Dealing with a Nose Bleed? Give it the Finger!

Nosebleeds are not uncommon in martial arts schools. They can occur randomly during exertion or from being punched in the nose. There have always been disputes as the best way to stop a nose bleed. Some say to pinch your nose at the bridge and hold your head forward. Some say to pinch and hold your head back. I say give it the finger.

The method I use has worked every time I’ve used it and seen it used. I first saw it demonstrated during a black belt seminar when Professor Georges Sylvain, the founder of Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, used it to help a student who didn’t manage to keep his hands up high enough during a 2-on-1 sparring session. It looks crude and is mildly painful, but it works.

Here’s how it’s done. Support the back your patient (or victim’s) head with one hand. With the other hand, use your middle finger or the blade of your index finger to drive in and up into the infra-orbital nerve under the base of the nose at the top of upper lip (see photo below). Apply even pressure and hold the position for 30-40 seconds. The person receiving the treatment will likely experience mild discomfort (it is a pressure point). After the 30-40 seconds is up, gently ease off the pressure. The nosebleed should be gone. DO NOT use this method of the student is bleeding profusely and a broken nose is suspected.

I used this method just last night on a student who had a random nosebleed during class. He said it worked brilliantly at stopping the bleeding, plus his airway was clear since there was no clot blocking the passage. This is because it doesn’t work the same as the other methods that work on the basis of creating a clot. I think maybe the nerve stimulation causes blood flow to be directed away from the area. I don’t know for certain why it works, but it does. Every single time.

Give it a try, but do so at your own discretion and risk. I’m not a doctor, though doctors in my class have been impressed by its effectiveness.

Comments (6)

6 thoughts on “Dealing with a Nose Bleed? Give it the Finger!

  1. Hi Lori.

    No matter what affect the pressure point has it must still be forming a clot, maybe by reducing blood flow the clot is msaller and so quicker to form.

    I would however advise ALL readers one important modifcation to this method – for your OWN safety wear gloves !

  2. Oh for sure. Every first aid kit should have a pair of gloves for safety for stuff like this. It didn’t occur to me to use them for the photos.

  3. Just caught a knuckle while sweeping opponent in bjj tonight. Felt bad for getting blood on him and i couldnt get it to stop.. I had to bail lol, i will try this next time, can you do it on yourself?

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