How to Get Rid of Hiccups

by Henrik Edberg

Today I’d like to take a break from long articles and just focus on one practical tip you can use right now or whenever you need it.

A few years ago – well, probably 10 years ago by now – I discovered a really good way to get rid of hiccups. It has worked every time I have used it. In the following years I have told family and friends about it and as far as I can remember it has worked as well for them as it has for me.

You need to focus

Here’s what you do. When you have the hiccups just focus your eyes and attention on something in front of you. Maybe it’s a road sign, a painting or some other object. Focus on just that thing. Don’t let anything or anyone else enter your field of focus. Just focus 100% of your attention on that object. Do so for a minute or two and you should have stopped hiccupping.

Why does it work?

My theory, and it’s just a theory, is that hiccups continue because the person having them focuses too much on wanting them to stop. Just like in the case of much of the mind made suffering in our lives it is fed by you focusing on it and giving it more mental energy. If you shift your focus totally away from thinking about it and just stare at that object in front of you then you stop feeding the hiccups with mental energy. And so they vanish.

This explanation may of course be totally wrong. :) But the trick still puts a stop to those annoying hiccups.

What is your best tip for getting rid of the hiccups?

Image by sergis blog (license).

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{ 49 comments }

Dana May 26, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I find that holding your breath for a duration that exceeds the amount of time it would take for your next hiccup, works wonders!

Rachel May 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm

What always work for me is this:
-Fill a fairly large glass with water, not too cold.
-Take a deep breath
-Drink all the water, without taking a breath
-Wait for a minute, and if the hiccups haven’t disappeared, repeat.
-Go to the bathroom

Then you should be good!

Mary Martin May 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

This one works for me……but I add holding my nose while i do it and set the glass on the table and do it hands free – I think it is the lack of focus….you’re right in my non scientific opinion

Lucia May 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm

9 swallows of water with a deep breath after each swallow. Works everytime for me and my family members. Give it a try.

Anirudh May 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Agree with Dana, but I doubt that’s the real deal of this article. If I am not wrong, its more of the “hiccups” we face in life and how to overcome them.

By focusing on the solutions instead of trying to think how to remove the problem, which eventually makes us think of the problem even more, we will realize the “hiccups” will disappear faster than what we would have thought.

Enlighten me if I am wrong.

Keep these short and sweet tips going ! They good !

Henrik Edberg May 27, 2009 at 12:51 pm

That’s a good point, thanks for adding that. Actually, I was just thinking about hiccups when writing the post but I guess I managed to add something general about how we should use our focus too. :)

charleney_2k May 26, 2009 at 8:18 pm

My method is very similar to Rachel’s and it works every single time. Hold your ears shut while simultaneously drinking water from a straw. Take about four swallows or so and the hiccups should be gone! If not, second time’s a charm :)

Positively Present May 26, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Interesting! I’ll have to try that the next time I get the hiccups. Usually I just laugh at myself and wait until they are gone…sorry, no good tips to offer!

Jens Upton May 26, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Hiya

Nice tip. It works for sneezing too. Particularly good with the onset of hayfever around this time of year.

Thanks
Jens

Andi May 26, 2009 at 9:12 pm

My husband offers me $10 if I can hiccup again. I get so focussed on getting the $10, 9 times out of 10 I can’t hiccup again! Problem solved.

JDH May 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm

That is a great trick! I had a co worker who had the hiccups for about a half hour, so to help her out I casually walked into her office then suddenly threw my keys against her metal file cabinet, ha ha….it startled her so bad they stopped instantly. Not very nice, but pretty hilarious. Not sure if I can focus on something other than the hiccups, but it beats someone trying to scare me!

Henrik Edberg May 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Haha, that’s a pretty fun solution. And it worked too, cool! I always thought that the trick about trying to scare someone was just a myth.

og May 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Bend over from the waist, your head should be up-side-down (not between your legs). Bring the “top” of a glass of water to your top lip and drink upside down (basically your chin should be in the glass). Go slow till you are used to drinking upside down, so that the water won’t go up your nose. If you have it wrong you will know, you will not be able to drink the water.

