TikTok hangover cure is only a short-term trick

Is the viral TikTok hangover cure the real deal? Submerging your face in a bowl of ice water is only a short-term trick- and some doctors warn ‘not to try it at home’

  • A hangover cure shared on TikTok has seen hundreds of people try it
  • It recommends dunking your face in a bowl of ice water for a few seconds
  • Hundreds of users have tried the ‘hack’ and claim it works
  • It triggers a reflex to conserve energy because our brain thinks we are drowning
  • While it alleviates hangover symptoms, it only lasts for a few minutes 

Videos of people submerging their faces in a bowl of ice water to alleviate hangovers are spreading across TikTok like wildfire, but this viral ‘hack’ is not the ultimate cure.

The ‘cure’ is a survival instinct to prevent you from drowning – it drops your heart rate, shuts down nonessential processes and shifts blood flow to conserve energy.

These changes, known as the mammalian diving reflex, reduce the anxiety and nausea you feel after a night of drinking. But the pains come rushing back after your body realizes it is not in danger of drowning.

Dr Karan Raj, an NHS Surgeon, explained mammalian diving in a TikTok video, ending it with ‘do not try this at home,’ which is likely because you may actually drown. 

While many TikTok users praise the hack, others have shared that plunging their face in cold water for a few seconds is not enough to do the trick. 

Dr Chris Jackson (left), a doctor of pharmacy from Austin, Texas, recommended the hangover cure on TikTok, sparking a flood of other videos showing people trying it to get some relief

One TikTok, Jules Rangi, shared her honest review after trying the trick to get rid of a horrible hangover.

After plunging her head into the ice bowl twice, she said the feeling was refreshing.

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‘It is kind of the same feeling as jumping in a pool or going in the ocean,’ she said.

‘You instantly feel refreshed, but I don’t think this is groundbreaking. I’m just going to have a cold shower.

And Jeni Rodriguez felt more nauseous after doing the ice water bowl trick – more than before she took the plunge. 

The recommendation comes from Dr Chris Jackson, a doctor of a pharmacy from Austin, Texas, who went viral on TikTok after sharing the trick to get rid of the post-alcohol illness.

Many users have tried the ice bowl hack, but they are going off the relief they feel during their no more than one-minute clip – none have shared how long the ‘cure’ lasts.

Joris Verster, Ph.D., founder of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group and principal investigator at the Division of Pharmacology at Utrecht University, told Men’s Health: ‘There is no scientific evidence supporting that this method will be effective or safe. Currently there are no proven effective and safe hangover treatments.

‘The best way to prevent hangovers is to moderate alcohol consumption.’

Scientists have long been aware that aquatic mammals, such as whales, dolphins, and seals, can override basic homeostatic reflexes. 

These reflexes keep an organism in optimal functioning to survive for long periods underwater.  

Raj’s TikTok video explaining the mammalian diving reflex shows himself plunging his face into a bowl of ice water and then explaining the science behind it.

‘The body redirects blood to vital organs to conserve energy and oxygen, allowing an extended submersion,’ Raj said in the short clip.

When you plant your face in the water, sensory receptors in the nostrils and face translate it as you are drowning.

Mammalian diving reflex! #science #biology #humanbody #weirdfacts #funfacts #medicalfacts #weird #factoftheday #anatomy #nurse #doctor #didyouknow

Dr Karan Raj (pictured), an NHS Surgeon, explained mammalian diving in a TikTok video, ending it with ‘do not try this at home,’ which is likely because you may actually drown


One TikTok, Jules Rangi, shared her honest review after trying the trick to get rid of a horrible hangover. After plunging her head into the ice bowl twice, she said the feeling was refreshing

The receptors quickly send this information to your brain, which then restricts blood flow throughout the body.

This slows your heart rate and shuts down nonessential processes. 

And while Raj recommends not trying the ‘cure’ at home, Jackson appears to urge people to give it a go.

Captioning the video, ‘If you didn’t prepare your body for a night of drinking, this might be the solution for you,’ Jackson explained why ice water is more beneficial than you may think. 

‘Submerging your face in ice-cold water is going to activate the diver’s reflex.

Trying out the ice water bowl hack for hangovers 🙁 #hangovercure #hangover #icewaterbowl

Jeni Rodriguez felt more nauseous after doing the ice water bowl trick – more than before she took the plunge

‘This turns on the part of your brain that’s responsible for digestion, which might help with nausea.’

He added that you should be keeping you face in the water for ’10 to 15 seconds’ and dunking you face ‘three times.’

Jackson added it’s a ‘low key solution’ that ‘helps with migraines, anxiety, hangovers,’ and, according to the health expert, ‘it works wonders.’ 

Joris Verster, Ph.D., founder of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group and principal investigator at the Division of Pharmacology at Utrecht University, told Men’s Health: ‘There is no scientific evidence supporting that this method will be effective or safe. 

‘Currently there are no proven effective and safe hangover treatments.

‘The best way to prevent hangovers is to moderate alcohol consumption.’ 

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