Everybody’s got a theory about the best way to stop a case of the hiccups in its tracks, and everybody always seems to think theirs is the very best one. Many people believe these “cures” only seem to work because they keep you occupied until the hiccups go away on their own. That may be. But…
What causes hiccups?
Hiccups happen when your diaphragm gets irritated. Normally, it pulls the air down into your body in a smooth motion, but sometimes that motion gets jerky and the result is hiccups. The solution is to soothe the diaphragm, and since the diaphragm is involved in breathing, it makes sense that some kind of breathing exercise is most likely to work.
Let’s take for example the old “cure” about closing your nose and drinking an entire glass of water. The water probably has nothing to do with it, but the breath holding (with the water drinking as a way to time it) just might. Some people claim this one works for them. It never did for me.
This is my personal solution, and it’s always stopped my hiccups within thirty seconds at most. It may not work for everybody, but it’s all about the diaphragm and getting it back on track.
- Press on your diaphragm (below the breastbone and between the ribs).
- While still pressing your diaphragm, force yourself to exhale slowly and deliberately out your nose. These breaths should be relatively loud but slow.
- Keep doing it until you manage to get through 2-3 slow breaths without a hiccup.
I found that merely holding my breath (as many “cures” recommend) didn’t help. For some reason, these slow but forceful exhalation worked better for me. Once I combined them with the pressure on the diaphragm, I’ve always been able to stop my hiccups pretty quickly. And it’s been about fifteen years since I had the hiccups at all.
Have you found a solution that consistently works for you?