Eli May 27, 2009 at 2:18 am

I’ve tried most of the methods mentioned above to little avail: my TRIED AND TRUE method that I read about a while back is the following:

Exhale completely, and breath in about 85-95% full, then hold your breath and swallow. Take in a gulp of air, but DON’T breathe in – rather, take in one mouthfull of air and “swallow” it down. Do this a second time, and a third. It should become very difficult to do by the third time, and your lungs should be full. Here’s where the magic happens:

Continue taking mouthfulls of air until you simply can’t anymore (mouth too dry, lungs too full – usually around 4-5 gulps). Then try your damndest to swallow a final time. It might take 10-20 seconds to get it down, but this is what cures the hiccups.

Try it! It’s worked for me 95% of the time for years.

searchingwithin May 27, 2009 at 4:02 am

Lemon slice dipped in sugar. Very good too. Works every time in an instant.

Matt May 27, 2009 at 4:52 am

“Drink water” is commonly given as a cure but years ago in primary school I worked out the specifics. The trick is to be swallowing when the next hiccup would occur. This is most easily achieved by starting to drink water when the next hiccup is about to come. It might need to be done for the next couple hiccups, I can’t remember (I don’t get them very often).

When I was younger I got so good at it I could just swallow once and be rid of them!

Marcus May 27, 2009 at 7:37 am

Hiccups are spasms of the diaphram. Take 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar and it regulates the muscle. Otherwise, stand on your left foot with torso facing magnetic north. Hold your nostrils closed with the ring finger and thumb of right hand. Hold a glass of 4 oz of water (must be glass, no plastic) in left hand and sip 7 draws through a bendy straw. Then…just take the spoonful of sugar.

Lisa May 23, 2010 at 9:08 am

BAHA! Best. Advice. Ever.

I find drinking upside down usually works. Reading this post actually got rid of my hiccups. Score one for me.

Henrik Edberg May 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Thank you all for sharing your helpful and in many cases kinda amusing solutions! :) I’m sure this list of tips will be very helpful whenever someone gets the hiccups.

AZMike aka Mike Feddersen May 28, 2009 at 6:15 am

This cure is different than all the above, take your tongue and push it against the roof of your mouth until hiccups are gone. It works for most of my hiccup occassions.

My wife swears by the water sips while holding your breath.

I can almost guarantee how I get the hiccups most of the time, it is when I eat something without drinking any liquid with it or before it. Like a dry sandwich or french fries. Sometimes it starts before I try to follow the eating with a drink of liquid.

BTW you have a nice blog, enjoy all the +++++++++++’s.

Mike Feddersen

AZMike aka Mike Feddersen May 28, 2009 at 6:24 am

Oh I did forget to mention my friend Jason Williams grandfather has the Guiness Book of Records for the longest continuous hiccup spell, here is his information.
Charles Osborne (1894 – May 1, 1991) hiccupped continuously for 68 years (1922-1990).

Osborne, from Anthon, Iowa, U.S., was entered in Guinness World Records as the man with the Longest Attack of Hiccups. The hiccups started in 1922 at a rate of 40 times per minute, slowing to 20 hiccups per minute and eventually stopping on June 5, 1990, a total of 68 years. His condition also led him to be a guest on Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in 1936, ABC’s That’s Incredible! in 1980, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1983, and to be featured as a question in the board game Trivial Pursuit.

Osborne began hiccuping in 1922, while slaughtering a hog. Despite his condition, Osborne was able to lead a normal life, and was even married two times.

Osborne died of complications from ulcers at Marian Health Center in Sioux City, Iowa on May 1, 1991 and he was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Anthon, Iowa three days later.

It has been estimated that Osborne hiccupped 430 million times over the 68 year period.

My friend Jason said that he was sent every imaginable cure during all those years, he even underwent surgery to get them stopped, all to no avail.

Mike Feddersen

Henrik Edberg May 28, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Wow, that’s sounds really horrible, hiccups for 68 years. Thanks for sharing the story.

Tommy May 28, 2009 at 10:04 am

I do not have hiccups, but everytime i start feeling negative emotions i follow that trick, and suddenly i feel positive again, refreshed and with mental energy to keep on with what i was doing. It does Marvels!!! Negative Loop ——>Focus for a minute——->Positive Again!!!!
Thanks Henrik!!!

Henrik Edberg May 28, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Good alternative use of the same tip, thanks for sharing it.

Anthony May 28, 2009 at 10:43 am

I tend to hold my breath for some time to stop my hiccups.

Michelle | When I Grow Up Coach May 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

My suggestion is like the others, but no water is required.

Hold your breath & swallow three times in a row. Oddly enough, this only works if you’re standing still.

Silly, I know – but it totally works.

