Being in control of your body can be a great thing. Imagine overcoming physical pain. Or being able to slow down your heart at will. There are so many body functions and reactions that we don’t understand and feel powerless about. But, with a little bit of practice, there are things you can gain control over and teach your body a few health tricks.
1. Relieve headaches and migraine quickly
Instead of using pain killers, why not trying an acupressure point next time you experience the excruciating pain? The following shiatsu point works for most frontal headaches and migraines and eases the physical discomfort in less than 5 minutes.
The point is located in the webbing between the thumb and index finger, at the highest spot of the muscle that protrudes when the thumb and index finger are brought close together. Use your thumb and index finger to press on the muscle from both sides: thumb is positioned on the back of your hand, and forefinger underneath. The stimulation of this point also helps with toothaches, shoulder pain and labor pain. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pressing on certain points, releases the blocked Qi or body energy.
2. Encode long-term memory
If you want to remember something for good, work on it just before going to sleep. Memory consolidation, that moves information from short-term to long-term memory, happens mostly while you sleep. If you have an important exam or presentation the following day, review it just before bed time.
3. Slow down your heart rate
Sometimes, when you are anxious, you can feel your heart pounding. To get your heart rate back to normal, you need to influence the vagus nerve, which governs heart rate. This nerve can be controlled through breathing.
One way to stimulate it and release anxiety is to exhale against a closed airway. You can do this by pinching your nose and trying to breathe out while keeping the mouth closed. The pressure in the chest cavity will increase, and the vagus nerve will be stimulated. Another way to slow down your heart rate is to do this type of exercises.
4. Stop a nose bleed
This technique might be new to some of us. It is based on the fact that most nose bleeds originate from the front of the septum, which is the cartilage wall that divides the nose. To stop the bleeding, you need to press hard against your upper gums, on the spot just behind a tiny dent below your nose. You can use some cotton or gauze to do this.
5. Control alcohol induced dizziness
I’m not telling you this to encourage drinking, but sometimes it can be useful to know how to walk straight when your body has been affected by alcohol.
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The organ for balance lies in the inner ear and floats in a fluid that is the same density as blood. Alcohol dilutes your blood, including the blood in your inner ear, and makes the organ for balance float higher. This confuses the brain, so you need to provide it with a different stimulus that will improve its perception of the world around you. The best way to do this is by putting your hand on something stable. The sensitive nerves in the hand give the brain a tactile input that will make them re-assess the situation and provide you with a clearer picture of the world.
6. Cure your toothache-related pain
The same acupressure point that was introduced under point 1 (‘Relieve headaches and migraine quickly’), can be used for toothaches. A Canadian study also showed that the technique is more successful if you use ice. Rub ice on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. This will block the pain signals from hands and face.
7. Fight acid reflux by sleeping position
Studies have shown that it is less likely to suffer from acid reflux if you sleep on your left side. This has to do with the position of your internal organs. Your esophagus and stomach connect at an angle, and your sleeping position determines which one is higher.
When you sleep on your right side, your stomach is higher, which can make the stomach acid enter the esophagus easier. But, when you sleep on your left, the position is reversed. The stomach lies lower, so the acid would need to travel against gravity to reach the upper parts of your digestive system, which is of course a lot harder to do.
8. Clear your stuffed nose instantly
This is an osteopathic trick, as explained by Lisa DeStefano, an assistant professor at the Michigan State University College of osteopathic medicine. You need to perform two movements which will cause the vomer bone (one of the facial bones) to rock back and forth and will loosen the congestion. First, thrust your tongue against the roof of the mouth. Then, press with one finger between your eyebrows. Alternate between the two movements. You should feel some relief already after 20 seconds.
9. Feel no pain while giving blood
If you are afraid of the needle prick, you can try the following: cough. Coughing makes the pain diminish. The maneuver increases the pressure in the chest and spinal canal, and inhibits the transmission of pain signals up the spinal cord. You might want to inform the person taking the blood about this technique though, so you don’t disturb their procedure too much.
10. Cure a tickling throat
Tickly throat can be particularly annoying as you can’t reach inside and give it a proper scratch. But, there is a trick to do it indirectly. Simply, scratch your ear instead. Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey, explains that by stimulating the nerves in the ear, you cause a reflex in the throat that can make your muscles spasm. The muscle contraction helps with the itch and calms down the throat.
11. Use cold water to cool your nerves
Splashing your face with cold water – make it as cold as possible – is a good way to calm yourself down. It’s even better if you simultaneously hold your breath. This tricks your body into believing you’re diving into cold water and triggers an old mammalian reflex. Your body wants to economize with oxygen when it feels there will be a shortage, so the oxygen use becomes better. You are prompted to take deeper breaths and this relaxes the nervous system.
12. Delay your most primal urge to pee
This suggestion is particularly useful when you feel a sudden need to urinate, yet you are miles away from the nearest bathroom. Instead of thinking about peeing, you should re-direct your thoughts and occupy your brain with something else. Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, suggests thinking about something that turns you on as this will preoccupy your brain and make it easier for you to reach the nearest toilet without any embarrassments.
13. Unstitch your side when you run
Many people experience a burning pain on the right side of their tummy when they run or exert themselves. The uncomfortable feeling comes from the area of your liver, which is located on the ride side, below the ribcage. When they run, most people follow a certain movement pattern– they exhale when their right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on the liver and creates a side stitch when it jerks the diaphragm – the biggest breathing muscle. All you need to do is become aware of your movements and step forward with your left foot as you breathe out.
14. Swallow you tablets painlessly
A lot of people struggle swallowing their pills. It doesn’t help that some medications and supplements come in huge sizes. When you have to get a few of them down, this can result in gagging and discomfort. Most people are used to putting their heads back as they swallow. But, you should really do the opposite. When you try to swallow your next horse-sized supplement, tilt your neck forward instead of backward. Take a sip of water, bring your head forward, and then swallow the tablet. It should be easier now that the pill is floating in your mouth.
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15. Extend your time underwater
To do this trick it might be useful to understand how the body works. The urge to breathe doesn’t come from the lack of oxygen. It comes from the buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. When your body becomes more acidic, the brain is aware that there is a problem. You can delay this reaction if you hyperventilate just before making the dive. This lowers the blood’s acidity and can make you stay underwater for up to 10 seconds longer. Before your plunge, take a few short, quick breaths and then dive in. Hyperventilating will trick your brain into believing it has more oxygen than it really does, and let you enjoy the underworld for slightly longer.