Five weeks of hiccups. The Cure: 30 Valerian drops and Magnesium.

I had a substantial spicy meal at home. An hour later, I engaged in lots of exercise using rip chords to expand the lungs and the breathing. A mistake. I needed to wait for at least two hours.

The metabolism converting food to energy spiralled into a chaotic state. My diaphragm went into spasms due to food and oxygen constantly colliding with each other triggering intense hiccups.

I am becoming an expert on intensive hiccupping and treatment. Hiccupping continued around the clock. If I had an hour’s unbroken sleep, I felt fortunate. In the most difficult moments, it became hard to catch my breath with a sense that I might pass out at any time.

I tried every conceivable method I could find to reduce the hiccups becoming an expert on Googling cures for hicupps, plus no shortage of advice from friends worldwide. I hiccupped as I spoke on the mobile, in the coffee shop, with friends, family and strangers. I can never recall receiving so much advice on an ailment.

Hiccups were most severe on an empty stomach.

It is impossible to hide hiccups in a conversation. Honestly. Here are a handful of remedies I applied with exceptional enthusiasm.

  • breathe out into a paper bag
  • bite on a lemon
  • headstands
  • head in a bucket of water
  • hold as much breath as possible as long as possible
  • jog up and down on the spot
  • knees tight to my chest and lean forward
  • meditate on stillness
  • Pranayama breathing exercises
  • sip honey
  • sip ice-cold water
  • swallow sugar
  • taste vinegar
  • and more.

Nothing worked. Sometimes I thought I had found a cure. Then the hiccups started up again – sometimes with a vengeance.

I spoke with John, the Supplement Advisor at nearby GreenLife health food supermarket, five minutes’ walk from my back door. He was exceptionally helpful with immense knowledge of complementary medicine.

He recommended Valerian root tincture and so I followed his advice.

I took 30 drops of valerian root extract at 20.30. Hiccups stopped immediately for a few hours. Phew. Impressive.

For the first time in a month, I found a treatment that really helped. I had three hours of unbroken deep sleep that night.

Gwanwyn (Nshorna’s mother) suggested I take magnesium powder and use magnesium spray, plus drops of B 12. I used magnesium and drank juice from two raw lemons. Along with Valerian, I experienced a gradual improvement in sleep, night after night.

I kept mindfully a low centre of gravity, especially up and down stairs. This helped to minimise the impact of hicupps.

Hiccups kept me mindful of the body whether I liked it or not.  I ate soft, nutritious food, such as porridge, rice, every three or four hours. This also reduced the strength of the impact of the hiccups.

I could finally sit at the computer for extended periods instead of spending hours in the standing posture to reduce the scale and frequency of hiccups.

Before sleep, I took the 30 Valerian drops plus magnesium powder drink. Then the whole body became quiet.

In the last few days, the hiccups reduced to short, gentle bursts for a minute or two every few hours.

Five weeks after the initial onslaught of hiccups, the hiccups stopped altogether. The day after they stopped, I took the train from Totnes to the Pyrenees to start the Yatra with Zohar, Nathan and 150 participants.

I had a full, unbroken night’s sleep in my tent beneath the night sky.


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