To Stop Hiccups: Tell Yourself You’re Not A Prehistoric Fish

Pour a glass of water, hold your breath, inhale – exhale deeply…the hiccup, also known as singultus, is no serious condition but rather annoying.

There’s numerous of remedies that supposedly cure it, some may work, others don’t but have you ever wondered where the hiccup comes from? What sets it off and why we humans have these spasmodic contractions of the diaphragm?

It’s your inner fish trying to breathe

Neil Shubin explains the phenomenon of the hiccup as following:

‘We’re all modified sharks – or worse, there is a lawyer inside each of us.’

And the Guardian wrote:

Spasms in our diaphragms, hiccups are triggered by electric signals generated in the brain stem. Amphibian brain stems emit similar signals, which control the regular motion of their gills. Our brain stems, inherited from amphibian ancestors, still spurt out odd signals producing hiccups that are, according to Shubin, essentially the same phenomenon as gill breathing.

So perhaps you should stay clear of water next time you experience a hiccup and eat some fish instead?

As Shubin makes clear in his book, Your Inner Fish, we humans gradually evolved and we still carry the hallmarks of evolutionary predecessors.

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One Response to “To Stop Hiccups: Tell Yourself You’re Not A Prehistoric Fish”

  1. Maybe in a few thousand years we will be free from hiccups! But for now… we’ll just have to live with this slight annoyance.

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