June 16th, 2008

Escalating Hiccup
Stretching and Other Tried and Tested Ways to Stop Hiccups

I’ve never been excited about getting hiccups before but after receiving so many responses for The Best Cure for Hiccups, I actually look forward to getting one so that I can try some of the reader-suggested methods for stopping this common problem! I I’ve got hiccups three times since.

First Time Lucky

Escalator Hiccup no 1The first one struck about a month ago, while I was on an escalator at a shopping mall. As I didn’t have a glass of warm water handy, I decided to try one of the “mind over matter” techniques — hiccuping on command. Interestingly, right the hiccups stopped by the time I reached the next floor. It could be one of those short hiccups so I thought I’d wait for another one before blogging about it.

I Bet You Can’t Hiccup When I Tell You To

Escalator Hiccup no 2The second incident happened last week while I was on an escalator at another shopping centre. I practiced the same thing I did a month ago but this time, it didn’t work.

B, who was with me at that time, tried the “fright tactic”, which did nothing to stop the spasming (but I did get a good scare). He then tried the betting as suggested by David (a variant of hiccup on command technique):

“The best cure for hiccups I’ve ever found was introduced to me by my boss. I was hiccuping and he pulled $20 out of his wallet and said, “If you can hiccup again you can have this money.” As soon as I started to concentrate on being able to hiccup they stopped. I now pull this trick on all of my friends, and I’ve never lost the bet!”

Unfortunately, he lost the bet. :P

I am Human, Therefore I Shouldn’t Hiccup?

7 minutes later, it became obvious that it wasn’t going to be a brief episode. I remembered reading the remnants of evolution theory for hiccups. In this hypothesis, it is suggested that these involuntary spasms of the diaphragm are triggered by electric signals generated in the brain stem we inherited from our amphibian ancestors. The proposed cure is to remind ourselves that we’re human. Right… I’m not too sure about the deep-sea culture 500 million years ago, but escalator-riding seems like a very human activity to me, which was what I was doing when I got my hiccup. Still, I had ran out of options so it was worth a shot.

I started thinking about all the things that made me human — surfing the internet, going to the supermarket, cycling at the beach, dining on a seafood buffet…mmm…fish.

Apparently, reminding myself that “I am NOT an amphibian…” was about as helpful as asking people to not think of pink elephants. I had more thoughts about salamanders in that two minutes than in all my school years combined. Needless to say, it didn’t do much to solve my problem (the hiccups only stopped when I was about to get myself a cup of hot tea a few minutes later).

Temporarily Not Human Again

Escalator Hiccup no 3The third time happened five days ago while I was going down an escalator at the convention centre. Okay, I wasn’t really riding the escalator, I was descending a flight of temporary stairs but what are the odds of getting another one while being on an escalator!

Once again I tried a few of the suggested tips:

  1. Holding my breath for as long as possible
  2. Pressing on my eyes while hitting my back
  3. Gasping a few times in between hiccups
  4. Swallowing a couple of times before hiccuping
  5. Twisting my earlobes

Yes, I looked very silly doing all the above, and no, none of them worked.

Stretching It A Little

I was wondering whether there was such a thing as an escalator allergy when the idea of stopping hiccups by stretching came to mind. Some muscle cramps are relieved by stretching so this suggestion seemed like a very valid one.

I didn’t remember exactly how the stretch should be done so I just pulled my left arm at an angle over my head (like this). Only half expecting it to work, I kept that position for about 10 seconds. Nothing happened.

I tried it again with my right arm, this time a little longer and stretching as far as I could. Surprisingly, the hiccups did stop!

So there you have it, some warm waterless tips tried and tested. It would be too early to say that the stretching method is the cure for hiccups (it’s only been successful with me once) but if it were, it won’t only be the best, it will be the simplest one as well! I am looking forward to my next hiccup to verify whether the result is repeatable.

Escalators, here I come!

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I enjoyed this post galore! :) As it happens, I had my first (over a few years) hiccup session right at the momemt I was about to serve myself a cup of hot hearbal tea. Your article popped up in my mind immediately, and I applied the warm water theory on practice. It worked perfectly well; So I am a convert now. :) P.S. Thank for stopping by at my online place, by the way. :)
Anya  at 1:21 am on June 17, 2008
That's great Anya! :)
Ginger M  at 12:19 am on June 18, 2008
[...] you for your comments and suggestions, readers. You might also be interesting in reading Escalating Hiccup - Stretching and Other Tried and Tested Ways to Stop Hiccups where I try some of your suggested methods for stopping hiccups! Related Posts: Escalating Hiccup [...]
The Best Cure for Hiccups — The Secret to Stopping Hiccups Lies in Warm Water | Growing Happiness  at 1:43 am on June 18, 2008
Hi, I'm new to your blog. :) I was hiccupping one day and got this tip through meditation: Take a deep breath, then slowly, in a controlled manner, exhale on the letter 's', ssss... Take another breath... then sssss... In the middle of this second exhale, I started to think about not hiccupping, but I received another message: Stay focused on the breath. It's your attention to controlling your breath that does the trick. Take one more breath, and after this one, you'll be fine. And I was. Hope this helps you, too. :)
Elisa  at 6:49 pm on July 3, 2008
What a creative post! Just read your other post on hiccups as well. Fun :)
Yana  at 10:01 am on August 30, 2011

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