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7 Top Tips For Banishing Hiccups (You’ll Surely Need To Use One Of These Sometime!)
Hiccups are definitely up there on the list of the most annoying and inconvenient phenomenon known to man. What’s worse is that they always start just when you really don’t need them, right?! Like when you’re about to say something particularly important or crack the amazing punchline to your favorite joke. It can feel like hiccups are impossible to get rid of and we all know that the classic ‘have-someone-scare-you tactic’ sadly doesn’t cut it. But are there really any remedies to stop these most annoying muscle spasms?
Hiccups happen when the diaphragm (the muscle just below the lungs) becomes irritated and starts to contract irregularly; forcing you to inhale, but your breath becomes blocked in your windpipe, causing that classic ‘hiccup’ sound. Well read on, and we’ll explore the most tried-and-tested ways to stop hiccups in their tracks.
1. Hold your breath
This one may seem like an old wives’ tale but trust us, it works. Holding your breath for as long as you can increases the level of carbon dioxide in your blood, which in turn kicks in your body’s reaction to breathe and exhale the CO2 while inhaling oxygen. It may not work instantly but doing this for several breath cycles will stop your diaphragm from contracting, halting the hiccups in their tracks. Some think that the build-up of CO2 distracts your body, focusing your efforts instead on taking a deep breath of oxygen. But as long as it works, we’re happy!
2. Ice, Ice Baby
First, find your Adam’s apple – ladies yours is about 2 inches below your chin. Then, take an ice pack or bag of ice cubes (or frozen peas ‘cause hey, that’ll work too) and press it just to the side of your Adam’s apple. This method works because the freezing cold of the ice blocks the pathways which carry nerve signals that cause hiccups. You can even increase the effectiveness by also applying a cold press to the back of your neck – just find the bony bit right at the top of your spine and apply the ice at the same time as you apply it to your Adam’s apple. If you don’t have anything really cold on hand then just sipping on ice cold water can also do the trick. A chilly solution but worth it to get rid of those pesky hiccups!
3. Sweeten yourself up
Slightly more pleasant than the previous remedy, for this one all you’ll need is some granulated sugar (brown is preferable if you’ve got it for, ya know, health reasons and all that). Take a spoonful of the sugar and slowly swallow it. And how on earth does this even work?! – I hear you ask. Well, the sugar stimulates what’s known as the vagus nerve which is linked to the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. Stimulating it in this way makes your body totally forget about the hiccups. Sweet!
4. Don’t get bitter about it
Time for something a little less appetizing. Grab yourself some apple cider vinegar and/or a lemon and get ready for your taste buds to hate you. By swallowing a teaspoon of vinegar or biting on a lemon (salivating at the thought, right?) you can banish your hiccups in literally seconds. It’s not quite clear how this remedy actually stops hiccups but who cares, as long as it works!
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5. Grab a brown bag
If you’re lucky enough to have a brown bag on hand right when the hiccups strike, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Take it, hold it over your mouth and breathe slowly and deeply into it (stopping, of course, if you feel lightheaded!). Just like the first remedy this one works by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the body and so giving your body something else to think about. It also encourages the diaphragm to contract more deeply, stopping the irregular spasms which cause the hiccups.
6. Paper towels work too
Again, similar to remedies 5 and 1, this tip works using your breath. So, take a paper towel and place it over a glass of water, then, start drinking the water through the paper towel. You’ll notice that this requires more suction to pull the water through the towel, forcing your lungs and diaphragm to work harder and stopping the muscle spasms responsible for hiccups.
7. Whip out the yoga mat
Yoga is known to be a truly effective tool in calming the mind and body. But did you know it’ll cure hiccups as well? By slowly stretching and using the deep inhale/exhale yoga breathing techniques, you’ll soothe and calm the body and stop the diaphragm from contracting. Not only that but you give yourself a nice little limbering up session at the same time!
KEEP READING: How To Will Your Hiccups Away With Your Mind
So, there you have it, seven of the top ways to banish the hiccups. More long-term solutions to stop the hiccups occurring are just as easy to perform. These include not eating or drinking at speed, chewing your food properly, and eating in moderation (all of which are good for your waistline, too!). Also try slowing down when speaking to someone and remaining calm as anxiety and stressful situations have also been linked to the occurrence of hiccups.