Bippity Boppity (Not) Woo
March 12, 2018 1:46 PM   Subscribe

No matter how improbable the Epley Maneuver and EMDR seem as solutions (because they seem too impossibly simple to "work"), they nonetheless do as intended. What other "Oh, c'mon!" things that seem silly or "too easy" actually work?

Recently, I was talking with someone about how the Epley Maneuver seems (to the lay person) to be a ridiculous and improbable solution for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), but I've had it work (two separate times) for my own occurrences, and had myself hailed as a miracle worker when I showed a YouTube video of the maneuver to a woman who woke up with BPPV at a conference we attended, followed the method, and felt better almost immediately. It looks like you're just moving around -- how could that possibly help something so agonizingly dizzying? But it does.

Yesterday, I was talking with someone who explained how EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) literally saved his sanity after years of dealing with PTSD, and I've known other people who believed it to be a powerful and effective therapy. And yet, it seems like it's just "moving your eyes around" and it's easy to see how people might be dubious.

While both of these examples are medical in nature, I'm open to technology, mechanics, cooking, etc., as long as it's something that seems too simple to yield any/much faith given the weirdness or simplicity, but generally yields a replicable result. (For the purposes of this AskMe, I'm less interested in things involving human relations, like how being polite, writing thank you notes, or praising people in public might yield positive behavior in others.)

I'm not just looking for potentially-great, though simple solutions (like the recent attempts to cure sepsis using a combination of Vitamin C, thiamine and hydrocortisone), but solutions that the average* person might look at and think, "Well, that must be a lot of hooey."

*Average may vary and must obviously include some flexibility for cultural background. While I was dubious and subsequently delighted that acupuncture could quickly reverse my springtime sinus/allergy symptoms, I'm sure many people wouldn't have doubted in the first place.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
"The Hold" will quickly calm a crying infant.
posted by muddgirl at 1:54 PM on March 12 [19 favorites]

A while back, I wrote about Chapman Reflexes, which is massaging a spot on your upper abdomen that miraculously releases piriformis pain.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:02 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]

The miracle cure for hiccoughs which involves blocking the ears by pushing in both left and right tragus and then getting the sufferer to drink a glass of water. Wonderful to know more for the look of unfulfilled "waiting for it" disbelief on the relieved person's face over and above any good Samaritan points.
posted by protorp at 2:11 PM on March 12 [13 favorites]

I have no idea if these qualify, but:

- If your fingertips touch something too hot, grab your earlobes and the heat/pain seems to dissipate a lot more quickly. ("Too hot" = too-hot-to-be-comfortable mug of tea, not like gripping hot cast iron or boiling oil or anything that would require first aid. Please get first aid for that.)

- If you store celery stalks wrapped in tinfoil in the fridge, they stay crisp ages longer than in a plastic bag or just loose in the vegetable bin. (I had one bunch that lasted weeks and weeks.)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 2:38 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

Brain freeze from ice cream? Grip the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger fairly tightly between your other thumb and index finger and it will ease. Seemingly icing the same area can be effective for toothache.
posted by scruss at 3:02 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

Drawing tip: if you are trying to copy an image and having trouble, turn the original upside-down. It helps you draw what you actually see, not what you think you see.
posted by prewar lemonade at 3:05 PM on March 12 [5 favorites]

I've written before about peppermint for IBS/stomach troubles as recommended by my doctor.
It sounds like total bullshit but it works. Like, actually life changing works for me after nothing else really has.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:22 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]

Mindfulness meditation - just sitting and focusing on the present has lots of benefits that seem out of proportion to what you're doing.
posted by momus_window at 3:45 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]

While everyone tends to poopoo essential oils clove oil for toothache pain caused by a cavity actually works, if only temporarily it can tide you over until you see a dentist. Put a small drop on the area. It is a natural Antiseptic & anesthetic.
posted by wwax at 4:02 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]

"Take a deep breath" is advice that most people seem to take metaphorically. But it's unbelievable how much it helps with anxiety.
posted by wnissen at 4:03 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]

Valsalva maneuver.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:25 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

This method to stop a sneeze works a good deal of the time - you really want to push the area under your nose into your gum/top of your teeth when you are applying the pressure. (I know it is not good to stop a sneeze, but occasionally you really need to.)
posted by gudrun at 5:47 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Brain freeze from ice cream?

Same with pushing up on the soft palate in the back of your mouth with your tongue.

And hey I just used the Epley yesterday to cure my vertigo, like a charm it works!
posted by jessamyn at 7:24 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Thundershirts work for lots of pets during storms, fireworks and other anxious times.
There are acupressure wrist bands for motion sickness that work well.
Sensory treatments for kids involve brushing their bodies with a plastic comb.

I think hydraulics are magic.

I’ve needed both EMDR and the Epley! Both worked for me!
I’m sure there are lots more examples from chiropractic /PT.
posted by littlewater at 7:25 PM on March 12

Oh, definitely the mammalian diving reflex.
posted by athirstforsalt at 8:14 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]

A family member uses a revert method to knock out his SVT when his heart takes off, if a vagal maneuver doesn’t take care of it. We still prep for an ER trip & let his doc know of the episode.
posted by childofTethys at 8:42 PM on March 12

If you live in a cold, cloudy, northern place where the days are short in winter, Vitamin D supplements can really help overall mood and ability to sleep, if you can’t get enough strong sunlight to manufacture enough of your own.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:07 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]

An old coworker told me to take Excedrin with Mountain Dew when you get a migraine. The extra caffeine in the soda seems to help more than just taking the Excedrin (which also has caffeine in it).
posted by jabes at 8:47 AM on March 13

For headaches that come when turning or leaning your head, the oddly specific movements on this page.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:19 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

Plantain (the weed, not the food plant) is a folk remedy for bee stings and other inflammation. I've tried it and despite my skepticism, it really seems to reduce the pain. There's at least one study that suggests a mechanism for its properties.
posted by toastedcheese at 9:30 AM on March 13

More acupressure: yanking the short hairs on the back of your neck will stop a nosebleed.
posted by clavicle at 10:47 AM on March 13

Oh, the Nick Offerman Hiccup Remedy works a treat as well. Click the tiny 'Listen' button on the icon to hear it.

TL;DL - Imagining a giant disembodied hand holding a giant door closed with one finger stops your diaphragm spasming. It totally works too.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:17 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

A surprising (to me, anyway) number of people have no idea how modern toilets work, and it's remarkably simple. These people believe that there's some sort of valve or other mechanical contraption keeping the water from rushing out of the bowl, but it's all physics. The only valve is the flapper in the tank.

Toilets have an S-bend at the outlet which is designed in such a way that, when the toilet is filled, the first half of the S has water in it but the second bend does not. The contents of the toilet have to travel over that second bend to exit the toilet. If you slowly add water to the bowl, the liquid will slosh over the bend; however, if you suddenly add a large amount of liquid to the bowl it will force a slug of water into the bend, completely filling the pipe. This creates a siphon, and since water is incompressible* everything in the bowl flows out as one unit. The tank is there to provide that first large rush of water to get the siphon started.

In fact, you don't need the tank to flush the toilet - just fill up a gallon bucket in the sink and pour it quickly in to the bowl. This is also why the water level in the bowl doesn't go up when you, em, go.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:31 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

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