Jun 24, 2010
- Know Your Body's Cooling Spots
You've probably heard that you can pour water over your wrists or neck to cool off quickly, but we've got the lowdown on all the body's best cooling spots, as well as the most effective ways to use them.
The reason this remedy works is because your wrist and neck both contain pulse points—essentially, areas where you can feel your pulse because your blood vessels are close to the surface of your skin. Because they are so close, however, you can also cool off your blood and body temperature by getting the area in contact with cool water.
However, your neck and wrists are not the only pulse points on your body (though your neck is arguably one of the most effective). The insides of your elbows and knees are two other common pressure points, as well as the tops of your feet and insides of your ankle (near the area where your ankle bone sticks out). There's also a pulse point on your inner thighs. And, while the forehead is commonly used as a cooling spot, the pulse point on your head is actually closer to your temple and the area just in front of your ear. There are a few more, of course, but these are the most convenient for the purpose of cooling yourself.
Obviously, not all of these pulse points are going to be convenient to cool down all the time. There are a number of different ways you can go about cooling them down, and you'll need to use the ones most convenient to you at the time. For example, if you're out exercising in the heat, wrapping a damp bandanna (or better yet, a specialized homemade cooling scarf) around your wrist, elbow, or neck (when you can) is an easy way to keep cool.
If you're just sitting on the couch in a hot box of an apartment, though, you'll be able to take advantage of your feet, ankles, knees, or thighs in addition to the others. If you're not moving around, you can use the other popular method of using ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, rather than just a wet bandanna. Some recommend putting the towel-wrapped ice on your pulse points for a minute at a time, but there isn't a ton of consensus on the subject—just do what feels comfortable for you, and make sure it's "cool" and not cold. Don't use just ice; make sure it's wrapped in a towel or something similar (the same rules apply to the water-soaked scarf as well; cool, not cold).
Keep in mind this isn't necessarily the end-all, be-all of cooling techniques. Attacking your pulse points should cool you off slightly (depending on your situation), but don't expect it to be a 100 percent cure for the heat. Make sure you're still doing everything you can to keep cool, like running your air conditioner if you can, finding a comfortable, air-conditioned space, trying alternatives to air conditioners, generating less heat in your living space, and, of course, staying hydrated and out of the hot, beating sun.