SOS Health Guide: Fast Fixes for 10 Common Complaints

From shaky hands to sneezing fits to anxiety attacks -- we've got some surprisingly simple solutions (11 Photos)

Brenda Kearns on Feb 12, 2011 at 12:04AM

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SOS Health Guide: Fast Fixes for 10 Common Complaints

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Scenario: You get the hiccups seconds before a presentation

Solution: Hold your breath

Can’t stop croaking? Don’t panic. Hiccups are simply benign spasms in the diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle that sits right below your lungs and helps them expand and contract. A whole host of things can kick-start these spasms, including laughing, overeating or drinking too quickly. And although no one’s sure yet why, researchers at Britain’s National Health Service say this simple trick can tame twitches: First, take two big breaths to build up your blood levels of oxygen so you’ll be able to hold your breath comfortably. Then, inhale once more, as deeply as you can, and hold that breath as long as possible. Finally, very slowly, release that breath. The result: Your diaphragm will have relaxed and your hiccups could be gone in as little as two minutes!

Why it works: The diaphragm is a muscle, and like a calf muscle that’s twitching or cramping, gently stretching it and then holding that stretch as long as possible allows it to gradually relax, stopping the spasm.

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