Put your hiccups to rest with these simple cures
Hiccups can come at the most inconvenient times — just before you have to give an after-dinner toast or address the town planning commission, for instance.
When you’re in public, you might have to use some very subtle methods to control the hiccuping. Some methods involve gentle pressure; others, a glass of water. And, if you have a high threshold of embarrassment — or you can hide somewhere — there are wonderfully strange contortions that hiccup-prone people have devised to cure the contractions.
Be sure to try these remedies and find the best one that works for you.
Emergency action in public places
- Press the palm of your hand with the thumb of your other hand. The harder, the better. Alternatively, you can squeeze the ball of your left thumb between the thumb and forefinger of the right. The discomfort is a distraction that affects your nervous system and may put an end to the hiccups. (And you can do it under the table, without anyone staring at you.)
- Take a deep breath and then hold it for a while. When there’s a buildup of carbon dioxide in your lungs, your diaphragm relaxes.
- If you can retire from public view for a few minutes (‘Sorry, have to visit the restroom!’), stick your fingers in your ears for twenty or thirty seconds. Or press the soft areas behind your earlobes, just below the base of the skull. That sends a “relax” signal through the vagus nerve, which connects to the diaphragm area.
- As long as you’re out of sight, stick out your tongue. This rude-looking exercise is done by singers and actors because it stimulates the opening between the vocal cords (the glottis). You breathe more smoothly, quelling the spasms that cause hiccups.
- Cup your hands around your nose and mouth, but continue breathing normally. You’ll get relief from the extra dose of carbon dioxide.