Heat wave hack: Cool your body in seconds using your pulse points

Hydration is essential for avoiding heat stress, but when summer fun hits, it can be easy to overheat despite our best efforts. Luckily, there’s a handy trick that can help quickly cool your body when the heat gets the best of you. The secret is applying something cold to pulse points. This simple technique can do wonders to lower body temperature quickly when you're feeling overheated, have a fever, or experiencing a heat-related illness. These pulse points are your body's “cooling spots” and they're like little built-in air conditioners. In these areas, blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin. When cold is applied, the blood vessels constrict, reducing blood flow and providing instant relief from heat-related discomfort. Here’s a rundown of where to find those cooling spots and how to quickly cool down your body using pulse points.

Watch the video above to learn how to quickly cool down your body using pulse points.

How to cool body down using pulse points

  • Find a pulse point on your body. Your body’s pulse points include:

    • The carotid artery in the neck.

    • The radial artery on the thumb side of the wrist.

    • The popliteal artery behind the knee.

    • The femoral artery in the groin, just above the crease where the thigh meets the abdomen.

    • The brachial artery, inside the elbow where the bicep meets the forearm.

    • The temporal artery on the side of the head, just above the temple. 

    • The dorsalis pedis artery on the top of the foot.

    • The posterior tibial artery on the inner ankle.

  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack to one or all of the pulse points for 10-15 minutes. For best results, apply the cold compress or ice pack directly to the skin. If applying directly to the skin is uncomfortably cold, wrap the cold compress or ice pack in a towel to protect the skin.

  • You can also run cool water over the pulse points or take a cool shower. If taking a cold shower, start with your feet and work your way up to your head. This allows you to gradually acclimate your body to the cold water, which can help to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure.

    • Avoid taking a cold shower if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure. The cold water can constrict the blood vessels, which can lead to a decrease in blood flow to the heart.

  • If feeling lightheaded or dizzy, simply stop and rest.

Heat stroke prevention tips

To prevent heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, it's important to know how to prepare your body for hot weather. Here are some additional tips to stay cool and avoid heat stroke when the weather's hot.

  • Stay cool from the inside out and drink plenty of fluids, which could include electrolyte-rich beverages.

  • Make a DIY cooling mist by filling a spray bottle with water and a few drops of refreshing essential oil like peppermint or eucalyptus. Spritz it on your face or body for an instant cooling sensation.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.

  • Practice deep breathing exercises, like inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, to activate your body's natural cooling response.

  • When the weather's hot, choose a cool, shaded, well-ventilated environment.

  • Limit physical activity.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to quickly cool down your body using pulse points