Can Splashing Water On Your Face Really Make You Feel Better?

If you think of water as the nectar of the gods, we understand why. You drink it and you're instantly refreshed and hydrated. You soak in it and without fail, feel your muscles start to relax. The healing powers of water, both inside and out, are plentiful. But there is one action involving water that has us puzzled. Does splashing water on your face really make you feel better?

We've seen the dramatic scenes in movies and series. When the main character suddenly gets some shocking news, or is feeling overwhelmed. Cut to the next scene and they are dousing their faces with cold water at a bathroom sink. Is this just a Hollywoodized reaction to bad news, or is there something behind this technique used to regroup?

"Submerging your face in cold water is a technique for managing intense emotional arousal," said Liz Kelly, a therapist with mental health platform Talkspace, to Bustle. Sure, a little bird bath by the sink is not quite as subversive as diving into the deep end of a clear blue pool. Or submerging yourself under the salty waves of the ocean. But the calming sensation that comes when the cold water hits your face is soothing no matter what situation you are in. 

Splashing water on your face is a therapy technique associated with TIPP

Robert Glatter, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, tells Elite Daily that splashing cold water on your face is an effective tactic to calm yourself down when you're experiencing anxiety.

So legitimate is this practiced method of calming down that it is actually a promoted therapy technique. Meaghan Rice, a Talkspace practitioner, tells Bustle, "This is one of my most favorite tactics to reroute away from the rabbit hole," she says. "It's part of a spectrum of therapy techniques known as TIPP — temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation — that can help people in moments of intense distress or emotion."

Hollywood may be on to something here. Though arguably, they have glamorized this regrouping technique a bit. We never see the lead characters' makeup start to smear. And somehow, they always have a clean cotton towel readily available to dab away excess water. 

However, if you're ok with factoring all the real life logistics, splashing your face with cold water appears to be worth trying if you ever find yourself in need of a physical or mental cooldown.