- Hiccups are caused by spasms of the phrenic nerve, leading to involuntary contractions of the diaphragm.
- Traditional remedies often fail because they do not directly address the phrenic nerve spasms.
- A proven technique to stop hiccups involves three consecutive nasal inhales followed by an extended exhale, aiming to hyperexcite and then calm the phrenic nerve.
Hiccups are an annoying and sometimes uncomfortable occurrence that can disrupt our daily activities. Understanding the cause — a spasm in the phrenic nerve — provides a clue to a solution that goes beyond old wives’ tales to a method grounded in physiological science.
The Triple Nasal Inhale Technique
By performing a triple nasal inhale — taking a deep breath in, followed by two more sips of air without exhaling, and then holding before a slow release — you can effectively hyperstimulate the phrenic nerve. This halts its spasming behavior, thereby stopping the hiccups.
How It Works
The triple inhale method increases the pressure in the thoracic cavity and hypercontracts the diaphragm. This intense stimulation is followed by a period of relaxation (or hyperpolarization), which resets the nerve’s activity and stops the hiccup cycle.
Hiccups need not be an inevitable nuisance. By applying this breathing technique, you can quickly and effectively stop hiccups and return to your daily activities without skipping a beat — or a breath.
What to do next?
Next time you or someone you know has hiccups, remember the triple nasal inhale technique. It’s simple: breathe in deeply through your nose, take two additional sniffs of air, hold for a moment, and then exhale slowly. You’ll likely find relief after the first try, but you can repeat the process if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do traditional methods like drinking water not always stop hiccups?
Traditional methods often do not address the root cause — the phrenic nerve spasms — and therefore may not consistently stop hiccups.
Is this breathing technique safe for everyone?
This method is generally safe, but as with any breathing technique, if you have any respiratory issues or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before trying it.
Can this technique be used for children as well?
Yes, children can use this technique, but they should be supervised to ensure they understand and perform it correctly.
Shahane Tan, a Nursing graduate from Xavier University, combines healthcare expertise with roles in real estate and life coaching. Passionate about holistic well-being, her insights bridge science and practicality. Explore her balanced wellness approach at JustFlourishing.com.