Viral TikTok Video with Cure for Hiccups Sounds “Fishy”
I hate having the hiccups just as much as the next guy. When I get them, they are typically pretty violent. I don't have soft, little hiccups. I have hiccups that shake my very core and question my existence. Frankly, you may question your existence, as well, after learning about this supposed "cure" for hiccups.
Cure For Hiccups Found on TikTok
There is this viral video going around that was posted by @jadamiller92 on September 22nd. I have only recently started seeing this video pop up, which could easily just be me; however, I'm finding a lot of new reactions and stitches with it, so I'm assuming other people are just discovering it now, as well.
The video has over 5.2 million views on TikTok with 863.5K likes, over 8,000 comments, and has been shared over 17K times. Needless to say, this video is getting the rounds.
The video claims that when you get the hiccups, you must tell yourself, "I am not a fish," and your hiccups will go away.
How True is This?
This concept is not new by any means. Paleontologist and professor of anatomy Neil Shubin published a book back in 2008 called "Your Inner Fish." There was even a PBS special made based on the best-selling book.
In an article published by the University of Chicago, adapted from Shubin's work, it says,
If the odd course of our nerves is a product of our fishy past, the hiccup itself is likely the product of our history as amphibians. Hiccups are unique among our breathing behaviors in that an abrupt intake of air is followed by a closure of the glottis. Hiccups seem to be controlled by a central pattern generator in the brain stem: stimulate this region with an electrical impulse, and we stimulate hiccups. It makes sense that hiccups are controlled by a central pattern generator, since, as in other rhythmic behaviors, a typical sequence of events happens during a hic.
Is this trait shared with any other creature today? Turns out yes!
It turns out that the pattern generator responsible for hiccups is virtually identical to one in amphibians. And not in just any amphibians—in tadpoles, which use both lungs and gills to breathe. Tadpoles use this pattern generator when they breathe with gills. In that circumstance, they want to pump water into their mouth and throat and across the gills, but they do not want the water to enter their lungs. To prevent it from doing so, they close the glottis, the flap that closes off the breathing tube. And to close the glottis, tadpoles have a central pattern generator in their brain stem so that an inspiration is followed immediately by a closing glottis. They can breathe with their gills thanks to an extended form of hiccup.
So, you're saying that we have the hiccups because don't have gills anymore?
The parallels between our hiccups and gill breathing in tadpoles are so extensive that many have proposed that the two phenomena are one and the same. Gill breathing in tadpoles can be blocked by carbon dioxide, just like our hiccups. We can also block gill breathing by stretching the wall of the chest, just as we can stop hiccups by inhaling deeply and holding our breath. Perhaps we could even block gill breathing in tadpoles by having them drink a glass of water upside down.
My girlfriend and I have tried this technique to remind ourselves we are not fish, and we both stop hiccuping in around 3 hiccups, which is pretty good considering that an average bout of hiccups can persist for about 60 hics. So, the next time you have hiccups, remember that you are not a fish.