Q. I learned a procedure from a wrestling coach to stop nosebleeds. Determine which nostril is bleeding, remove the shoe from the opposite foot and with the heel of your hand give two good thumps to the heel of that bare foot.
I have used this tactic many times, in the gym, on field trips, at Little League and even on my wife sitting in the car. You should have seen the look on passers-by! My question is, why does this work?

A. We wish we could tell you. It makes about as much sense to us as dropping keys down the back of the neck to stop a nosebleed. Many readers have shared success stories with that technique. Even though we can’t explain either approach, it will be obvious within seconds whether it has worked. Drugstore alternatives include Nosebleed QR, NasalCEASE and Seal-On.

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  1. John

    I’m just home from traditional jiu jitsu training where I got punched in the nose and it was gushing. My sensei got me to lie down on my back and raise my opposite leg and he slapped the bottom of my foot. Bleeding stopped immediately. I’m only here because I can’t believe it worked and I’m searching the net for answers.

  2. G. Black

    I’m a bit late to the party but I think it’s because the blood rushes to where the pain is. The foot or back of knee is chosen because it is quite far away from the brain.

  3. derek

    dropping keys down the back of the neck works because the cold from the keys stimulates the mammalian dive reflex.

  4. NANCY R.

    I tried this just now and it worked. I was also putting pressure on the nose for 5 minutes while I thumped my right heel with the heel of my hand. I have not tried it all by itself.

  5. ta

    My husband was telling me about a wrestler in high school in the 1970’s who would slap his friend’s foot to stop his nosebleeds. I guess it does work.

  6. MSC

    Thanks for removing the photo!

  7. JR

    I just tried this for a gushing nosebleed; it worked. And I’ll add my vote for replacing the photo. Thanks for your website!

  8. JMG

    And I’ll side with Gail and MSC, please use a different photo! I’ve tried this foot thump remedy two times now and it did seem to help altho I’m not positive because they were both mild nosebleeds. With spring blooming I’m sure I’ll have plenty of chances to try it again. Thanks for the great website and newspaper column, it’s wonderful to have a source of natural remedies and comments from people. While undergoing chemo my uncle tried the coconut cookie cure for chronic diarrhea and it really helped him.

  9. MSC

    I agree with Gail. I hardly think that this picture is needed. I would rather see a photo of someone thumping the heel of a bare foot.

  10. Cassandra

    A teacher in my school used to do this to stop peoples nose bleeds back in the days. It really works.

  11. Joan G.

    I wonder if it has anything to do with Reflexology or Acupuncture? Both connect certain pressure points with other parts of the body.

  12. Gail

    You seem to like this picture – a close up of a bleeding right nostril. Is it necessary? Please hand the man a tissue to cover the blood. Thank you!

  13. Nancy B.

    I learned this heal-thumping technique from my childhood Judo teacher in the mid-sixties. I had forgotten all about it ’til reading this Q&A. It always worked!

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