18 Healthy Body Tricks

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    18 Healthy Body Tricks

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    Provided By Men's Health

    Eating 10 hot dogs in six minutes and belching the national anthem may impress your

    friends, but neither of those feats will do much for your body -- at least not much good.

    Instead, 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 -- side stitches, first-date

    jitters, 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 17 other tricks that'll

    make everyone think you're the next David Blaine. But without all that "hold your breathfor 17 minutes" mess.

    Cure a Tickling Throat

    When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still

    appreciate a good body-based feat, especially if it serves as a health remedy. Take thattickle in your throat: It's not worth gagging over. Here's a better way to scratch your itch:

    "When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a

    muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty

    center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."

    Experience Supersonic Hearing

    If you're stuck chatting up a mumbler at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It's

    better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at

    the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you're trying toidentify that song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The

    left ear is better at picking up music tones.

    Overcome Your Most Primal Urge

    Need to pee? No bathroom nearby? Fantasize about Jessica Simpson. Thinking about sex

    http://menshealth.com/http://menshealth.com/
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    preoccupies your brain, so you won't feel as much discomfort, says Larry Lipshultz,

    M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. For best

    results, try Simpson's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" video.

    Feel No Pain

    German researchers have discovered that coughing during an injection can lessen the pain

    of the needle stick. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon,

    the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal,inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.

    Clear Your Stuffed Nose

    Forget Sudafed. Here's an easier, quicker, and cheaper remedy to relieve sinus pressure:

    Alternate thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between

    your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal

    passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistantprofessor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion

    loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you'll feel your sinuses start to drain.

    Fight Fire Without Water

    Worried those wings will repeat on you tonight? Try this preventive remedy: "Sleep onyour left side," says Anthony A. Starpoli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and

    assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. Studies have shown that

    patients who sleep on their left sides are less likely to suffer from acid reflux. Theesophagus and stomach connect at an angle. When you sleep on your right, the stomach

    is higher than the esophagus, allowing food and stomach acid to slide up your throat.

    When you're on your left, the stomach is lower than the esophagus, so gravity's in yourfavor. Cure Your Toothache

    Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumband index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by

    as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that

    V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

    Make Burns Disappear

    When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply lightpressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. Ice will relieve your pain more

    quickly, Dr. DeStefano says, but since the natual method brings the burned skin back to a

    normal temperature, the skin is less likely to blister.

    Stop the World from Spinning

    One too many drinks left you dizzy? Ah, luckily there's a remedy. Put your hand on

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    something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance -- the cupula -- floats in a

    fluid of the same density as blood. "As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula

    becomes less dense and rises," says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactileinput from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance.

    Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional

    foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

    Unstitch Your Side

    If you're like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground.

    This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then

    tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home

    Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.

    Stanch Blood with One Finger

    Pinching your nose and leaning back is a great way to stop a nosebleed -- if you don'tmind choking on your own O positive. A more civil approach: Put some cotton on your

    upper gums -- just behind that small dent below your noseand press against it, hard."Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose,"

    says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in

    Durban, South Africa. "Pressing here helps stop them."

    Make Your Heart Stand Still

    Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, which governsheart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical-

    services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. It'll get your heart rate back to normal.

    Thaw Your Brain

    Too much Chipwich too fast will freeze the brains of lesser men. As for you, press your

    tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. "Since thenerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is

    freezing, too," says Abo. "In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache."

    The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will

    subside.

    Prevent Near-Sightedness

    Poor distance vision is rarely caused by genetics, says Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist

    in Tacoma, Washington. "It's usually caused by near-point stress." In other words, staring

    at your computer screen for too long. So flex your way to 20/20 vision. Every few hoursduring the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few

    seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing

    muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles -- like the eyes -- into

    relaxing as well.

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    Wake the Dead

    If your hand falls asleep while you're driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head

    from side to side. It'll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says

    Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle ofnerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed

    nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so don't let your sleeping dogs lie. Stand up and

    walk around.

    Impress Your Friends

    Next time you're at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to theside, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his

    wrist and push down. He'll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that's a half

    inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will cave like the French. By

    misaligning his hips, you've offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-ownerof Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is

    vulnerable, so it shuts down the body's ability to resist.

    Breathe Underwater

    If you're dying to retrieve that quarter from the bottom of the pool, take several shortbreaths firstessentially, hyperventilate. When you're underwater, it's not a lack of

    oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it's the buildup of carbon dioxide, which

    makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin' ain't right. "When youhyperventilate, 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." It'll buy you up to 10 seconds.

    Read Minds

    Your own! "If you're giving a speech the next day, review it before falling asleep," says

    Candi Heimgartner, an instructor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Since

    most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is

    more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.

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    Next16 comments

    Jms2161 11:14:45 PM Aug 30 2009

    Report This!

    When I'm in the Dr.'s office getting an injection I always have his nurse sucking on my

    *ick to make the pain (so much) more tolerable...jms--H.R.I.M.

    BCHANING 11:11:55 PM Aug 30 2009

    Report This!

    Vien? Vein...

    BCHANING 11:08:54 PM Aug 30 2009

    Report This!

    When I was very young, I tried to fantasize about Elizabeth Taylor, but she was only

    three-years old at the time, and it didn't do much for me.

    BCHANING 11:07:07 PM Aug 30 2009

    Report This!

    When I was very young, I tried to fantasize about Elizabeth Taylor, but she was onlythree years old at the time, and it didn't do much for me.

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    BCHANING 11:00:50 PM Aug 30 2009

    Report This!

    I agree with tannerlanier. Other than that, most of this is just nonsense. If you have a

    throat tickle, get ready to spend a week or so with a cold. If you can't hear well, get closer

    or ljust forget about it. Probably not important. If you have to fantasize about Jessica----

    who in the heck is Jessica? Just go to the nearest facility and take a leak. Don't fight it.These are things we all have to live with. Salud!!!

    boredinmttop 10:55:32 PM Aug 30 2009

    Report This!

    i know how to stimulate your ear!.... i do it all the time on accident.... you know when

    your cleaning yours ears with a q-tip and then you cough? well same idea but you have to

    use your pinkie finger.... but if you have really big hands i would use something like apen or some...