The Effect of Washing Face with Different Water of Temperature on Heart Rates Essay

The Effect of Washing Face with Different Water of Temperature on Heart Rates


Water immersion is found out to be an efficient method for “increasing parasympathetic activity and lowering sympathetic tone at rest as inferred from heart rate variability measures” (Miyamoto et al.). When I was back in China, I often felt nervous about taking the test. My grandparents told me that washing face with water could help to relieve stress and tension, which worked well for me every time. In this experiment, I would like to try to find out whether washing face can reduce young people’s heart rates when they are not in the stressful situation. And if so, does this result relate to the temperature of water? In order to find out the answers to these questions, I will set up an experiment with the following steps to do the research. 


Materials and Methods:

In general, this research project would take place on scheduled appointment dates with 20 subjects throughout this semester. The subjects’ ages range 18-24 years old. I would finish collecting all subjects’ data in two week period. In order to complete collecting data in time, all subjects would be assigned to heart rate test in separate dates. I would ask subjects to come to my apartment to test their heart rates. Each subject would take the same heart rates test using the same procedures, which are explained below, and using the same portable heart rate monitor. I bought the monitor from Target, and its model is OxyWatch C29 (manufactured by the company ChioceMMed). I would ask each subject to test his/her normal heart rates by using the portable auto-monitor before beginning the experiment. After a subject puts the heart rate monitor on his/her fingertips, I would start recording his/her heart rate every 20 seconds in 1 minute, and calculating his/her average normal heart rate. All subjects would have their own average and normal heart rates. These normal heart rates could be used as standard values. Before continuing doing the temperature, each subject would have to take a 5 minutes rest after measuring his/her normal heart rate. 

The next step would require each subject using a towel to wipe his/her face by using 1) room temperature water (about 23 degrees), 2) ice water and 3) warm (close to 40 degrees) water in 3 parts. In part 1, each subject would have to use a towel to wipe his/her face for 2 minutes by using room temperature water (~23 degree C) in the bowl that I would have already prepared and measured before the experiment. I would use a thermometer to measure the water temperature in the bowl to make sure that it would be nearly 23 degree C by adding hot water or ice to if needed. After having helped the subject to wash his/her face, he/she would have to stand upright (because bending over to wash one’s face may affect a heart rate) to use a towel that I would have already dipped in the bowl of water. The subject would wipe his/her face 12 times in 2 minutes. After the subject put the towel on his/her face, I would start the timer and record the data after the initial 20 seconds, such as the subject’s heart rate 6 times in 120 seconds, as well as the average rate in different temperatures for each subject. After the subject finishes testing his/her heart rate, he/she would have to take a 5 minutes rest before doing the next part of the experiment. For testing subject’s heart rates in part 2 (ice water) and part 3 (warm water), I would use the same method to control the water temperature in the bowl to be close to the desired temperature ranges. Each subject repeat the procedure with all three different temperatures as described above but in random orders, so that they would not all have to do the three temperature tests the in same order. 

After collecting all the results, I would compare each subject’s heart rate after wiping water on face with each subject’s standard heart rate (normal heart rate) in order to see whether patting water on face can reduce young people’s heart rates or not. I would also find out whether different temperatures of water could affect young people’s heart rates. 


By looking at the Figure 1, one can see that the blue marked line represents the normal heart rate of the average of all 20 subjects, which in this case is used as a standard value to compare it with the other variables. 

The red marked line represents the heart rate being measured at ice water conditions, the heart rates of the subjects which decreased after washing a face for the first 20 second, and reached the lowest heart rates at washing face at 40 seconds. From 40 to 60 seconds, the rates increased by a tiny portion. From 60 to 120s, there is a trend of increasing the heart rates, which remains unchanged until 100 seconds. After reaching 120 seconds, the subjects’ heart rates increased but were still lower than the normal heart rates. 

The green marked line represents the heart rate being measured at room temperature water (~23 degree C). The overall the heart rates decreased compared to the normal ones, but were higher than after washing face in ice water. It reached the lowest heart rates at this temperature when washing face between 60 to 80 seconds. 

The purple marked line represents the heart rate of subject when washing face at 40 degree C water. From the graph, one can observe that after washing the face for 20 seconds, the subject had the highest heart rate compared to the other 2 variables. After the following 20 seconds, the heart rates of the subjects slow down approaching the standard line. 

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Overall, washing face in cool water (both ice and room temperature) had the reverse effect of warm water because it lowered heart rate of subjects, but the magnitude of room temperature water’s impact on heart rate is not nearly as great as ice and warm water. 


In my experiment, the results shown in the Figure 1 are based on washing the face with 23 degree C and ice water, which are considered "cold water," have lower average heart rates than the standard one, which is similar to the results of the experiment related to the diving reflex. In the Table 1 of the “Simulated Diving With and Without Breath Holding” experiment, an individual subject in both “IB0” (0°C) and “IB18”(18°C) conditions had the lower heart rate at the “maximal (M) response” compared to the individual’s “baseline(B)” heart rate (Duprez et al.). However, from my results, it can be concluded that washing face with water decreases heartbeat basing on the range of temperatures, since the 40 °C group's heart rate is higher than the standard heart rate of the subjects. In addition, I do not know the range of the temperatures that would satisfy the condition of the diving reflex. The only thing in this aspect is that 23 °C and ice water within this range. Beyond the diving reflex, I found that as the temperature rises, the average heart rate increases over some period. For 40 °C, the reason may because of a blood pressure decrease, which results in an increase of the heart rate. According to the Table 2 in “Thermoregulatory Responses to Repeated Warm Water Immersion in Subjects Who Are Paraplegic,” the “AB group,” which contains “able-ability” men who have approximately 67 heart rate per min at rest with 6 error, after immersion their heart rate rise to 104 per min with 7 error. The data is taken from the pre-test. Even though this experiment is based on the method that “people immersed to the nipple line in 39 degree water for 60 min for 5 consecutive days,” the data still points out that warm water immersion would increase heart rate (Gass, and Gass).

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