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An Unexpected Trick For Curing Hiccups

Have you ever heard of a teaspoonful of sugar to help with curing hiccups? What about pickle juice or sucking on an olive? We've got a new one: acupressure!

We have been collecting hiccup remedies for more than 45 years. The first one was written up in the New England Journal of Medicine (Dec. 23, 1971).  A physician experimented with granulated white sugar. He had 20 participants in his study. They had all been complaining about hiccups. Some had hiccups for several days. Others, more like several hours. They all were told to swallow a teaspoon of table sugar. In his summary of the results, 19 out of 20 subjects got relief from their hiccups. Some critics might complain that this was not a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. But either you have hiccups or you don’t. Here’s are a couple of tricks for curing hiccups that you might not have tried.

The Power of Surprise:

Q. I recently read your column on favorite hiccup remedies. It was interesting, but my remedy is totally different and never fails: get ’em by surprise!

For years I have approached hiccupping people with a sudden, unexpected question such as: what’s your uncle’s middle name? The hiccups stop instantly! It’s the unexpectedness that does it. Try it, you’ll like it!

A. We have been collecting hiccup remedies for nearly 50 years. Although people often do recommend surprise as an effective approach, it usually revolves around loud noises or scare tactics. Your suggestion to ask a surprising question is intriguing. Perhaps others who try it will let us know how well it works.

Curing Hiccups with Acupressure:

Q. I sometimes get hiccups right after eating. If I’m in a restaurant, I can’t always stop them with any of the tricks that usually work, like a lemon wedge with bitters.

One night, our waitress told me of an acupressure technique. She worked as a massage therapist for her day job and had studied pressure points.

She told me to pinch the sides of both index fingertips at the same time. This requires a bit of finger gymnastics, but it can be done. My hiccups stopped almost immediately. I’ve used that technique multiple times since and it has worked every time.

A. Thanks for sharing this unusual hiccup remedy. Many home cures for hiccups involve drinking something, sometimes in an unusual posture (ie, to drink from the far side of the cup, you have to bend over it).

Other Ways to Cure Hiccups:

In a restaurant, you might be able to get an olive to eat or some dill pickle juice to sip. These are other favorites, similar to sucking on a lemon wedge sprinkled with Angostura bitters. A sugar packet should also be available in a restaurant

If you love home remedies and would like to read about more tricks for curing hiccups, why not consult our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

Share your own favorite trick for curing hiccups in the comment section.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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