Henrik Edberg May 28, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Hehe, interesting that it only works when you standing still, thanks for the tip. :)

Joseph May 29, 2009 at 5:09 am

When I’ve had hiccups I’ve found that by praying the hiccups would go away instantly, without fail.

It could also be simply a mind-over-matter sort of thing.

Vincent May 29, 2009 at 11:30 am

Hi Henrik,

Holding my breath and leaving me breathless works for me. The lack of oxygen can help me to stop my hiccups.

Cheers,
Vincent

Karen May 30, 2009 at 8:59 am

I use a variation of the previously mentioned sugar method. Instead of just eating the sugar, I swallow it dry.

It also takes my full concentration to swallow the sugar before my saliva gets a chance to do its job.

Chris Walker May 31, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I recently saw a talk that stated that orgasm cures hiccups. I haven’t had the chance to field test this, but I encourage your readers to try this method.

Patrick Schriel May 31, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for the tip, I will try it out (and the ones in the other comments). Your method sound a little like meditation, interesting.

I usually have hiccups when I eat too fast, which in itself is a sign to slow things down.

Andreas June 2, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I usually just stare at the moon and tell my friends “just let me be alone”…

Tom Kinlough June 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Well, a little scientific but if your that type my theory might just be for you … Hiccups are a spasm of the diaphragm which is the muscle under your ribs that pull the air in and push it out… so therefore you should concentrate on calming this down . this is why the holding breath method often works because you are bringing it back to a normal pace – just like when you slow down when you want to stop running — because it brigns you back to a normal pace- – I believe breathing in and out slowly and evenly will help you a lot :D

Tarlach June 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

If you bite on a slice of lemon, the hiccups will cease immediately.

Rax Lakhani June 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I totally agree on focusing on something intensely. I ususally aim to count to 20 without breathing in. The more strained my lungs the better. By the time I manage to reach 20, I’m usually red in the face and am so relieved to be able to breathe again that the hiccups remain a distant memory…

alfrado July 3, 2009 at 5:38 am

I usually get a glass of water stand still then put my mouth on the outer rim bend at the waist and drink.

Breanne July 4, 2009 at 12:16 am

Heey, Im breanne and Im 12 years old and this “Method” Worked for me :) Thank god because I had the Hiccups for 3 hours and I could get rid of them! and it only took 1 minute to get Rid of them :)

Thanks

Leander July 4, 2009 at 1:17 am

works great to focus on something Thanks!!!!!!

qualo July 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm

this site has 2 great solutions http://www.bestcurehiccups.com/
they both mentioned already in slightly different ways- 100% success rate for me and friends

Michael December 12, 2009 at 4:31 am

I read through a few of these cures, but none of them worked for me. I eventually gave up and laid down. After lying down for about 10 minutes i realised i had stopped hiccuping.
So, if none of these cures work for you, just lie down!

NW January 15, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Wow it worked – i just stared at a word on this page and they were gone in seconds – had them all day before that and tried everything. thanks

Shan January 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Holy hell, it worked. Thanks, I had them for half an hour and couldn’t get any work done. Try focusing on a circle, or black and white colours. Amazing.

Tom February 19, 2010 at 12:52 am

amazing — I did a search on this and came across this. Apparently, we discovered the same thing before trying to look it up. Accidentally, we found that by tracing letters very slowly in the air to our 4 month old, he nearly instantly stopped having the hiccups!

marshal March 11, 2010 at 4:10 am

Lick the fluffy tail of a cat to instantly get rid of hiccups

Nikole May 20, 2010 at 3:20 am

What i do is pull my tongue. Hard but not out of your head LOL!!:)))
Then swallow and voila! Gone Works like a charm. Thanks for all the help on comments but they didn’t work i tried mine gone byby

Geoffrey Gordon June 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

Thanks a million, I Googled the solution this morning, found your blog. Found something to focus on and in it stopped instantly. Amazing…..

Nick July 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

og’s solution – i.e taking a sip of water, holding it in your mouth and then bending down the waist on one leg…while you are concentrating on the balance…just gulp the water in….that has worked for me and whoever I tell it to for past 8 years. And yes, ppl make fun of me when I tell them…but it is a party favorite when ppl are drunk and are hiccuping. They always gawk at me when the trick works 9/10 times!

Ren August 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Funny that I found this because what I found that has worked for me is staring at the center of my palm at one spot. The key is to keep focused on one point and to not let your eyes move from that point.

It was so weird the first time that I discovered this method. Works for me everytime.

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