Why not train yourself to do something that may actually pay off? We’re not talking bench presses and interval training (though those do help). You can teach your body to cure itself from everyday health ailments — instant migraine relief, overcoming the urge to pee, even hands that have fallen asleep.
Just study this list, and the next time your friends challenge you to an ice cream eating contest, chow down: You know how to thaw a brain freeze—and 19 other tricks that’ll make everyone think you’re the next David Blaine. But without all that “hold your breath for 17 minutes” mess.
1. Treat a Tickling Throat
Yes, we all played our armpits when we were 9, it was a cool trick. And even today, as adults, we can still have a great time laughing at those moments. But, that is not all. Some of these body-based feats can be of great help when used as a health remedy. For example, the tickle in your throat – nothing to worry about.
Use this trick to scratch the itch: Scratch your ear. “When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm,” explains Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. “This spasm relieves the tickle.
2. Feel No Pain While Giving Blood
Many of you would gladly participate in the blood donating actions, but the needle prick is something you just can get over. German researchers have found that if you cough during the needle stick, you will feel less pain.
Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, explains how the trick causes a sudden, but temporary rise in the pressure in the chest and the spinal canal, which inhibits the structures in the spinal cord that conduct pain.
3. Stop a Nose Bleed
Put a cotton pad on your upper gums, behind the small dent below the nose, and press hard against it. “Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose,” explains Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. “Pressing here helps stop them.”
4. Overcome The Urge to Pee
You need to pee and there is no bathroom nearby. Think of your wildest fantasies. Thinking about sex and what turns you on will preoccupy your brain, and you will feel less discomfort, explains Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.
5. The Sleeping Position Will Help You Fight Acid Reflux
You really enjoyed that spicy dish, right? And acid reflux was the last thing that came to your mind. Anthony A. Starpoli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College, suggest that you try this preventive trick: “Sleep on your left side.”
Experts have explained that the patients who sleep on their left side are less likely to suffer from acid reflux when compared to those who sleep on their right side. Need an explanation?
The esophagus and stomach connect at an angle. Sleeping on your right side will elevate the stomach higher than the esophagus, so the food and stomach acid can easily slide up your throat. The stomach is lower than the esophagus when you sleep on your left side, so thank you, gravity!
6. Swallow Horse-Sized Supplements Easily
Not all of us can easily swallow huge health supplements. Need to swallow more than one at a time? This trick will get them down. Drink some water and tilt your head forward. The pill should float at the back of your throat, ready to swallow.
7. Instant Migraine Relief
Having a nasty headache, huh? Well, you may not want to hit the nearest pharmacy. Just use your thumb and forefinger and pinch down on the muscle web in your hand. Place the thumb on the back of the hand, and the forefinger underneath.
Press for 2 minutes, then repeat. You should feel some relief in just 4 minutes. It is the shiatsu point that addresses headaches by dispersing the stagnant Ki (i.e. blocked energy) and moving the blood in the head, neck and other parts of your body.
8. Experience Supersonic Hearing
You are on a cocktail party, and there is this mumbler talking to you. What can you do? According to the researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, leaning in with your right ear should help, as it is better than your left at following the rapid rhythm of speech.
But, if you are trying to listen to your favorite song that plays in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. Why? Your left ear picks up music tones better than your right ear.
9. Prevent Near-Sightedness
Genetics is not always responsible for the poor distance vision, explains Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist in Tacoma, Washington. “It’s usually caused by near-point stress.” For example, working on your computer for too long. Flex your way to 20/20 vision. Introduce some changes to your daily routines.
Every few hours during the active part of your day, close your eyes, tense the body, take a deep breath. After a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. This tightening and releasing technique that involves your biceps and glutes can relax the involuntary muscles like your eyes.
10. Cure Burns
If you singe your finger on the stove, do not run for the ice compress in your fridge. Just clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your other hand. Yes, Dr. DeStefano says that ice would sure relieve the pain more quickly, but our method will bring the burned area back to a normal temperature, so you will not get any blisters.
11. Cure Toothache
Rub some ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped area between the thumb and the index finger. The results of a Canadian study showed that this method relieves toothache by 50 percent when compared to the technique that does not involve.
How is your hand connected to the pain you feel? The nerve pathways in the V area stimulate the part of your brain that blocks the pain signals from the face and hands.
12. Unstitch Your Side
When running, most people people exhale as their right foot hits the ground. According to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men this pressures your liver, located on your right side, which tugs at the diaphragm, creating a side stitch. What should you do? Exhale when your left leg hits the ground.
13. Encode Long-Term Memory
Pay special attention to this one – your own memory! “If you’re giving a speech the next day, review it before falling asleep,” explains Candi Heimgartner, an instructor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Anything you read before you go to bed is more likely to encode as a long-term memory, as most memory consolidation happens while you are sleeping.
14. Clean Stuffed Nose
You do not need Sudafed. Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine offers an easier, quicker and cheaper remedy that will relieve any sinus pressure.
Thrust your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then apply some pressure between your eyebrows using one finger. In this way the vomer bone will rock back and forth. This bone runs through the nasal passages to the mouth. The motion will loosen the congestion, and within 20 seconds your sinuses will start to drain.
15. Thaw Your Brain Freeze
Press the tongue flat against the upper side of your mouth, and make sure you cover as much as you can. “Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too,” explains Abo.
“In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache.” The relieving depends on the pressure intensity – the more pressure you apply, the faster your headache will disappear.
16. Stop The World From Spinning
Feeling dizzy can be really unpleasant. Put your hand on a stable surface. The cupula, the part of your ear responsible for the balance, floats in a fluid that has the same density as blood. “As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises,” explains Dr. Schaffer.
In this way you will confuse your brain. The tactile input from the stable object will give your brain a second opinion, regulating your balance. As the nerves in the hand are quite sensitive, this method will sure work better than the traditional foot-on-the-floor technique.
17. Cold Water Will Calm You
You are tense and the nerves are sucking all your energy. You may find it crazy, but taking a deep breath and spashing some cold water in your face will sure do the trick. This trick activates the mammalian diving reflex, and all animals and humans have it. The cold water and holding your breath in will simulate diving into cold water. At least that is what your body would think. This diving reflex allows you to use the oxygen more efficiently.
18. Breathe Underwater
If you can not retrieve the quarter from the bottom of the pool, just take a few short breaths first – hyperventilate. It is not the lack of oxygen that makes you desperate to take a breath when you are underwater.
It is the carbon dioxide buildup that makes your blood acidic. This sends signals to your brain that something is wrong. “When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity,” says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. “This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen.” This trick will buy you up to 10 seconds.
19. Wake Up You Sleeping Limbs
If your hands likes to take a nap while you are driving or sitting, just rock your head from side to side. It is a painless way to banish any pins and needles in less than a minute, according to Dr. DeStefano.
A compression in the bundle of the nerves in your neck often causes a tingly hand or arm. By loosening your neck muscles you will release the pressure. If this happens to your legs, just stand up and walk around, as the compressed nerves in the lower part of your body govern the feet.
20. Calm Your Heart
Is your heart getting excited about that first date? Blow on your thumb and you will be just fine. Ben Abo, an emergency medical-services specialist at the University of Pittsburg says that breathing can control the vagus nerve responsible for the heart rate. This simple method will get your heart back to normal.