There are all method of purported hiccup “cures,” which embrace every part from chewing on a lemon, inhaling pepper, or, our canine’s favourite, consuming a spoonful of peanut butter. In my video How one can Strengthen the Thoughts-Physique Connection, I speak concerning the approach I’m excited to attempt the following time I get hiccups: “supra-supramaximal inspiration,” the place you’re taking a really deep breath, maintain for ten seconds, then, with out exhaling, breathe in much more and maintain for one more 5 seconds, after which take one closing, tiny breath in and maintain for 5 final seconds to realize “a right away and everlasting termination to hiccups…”

After I was a child, I taught myself to manage my very own hiccups utilizing slow-paced respiratory, and, as an grownup, was so excited to see there was lastly a case report written up on it.

There’s a nerve—the vagus nerve—that goes immediately from our mind, to our chest, and to our abdomen, connecting our mind forwards and backwards to our coronary heart and our intestine, and even to our immune system. The vagus nerve is just like the “‘hard-wired’ connection” that permits our mind to show down irritation inside our physique. If you hear concerning the mind-body connection, that’s what the vagus nerve is and does. “There was rising curiosity in treating a variety of problems with implanted pacemaker-like units for exciting the vagal afferent [vagus nerve] pathways,” however sure Japanese traditions like Yoga, QiGong, and Zen figured a method to do it with out having electrodes implanted into your physique.  

“A wholesome coronary heart isn’t a metronome,” as a examine titled precisely that explains. “Your coronary heart charge goes up and down together with your respiratory. If you breathe in, your coronary heart charge tends to go up. If you breathe out, your coronary heart charge tends to go down.” Check this out on your self proper now by feeling your pulse change as you breathe out and in.

Isn’t that exceptional?

That heart-rate variability is a measure of vagal tone—the exercise of your vagus nerve. Subsequent time you’re bored, attempt to make your coronary heart charge velocity up and decelerate as a lot as attainable inside every breath. This may be performed as a result of there’s a completely different oscillating cycle happening on the similar time, as you may see at 2:08 in my video, which is the dashing up after which slowing down of your coronary heart charge, primarily based on moment-to-moment adjustments in your blood strain. And, as any physics scholar can inform you, “all oscillating suggestions methods with a relentless delay have the attribute of resonance,” which means you may increase the amplitude in the event you get the cycles in sync. It’s like pushing your child on a swing: In the event you get the timing good, you may increase them increased and better. Equally, in the event you breathe out and in at simply the proper frequency, you may drive the cycles in sync and increase your coronary heart charge variability, as you may see at 2:36 in my video.

And what’s the profit once more? In line with the neurophysiologic mannequin postulation it permits us to have an effect on the perform of our autonomic nervous system through vagal afferents to brainstem nuclei just like the locus coeruleus, activating hypothalamic vigilance areas.


In different phrases, it’s not nearly curing hiccups. Training sluggish respiratory a couple of minutes a day might have lasting helpful results on plenty of medical and emotional problems, together with bronchial asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and despair. In america, we’ve additionally put it to make use of to enhance batting efficiency in baseball.

So far, most research have lacked correct controls and have used fancy biofeedback machines to find out every particular person’s resonant frequency, however, for most individuals, it comes out to be about 5 and a half breaths per minute, which is a full breath out and in about each 11 seconds. You may see the graph at 3:34 in my video. When musicians have been randomized into slow-breathing teams with or with out biofeedback, sluggish respiratory helped regardless. It’s the identical with hypertension. As you may see at 3:52 in my video, you should utilize this method to considerably drop your blood strain inside minutes. The hope is in the event you observe this a couple of minutes day-after-day, you may have long-lasting results the remainder of the day respiratory usually.

Follow what precisely? Sluggish respiratory—taking 5 or 6 breaths per minute, cut up equally between inhaling and respiratory out. So, that’s 5 seconds in, then 5 seconds out, all of the whereas respiratory “shallowly and naturally.” You don’t wish to hyperventilate, so simply take pure, shallow breaths, however be sure you merely breathe actually slowly. Strive it the following time you get hiccups. Works for me each time!

For extra suggestions, watch my video on How one can Cease Hiccups.

And, as a result of slowing down our pulse typically can also have helpful results, I encourage you to take a look at:

Each time I’m amazed by historical knowledge, I’ve to remind myself of the video I did on poisonous heavy metals—Get the Lead Out. So, although conventional therapeutic strategies might supply a plethora of insights, they nonetheless should be put to the check.

In well being,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: In the event you haven’t but, you may subscribe to my free movies right here and watch my reside shows:

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