Hiccups – those annoying diaphragm spasms
brought on by a malfunction of the vagas
nerve (the same one that makes you cough)
– can be brought on by eating or drinking
too much or too fast, standing up suddenly,
sitting or laying down too quickly, getting
nervous, becoming excited, eating
something very spicy, or sometimes for no
reason at all.
Hiccups can come upon us out of the blue
and they’re not always easy to get rid of.
The methods for curing hiccups can get very
creative and not all of them work for
everyone. Others still will only work once
on an individual before they become
ineffective. So what is a hiccuping person
No matter what trick you use, the science
behind the technique remains the same. In
order to get rid of hiccups, you have to
reset the involuntary rhythm of your
spasming diaphragm. Here is a list of 40
quick tricks to stop your hiccups. It might be
wise to pin this page so you can refer back
to it when hiccups strike!
Food and Drink
The idea behind each of these techniques is
to overload your senses and distract your
body from the spasms that are causing you
1. Place a teaspoon of sugar on the back of
your tongue and let it melt there. Resist
the urge to swallow until the sugar is totally
2. Suck on a slice of lemon. Not enough for
you? Try pouring a few drops of bitters on
the lemon slice first. Then suck on it.
3. Gargle with salt water.
4. Chew on a piece of licorice root .
- Drink a teaspoon or two of pickle juice or
straight apple cider vinegar.
- Eat a teaspoon of peanut butter or some
other type of nut butter (almond, cashew,
- Drink some ice cold water. For some
people this works better if you drink slowly.
For others it works to drink very fast.
Beware of brain freeze!
- Take an antacid containing magnesium.
More Drink Methods
All of these tricks combine the simple act of
drinking water with performing some
unusual physical action in order to reset
your breathing pattern.
- Tilt your head to the right or left and
drink from the side of the glass.
- Lean forward, tilt the glass away from
yourself, and drink from the back of the
- Cover the top of the glass with a paper
towel and drink through it.Drop some fresh
herbs in the glass.
- Concentrate on drinking the water
without getting any of the herbs in your
- Drink a glass of carbonated water very
quickly. Burp a lot. Repeat this process
until your hiccups go away (or until you get
tired of burping.)
- Place a pencil horizontally between your
teeth and try to drink a full glass of water
without removing it.
Distract Your Vagas
There are several good methods for curing
hiccups which involve stimulating the vagas
nerve in order to distract it and hopefully
stop the spasms.
- Tickle the roof of your mouth with a
- Gently draw a toothpick along the roof
of your mouth.
- Put your fingers in your ears and wiggle
- Breath in as far as you can and hold it.
Then stick out your tongue and tug on it.
- Stretch your face muscles by perform
the Lion’s Breath yoga pose.
Use Pressure Points
There are six possible pressure points which
you can activate in order to stop hiccup
spasms. Apply gentle pressure to any of
these areas of the body:
- The hollow at the base of the throat,
between the collarbones.
- Below the collarbones to either side of
- About two inches above and an inch
inward from the crease of your armpit.
Pulling your arm in close to your body will
cause a muscle to flex at this location.
- The small indentation about an inch or
so from the bottom of the breastbone.
- At the bottom edge of the rib cage
where the ninth rib cartilage connects to the
- The small hollow just behind the ear
Use these tricks to alter your breathing
pattern and force your diaphragm to stop
- Draw in as much air as you can, then
breath in a little bit more. Push your
stomach out as far as you can and hold
your breath for about twenty seconds.
Then breath out slowly and count
backwards from twenty. Repeat this three
or four times.
- Open your mouth as wide as you can
and hold it that way for at least twenty
seconds. If you need to swallow, try to do
so without closing your mouth.
- Breath into a small brown paper bag.
The increase in carbon-dioxide in your
bloodstream can help to reset your
breathing and stop the hiccups.
- Sit up straight in a chair. Breath in
slowly and count to twenty. Then lean
forward in the chair as you breath out. This
will compress your diaphragm and force it
to stop spasming.
- Sit on the floor with your back against a
wall. Breath in as much as you can then
breath out slowly. Pull your knees up and
hug them against your chest.
- Stand up straight and reach with your
hands out to either side as far as you can.
Now breathe in slowly and count to twenty
as you raise your arms over your head.
Reach as high as you can then exhale
slowly. Count backwards from twenty as
you lower your arms back out to your
sides. Repeat this process until your
hiccups go away.
- Do some quick cardiovascular exercises
like jumping jacks, squats, or sit-ups to alter
your breathing pattern.
Tricks for When You
Have an Accomplice
If you’re lucky enough to have help, have
someone perform one or more of these
techniques on you.
- Have someone startle you. Keep in
mind that it has to be a good scare or this
method won’t be as effective.
- Be tickled. Assuming that you’re the
kind of person who likes being tickled, this
can be a great method to reset your
- Have them bargain with you. For
example, “Every time you hiccup, I get to
pinch you.” The distraction should help to
reset your diaphragm.
- Have someone ask you an odd
question. This works best if they can fit the
question into a conversation like this:
“Hey, did you see that Angie posted pictures
from the party on Facebook this morning?
There’s a really good one of you making a
walrus face with two straws stuck under
your upper lip. Oh, by the way: What’s the
capital of Azerbaijan?”
Of course, the same question rarely works
on the same person more than once. Here
are some examples of other questions that
are almost 100% guaranteed to throw
“What is square root of 20?”
“When was the last time you rode a white
“Does an egret have four toes on each foot,
or only three?”
Sometimes distracting your mind from
thinking about hiccups can be enough to
- Put on a favorite song and drum out the
rhythm on the bottoms of your feet.
- Play the alphabet game. Pick a random
subject and try to come up with a related
term for every letter of the alphabet
starting with A and working sequentially to
Z. By the time you’ve finished, your hiccups
should be gone.
- Dance around in circles and sing the
chorus to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious a
If you’ve tried everything else listed here
and you still can’t seem to stop hiccuping,
here’s one more quick trick that might work:
- Read this excerpt from Wikipedia:
“Charles Osborne (December 14, 1892 –
May 1, 1991) hiccupped continuously for 68
years (1922–1990). Osborne was from
Anthon, Iowa, U.S., and he was entered in
Guinness World Records as the man with
the Longest Attack of Hiccups. His condition
also led him to be a guest on the New York
radio show Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in
1936, ABC’s That’s Incredible! in 1980, and
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in
- He appeared in an article by Dear
Abby, was drawn as a comic for a Bazooka
Joe bubble gum wrapper, is listed as a trivia
question on the iPod Touch, and was
featured as a question in the board game
“Osborne began hiccuping in 1922, after a
350-pound hog collapsed on top of him
while he was preparing to slaughter it. The
hiccups persisted for 68 years, about one
hic every 10 seconds. It is speculated that
either an abdomen muscle was pulled or a
blood vessel in the brain burst and
destroyed the part of the brain stem that
inhibits hiccups. Operations were attempted
to stop the hiccups, but proved
unsuccessful. Hormone therapy stopped
the hiccups for 36 hours, but was stopped
due to other health problems.
“The hiccups stopped when he was 97.
Osborne died of complications from ulcers
at Marian Health Center in Sioux City, Iowa
on May 1, 1991.”
Try to imagine hiccuping for 68 years
straight! Full resources can be found on the SOURCE website.
- Eat a teaspoon of peanut butter or some