Using Acupressure to Stop the Gag Reflex (+Video)

by Sarah Natural RemediesComments: 25

Acupressure to turn off the gag reflex
The gag reflex is a term used to describe an unpleasant, involuntary contraction of the back of the throat. The gag reflex can be stimulated not only by touching the back of the throat but also by touching the roof of the mouth, the back of the tongue, or the area around the tonsils.

About 37% of healthy adults do not have a gag reflex at all according to a study published in the Lancet . If you’ve ever attended a college fraternity party, you’ve likely seem this demonstrated first hand. You know, the fraternity brother who is able to drink down an entire beer in a single gulp!

On the other hand, 10-15% of people have a hypersensitive gag reflex which can lead to fear of the dentist, difficulty eating sticky foods and even picking eating and malnourishment in the most severe of cases. One of my sisters has a hypersensitive gag reflex which even caused her difficulties when brushing her teeth while we were growing up.

The good news is that this bothersome reflex can be turned off temporarily using acupressure.

Acupressure is a technique used in alternative medicine very similar to acupuncture. While acupuncture employs needles to stimulate pressure points on the body, acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure making it ideal for self treatment where and when necessary.

Developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago, acupressure is dismissed as an irrational and dubious practice by conventional medicine. Yet, if you have ever used it yourself, you have probably experienced how gentle and effective acupressure can be to elicit a certain response from the body. The techniques can be used over and over again as needed to relieve pain, enhance relaxation and even initiate labor!

I have personally used acupressure for over 20 years to prevent seasickness whenever I travel or vacation by boat. I’ve used the same technique to prevent carsickness and airsickness in my children when necessary.

Acupressure Stops the Gag Reflex for About 30 Seconds

One of the most frequent emails I receive on a regular basis is from parents who have trouble giving their children a daily dose of fermented cod liver oil due to a severe gag reflex that leaves a big mess on the floor over and over again.

With fermented cod liver oil arguably the most important food based supplement you can provide your family to boost immunity and keep everyone off antibiotics when illness does (infrequently ) strike, this is a serious problem!

In the video below, I demonstrate exactly how to use acupressure to your advantage to temporarily halt the gag reflex to enable your family to take their fermented cod liver oil with no gagging and no mess.

While there are a number of acupressure points that can assist with shutting down the gag reflex, the one I show you in the video is by far the easiest for children (or you!) do perform themselves.

All you have to do is make a tight fist with your left hand with the thumb inside and hold it for a few seconds.

That’s it!

This acupressure technique will even work if your gag reflex has already been stimulated and your child is starting to gag. Just quickly do what I show you below and the gag reflex will magically turn off!  In our family’s experience, the gag reflex is immediately turned off for about 30 seconds when this acupressure technique is employed.

My husband used this technique this morning which is what gave me the idea for this post … he has a penchant for ultra strong homemade kefir fermented on the counter for a couple weeks at a time and never refrigerated.  The kefir is so strong tasting in fact that if you drink it too quickly (which he does at room temperature by sticking a straw right in the mason jar to take a gulp) you will gag!  He drank a little too fast this morning and using this acupressure technique, saved himself from what promised to be a highly unpleasant experience!

Do you have another acupressure technique that you’ve tried that temporarily blocks the gag reflex?  Please share in the comments section.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Pharyngeal sensation and gag reflex in healthy subjects

Hate going to the dentist? Acupuncture could help ease some anxiety: study

Why Does Making A Fist Stop The Gag Reflex?

Picture Credit

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