TikTok is convinced submerging your face in ice water can help ease anxiety and cure hangovers

Whether you struggle with a diagnosed anxiety disorder or are just finding that your general stress levels are spiralling with the growing cost of living, constant work demands and the intensity of living on planet earth these days, there’s no denying that the number of people battling with their mental health is risen exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic and beyond. 

Of course there’s talking therapy and all sorts of alternative options like acupuncture, tapping and breathwork, but it can be hard to a) find the time, b) find the money and c) find the physical space in your home where you’ll be undisturbed by noise, pets, partners or the constant pinging of emails. Which is likely just one of the reasons why sticking your face in a bowl of iced water in order to help calm anxiety has risen to the fore. That, and the fact that trends like this are quick to spread on TikTok

And it’s the latter where we first found out about the suggestion that submerging your face in a bowl of ice for just a few moments each day can help prevent panic attacks, soothe a spiralling mind and deescalate that ominous feeling of adrenaline pumping through your body. 

Just take a look at this video from @yung_kelllz, who is known for uploading health & wellness videos to her 10,000 followers. Titled “nervous system regulation,” the clip shows her filling a bowl with ice, topping up with water and then submerging her face. “I try to keep my head under for around 10-15 seconds each time,” she explains. “This time I did four rounds.”

TikTok content

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And Kellz isn’t the only person who has come to rely on the method to help ease her nervous system and boost her mental health

Sonya Barlow, founder of @LMFnetwork, Author & BBC Presenter, has struggled with her own anxiety for much of her adult life:  “I have suffered from chronic migraines for 7 years and general anxiety all of my life, with symptoms starting around GCSEs.”

And found various aspects of day-to-day life only exacerbated things: “Due to my high energy levels, generally, workplaces and people have historically not believed me, which has made my symptoms worse so running a business means that I can manage my symptoms, calendar and health.”

She first found information online suggesting that immersing your face in cold water helps to relieve stress and anxiety and has been using it as a method of regulation ever since. 

“I have been placing my face in cold water or ice water since I was in secondary school, and now I have cold showers every other day,” she says. “I am not a confident swimmer, so rushing into cold water of any kind can be scary in itself but I have found it to support my symptoms and gives me the control I need in that moment.”

She explains that using the ice bowl method has helped to lessen her anxiety, refresh her energy and has also been helpful in supporting migraine relief. Some TikTokkers are even convinced it’s a genius way of curing their hangovers.