Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Medical Tip

"Hiccups," says the Mayo Clinic, "may result from a large meal, alcoholic beverages or sudden excitement," which makes this the perfect-storm day for being afflicted.

Fortunately, there is a sure-fire cure, passed on to me by (brace yourself for major name-drop) John F. Kennedy's White House doctor, Janet Travell, an expert on muscle spasms who put him in a rocking chair and kept him from being bed-ridden.

Years later, when I was helping Dr. Travell find a publisher for her two-volume medical text on trigger-point therapy, she mentioned a paper she had written on one form of that treatment-—for hiccups.

Herewith Dr. Travell’s little-known but, in my experience, absolutely effective cure:

There is a small flap at the back of the upper palate called the uvula. Pressing the end of a butter knife or spoon handle firmly against it for three seconds or more will make the spasms stop. The only problem is to keep the hiccupper calm enough to avoid gagging.

In dozens of attempts with friends and family, I found it worked every time. As a magazine editor, I ran a brief item, and scores of readers confirmed that it did.

This treatment may also stop snoring, if you have the nerve to wake someone and try.

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Interesting, I'll have to give this a try.