Beyond the folk remedies to cure hiccups, such as drinking water or scaring the victim, a new study suggests having found the ultimate solution .
The so-called ‘Forced Inspiratory Suction and Swallow Tool’ (FISST), and patented as HiccAway , is a plastic device, a simple rigid L-shaped straw that has a mouthpiece at one end and an adjustable cap with a pressure valve , in the form of a small hole, in the other.
To cure hiccups, simply place the device in a glass of water and drink.
HiccAway and the phrenic nerve
The phrenic nerve runs from the spine to the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). It serves to relax and contract the diaphragm, which helps control breathing.
The idea is that the enhanced suction required to draw water through the device requires the phrenic nerve to trigger a contraction of the diaphragm, while subsequent swallowing involves activation of the vagus nerve, among others. Since these two nerves are responsible for the hiccups in the first place, the researchers say keeping them busy prevents them from causing the unwanted phenomenon .
To evaluate the device, the team analyzed the responses of 249 volunteers, more than two-thirds of whom said they hiccupped at least once a month.
The device worked instantly and the effect remains for several hours. The results reveal that the device stopped hiccups in almost 92% of cases . Just over 90% of the participants said they found it more convenient than other home remedies, while 183 of 203 participants said it worked better. The authors say the results held true for all demographics, hiccup frequencies, and hiccup durations.
However, the study has limitations, including the fact that it did not include a control group and relied on self-reported results. For now, we will always have rectal massage.