This TikTok Trend Is Claiming To Cure Hangovers

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TIKTOK IS BACK with another life hack.

A new clip is going viral for proclaiming it has found the “cure” for hangovers…by sticking your face in a bowl of ice water for as long as you possibly can.

With over 4 million views, this cold plunge for your face has plenty of people talking and trying it out. But have we actually found a cure for Sunday morning’s most predictable problem?

The “cure” everyone is raving about is actually the effects of the mammalian diving reflex.

We can thank our reflexes for helping us pull our hand off a hot pan before we give ourselves third degree burns, or for jumping our muscles into play to stabilize us when we fall off a curb.

In this case, the diving reflex happens when we are submerged under water, or when cold water is applied to the face. Physiologically, our body conserves energy to ensure survival by shutting down certain functioning. Basically, it’s our body’s emergency response team making sure we don’t drown.

Processes that are not essential, such as digestion, stop in order to conserve oxygen for more vital organs, like our brain and heart. Our heart rates decrease to minimize the flow of blood to the less important pieces of our body, like our reproductive and gastrointestinal organs. Interestingly, some of these organs can last for days without oxygen (part of the reason why we can do organ transplants). Our brain, however, cannot.

After a heavy night of drinking, you’re probably battling a hefty bout of nausea and hang-xiety (that’s hangover anxiety, in case you haven’t had to endure it). When you stick your face in cold water, as in the TikTok video, processes that cause those torturous hangover symptoms are inhibited.

Since your digestion slows down, you may feel less nauseous after the face bath. And with your heart rate decreasing to limit blood flow, you may feel like your anxiety is lightening.

But “cure” is a strong word. These effects may help, but probably only in the short-term.

“There is no scientific evidence supporting that this method will be effective or safe. Currently there are no proven effective and safe hangover treatments,” says Joris Verster, Ph.D., founder of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group and principal investigator at the Division of Pharmacology at Utrecht University. “The best way to prevent hangovers is to moderate alcohol consumption.”

If you weren’t able to follow that advice, you might as well stick to your sure-fire hangover remedy. But no need to add ice.

Headshot of Cori Ritchey

Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.

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