trick. Or higher but, take a chilly bathe. And if you happen to’re in a pinch, rubbing ice cubes in your wrists and temples may also convey some reduction.
Dr. Ho suggests utilizing this system everytime you really feel overwhelmed, beneath excessive stress, or really feel nervousness, or a panic assault creating. And even if you happen to’re not feeling notably pressured or anxious, she provides that it may be a pleasant little self-care deal with in the course of a busy day.
One other factor to notice: Though this trick may help most individuals really feel higher, some people ought to take precautions or keep away from it altogether. Particularly, Dr. Ho says when you’ve got a coronary heart dysfunction (or a household historical past of coronary heart circumstances), low coronary heart price on account of medicine, issue respiration, a phobia of water, or different main medical issues, seek the advice of with a medical skilled first earlier than making an attempt this system for your self.