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What is the Science Behind How the ‘Uno Dos Tres’ Gag Reflex Hack Works?

A viral trend has emerged on TikTok where people claim to have found a way to suppress their gag reflex by following a simple procedure. As you’ll see the alleged steps to make this happen seem too strange to be real, but they also be a sign scientists still have a lot to discover about the human body.

How Does the ‘Uno Dos Tres’ No Gag Reflex Hack Work From Scientific Standpoint?

The hack involves sticking a finger down one’s throat to induce the gag reflex, then holding the bridge of the nose and saying “uno dos tres”. Next, the person flicks the left side of their forehead three times while counting “uno dos tres” again. Finally, the person repeats the finger-down-the-throat test, and finds that their gag reflex is gone. Does this hack really work, and if so, how?

The gag reflex, also known as the pharyngeal reflex, is a natural defense mechanism that prevents choking and swallowing potentially harmful substances. It is triggered by touching the roof of the mouth, the back of the tongue, the area around the tonsils, or the back of the throat. When this happens, the pharynx contracts and the larynx pushes up to block the entry to the throat. This process is controlled by muscles and nerves and is known as a neuromuscular action.

Some people have a more sensitive gag reflex than others, which can cause problems in situations such as taking medicine tablet. There are various methods that can allegedly help reduce or suppress the gag reflex, such as numbing the soft palate, stimulating the taste buds, squeezing the thumb, applying pressure to certain points on the hand or face, or using relaxation or distraction techniques.

The uno dos tres hack seems to combine some of these methods in an attempt to desensitize or distract from the gag reflex. By holding the nose and saying “uno dos tres”, the person may be stimulating their sense of smell and hearing, which could interfere with the sensory input from the throat.

By flicking the forehead, the person may be applying pressure to a point that affects the nerves involved in the gag reflex. By repeating these steps three times, the person may be creating a conditioned response that associates these actions with a reduced gag reflex.


There is no concrete scientific evidence that this hack actually works for everyone, or that it has any lasting effects. It’s also possible the social media influencers are faking it as well. However, in theory it’s possible something like this could work since a person’s gag reflex can be altered by their own mind according to science.