The human body is a machine that is full of wonder. Whether you are suffering from illness, discomfort, lack of breath under water or you simply need to awaken your senses this great list will be for you. This collection of human body facts will leave you wondering why in the heck we were designed the way we were.
1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear!
When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, but you’re more discriminating. Take that tickle 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.”
2. Feel no pain!
This one seems dangerous. 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. I might try this when I stub a toe, but not when getting stuck with a needle.
3. Clear your stuffed nose!
Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately 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 assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain.
4. Fight fire without water!
Worried those wings will repeat on you tonight? “Sleep on your 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. The esophagus 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 your favor.
5. Cure your toothache without opening your mouth!
Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and 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.
6. Stop the world from spinning!
One too many drinks left you dizzy? Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance — the cupola — floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. “As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupola, the cupola becomes less dense and rises,” says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input 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.
7. Read minds!
Your own! “If you’re giving a speech or exam 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. This includes matching, multiple. choice, True/False on exams, recognizing someone you know.
8. Beat Stress with Your Thumb!
Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, also called pneumogastric nerve or cranial nerve X which governs heart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical- services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. To be specific, the vagus nerve acts to lower the heart rate. It’ll get your heart rate back to normal.
9. Stanch blood with a single finger!
Pinching your nose and leaning back is a great way to stop a nosebleed — if you don’t mind choking on your own O positive. A more civil approach: Put some cotton on your upper gums — just behind that small dent below your nose — and 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.”
10. Impress your friends!
Next time you’re at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, 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-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body’s ability to resist.