Hiccups can be frustrating, but they can be rapidly controlled by pressure points. Hiccups occur when the diaphragm abruptly contracts, instead of undulating regularly as during normal breathing. A burst of air floods the lungs, then the epiglottis closes, trapping the air and creating the familiar “hic” sound.
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Face Pressure Point
Find the center of your philtrum, which is the groove between your upper lip and nose. It is more pronounced in some people. Press in the center of this groove, pushing in towards the teeth. Press and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Chest Pressure Point
Locate your breastbone, a long narrow bone that connects your ribs. Trace the bone down the front of your chest to its tip. Press a fingertip just below the bone, pressing towards your back. Press carefully, as the sternum (the tip of the breastplate) is fragile, and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Abdominal Pressure Point
Trace a line between the belly button and pubic bone, down the center of the abdomen. The pressure point lies in the center of this line, near where you might push for the Heimlich Maneuver. In this case, use your fingertips (not your fist!) to press in, towards your backbone, holding for 20 to 30 seconds.
Arm Pressure Point
Make a fist and notice the two prominent tendons on the inside of your forearm. Starting at your deepest wrist crease, measure down two thumb widths and press between these two tendons. Press down and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Hiccup Red Flag
Long-term hiccups may be a sign of a larger medical problem and should be referred to your primary care physician. Pressure point self-care should be considered a stopgap measure and not a replacement for professional intervention.