Hiccups: A Possible Game Changer?

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on August 5, 2014

Deer in headlites girlHiccups are an annoyance for most people, but if you’re a broadcaster or voiceover artist, they can be a game changer.  I’ve had more than one client tell me that they had to enlist a last-minute substitute because they couldn’t get rid of the hiccups.

Well, now there’s good news!  According to an article in The Washington Post, slow, deep breathing may cure your hiccups!

If you read my blog often, you know that I’m a big fan of abdominal-diaphragmatic breathing.  That’s a mouthful to say, but it perfectly describes the best form of deep breathing.

I’ve posted before about the values of deep breathing on voice (click here to watch a short video of mine) and on relaxation (click here for a post on that).  But now we have another benefit of deep breathing.

Here’s the deal:  Hiccups are sudden contractions of the diaphragm muscle.  There’s no clear understanding of why they start, but one clue may be that our normal breathing pattern gets interrupted by a sigh, a cough, a burp or a sudden intake of air.

The WaPo article features a biofeedback doctor who discovered what he calls a “sweet spot” in breathing where you’re at your most well-paced breathing that puts you into a relaxed mode.  Getting into that “sweet spot” may cure the hiccups.

For most of us, simply sitting comfortably and breathing with the diaphragm may be enough.  I suggest inhaling to a count of 6, holding your breath for 8 seconds, and then exhaling to the count of 10.  Do this for at least a minute.  This will calm your body and perhaps stop your hiccups.

If this fails, try the old home remedies such as sipping a glass of water or slowly eating a spoonful of creamy peanut butter.  Who knows?  That might work, too!

Special Announcement! My e-book, BROADCASTER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, is available for only $4.99.  You’ll get great information in this e-book on how to deal with stress and keep your body healthy so you can sound your best!  And don’t be fooled by “broadcaster’s” in the title.  It’s great for voiceover artists, too.  Ck it out on the “Stress Guide” tab above or by clicking on the title above.

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