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Apnea promotes genius (extreme intellectual ability)?

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New Member
Jun 22, 2002
The Oxygen Factor

In Win Wenger´s opus “The Einstein Factor” in a chapter entitled as the title of this discourse, he mentions the tale of Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats. He is, without a doubt the most prolific inventor of all times. At the time of publication of Wenger´s book he had patented 2,356 patents. According to Success magazine, when NakaMats wishes to brainstorm (as explained by Wenger´s book), he plunges into the swimming pool and swims underwater as long as he can. While he does this he scribbles ideas on a Plexiglas slate he invented for the purpose. ONLY when he cannot hold his breath another second does NakaMats finally resurface. He claims to get his best ideas through this method, which he calls “swim till almost die”.

Wenger claims that NakaMats´underwater swimming technique has a firm basis in the physiology of the brain. He says that whenever the carbon dioxide content of the blood increases, our bodies interpret it to mean that our oxygen supply is being cut off. In response, the carotid arteries that carry blood to our heads open wide and allow more blood to flow through them, drenching the brain in an unusually rich flow of oxygenated blood. Wenger even mentions the Diving Response as another way the brain enriches its flow of blood as espoused by the “Aquatic Ape Theory”.

Wenger himself claims he had phenomenal results with this type of training. So the question is: Does apnea training increase permanently cerebral blood flow and therefore increases brain power? What do you think?

Well I've done a lot of smart things since I started training. Of course this depends on who you ask -- some people seem to think that diving to 25m without a tank isn't very smart.

Hahaha, nice story. Certanly hope he's right..

Seriously, there have been some research on the subject and I think I remember a scientist that tried to help people with brain-damage using apnea. He said new braincells could wake up or something. Don't remember too much of it though.
Well, I don't know about replacing brain cells, but I do know that experiments with animals in hypoxic situations create large amounts of microcapillary growth, which would make the cardio-vascular system much more efficient under normoxic conditions....so start holding your breath: it's good for you. The yogis have known this for thousands of years too.
Erik Y.
Thank you for your replies!

Thank you for your replies!. I will quote 2 persons who posted in another thread, since their posts seems better fitted to this one.

Originally posted by Jesper Juul
I am in the IT business too.

Recently I had a strange feeling that my freediving activities actually enhances my ability to think in such a way that complex IT problems becomes much easier to solve.

I recently reviewed some source code from a project I made before I started freediving. Now I am able to spot a lot of bugs just by looking at the source code. I easily optimized some complex recursive functions. I remember that I earlier used countless hours even to get the same functions working.

Perhaps this has nothing to do with freediving, but I have a strange feeling that freediving has enhanced my IQ.

Sometimes I even laugh of my self because I in the past has solved some programming tasks in a stupid way. Now I am able to make a simpler and more streamlined solution.

Does anybody else have similar expirence?


Gaining or loosing IQ

i agree that since i started doing freediving i have benefitted in my work as well.I am more focused and i find problem solving a great challenge.

Also less stress, if something upsets me i just picture myself diving, going through my predive prep and all my worries get left behind.

So let's get a workshop going where we sell to the IT world that freedivers are more productive people!!!!!!


Also, many people in this forum seem to work in IT, i do not think this is a coincidence!.

Quite a few studies about apnea training and intellectual ability seem to be in order!

Best Regards

Im quoting this from another thread:

"...Personally I think my mind has sharpened up from freediving; especially when I do daily hard static sets....

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada"

Here you have it folks, from the master himself!

Dopamine Enhancement?

Here is an interesting excerpt from another thread that might point to an interesting effect of apnea:

"You will probably find that very intense, long static’s, done every day, affect your libido.

The reason can be easily found in the literature of the east. Both yoga and chi-gong speak of the 'change' in the flow of energy in the body caused by holding the breath. In fact, by controlling your breath, your can control your arousal when you are with your partner. When you are doing 'the act', exhale and hold, and your libido decreases at that moment, inhale and hold, and your libido will continue to increase.

I have done a lot of chi-gong and yoga, and I can sense the change in the flow of energy in my body during static’s.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada"

It is well known that dopamine increases libido. The increase in libido acknowledged by many free divers (especially after intense sessions of static apnea) might be best explained by a greater release of dopamine in the brain. And since dopamine can be transformed into norepinephrine, this could explain the augmentation of the state of euphoria experienced by most divers during the day after training sessions. All this is pertinent because dopamine and norepinephrine are "smart" neurotransmitters that augment memory and higher cortical functions ("intelligence").

So my libido is kinda like my Mojo then, right? So if I do lotsa static for extended periods does that mean I will increase my Mojo too?
MoRe mOjO!

Yes ApneaBlue seems like lots of statics makes your body produce much more MoJo juicE!. And if you want to increase the release of the right neurotransmitters even more, just take about 1 gm. of Tyrosine and a good wallop of B6, and IF YOUR NOT PHENYLCETONURIC you can take phenylalanine too! (this will increase tremendously the production of dopamine).



It is well known in both aquatic animals and humans that both epinephrine and norepinephrine are massively elevated after extreme dives & breath-holds. Among other things, they are secreted by the adrenals to help you stay conscious and keep you alive when you need it most; yet another reason to avoid sweets to keep your adrenals healthy...

However, I didn't know that norepinephrine affected libido...

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
It's good reading this thread.

You have no idea the number of times people ask me how do I prevent from getting brain damage when breath holding. :head
Originally posted by Walrus
It's good reading this thread.

You have no idea the number of times people ask me how do I prevent from getting brain damage when breath holding. :head

true all of what Walrus says, even the biology teacher at school was wondering why i wasnt dead when i said "4:30" :naughty i got a funny look, and then he started talking to me like i was in grd. 2:hmm and then i tried to explain to him that i wasnt killing myself, but then i gave up....
looks like im giving this to him as a reference

More good news!

It is a nice thing to know that this sport makes you smarter!

Dopamine is the libido increasing substance, and since dopamine gets transformed in the brain for example to norepinephrine, you get fat loss and a higher energy level too.

Here is another good effect of breath holding:

(Excerpt from "The Einstein Factor" by Win Wenger, page 222-223 copyright Prima Publishing 1996)

"The Attention Pacemaker

In the 1980's, former Secretary of State George Schultz proved surprisingly ineffective during his first years under President Ronald Reagan. Despite his high intelligence and sterling track record, he seemed unable to formulate a coherent foreign policy and floundered desperately in cabinet meetings, unable to effectively defend his positions, It’s not hard to see why. Videotapes of his TV interviews during those years show that he was always very short of breath and often had to pant before he could finish a sentence. The resultant damage to his attention span seriously impaired his ability to perform.

Try it yourself. After returning out of breath from your next jog, try focusing on some intellectual activity, such as reading a book. You won’t be able to concentrate until after your breathing has settled down. Your breath is, in effect, a pacemaker for your attention. If you take short breaths, you will tend to have short bursts of attention and to speak in short sentences. Deep, full breaths will enable you to speak in longer, more complex sentences and to form deeper thoughts.

Underwater swimming is the best remedy for over-short breath. The longer you practice it, the longer you will be able to sustain a single breath-- and a single thought. Who knows... Perhaps the Iran-Contra scandal would not have gotten so out of hand had George Schultz spent an hour a day in the swimming pool!"

There is much more to say about this topic. German philosophy is so impressive in part because it has never suffered the disastrous effects of English "proper guidelines for writing". One of the cardinal rules of writing in English (a stupid rule at that), is that you should write in short sentences. A case study of super brain power for using long sentences is German philosopher Edmund Husserl. One of his books contains a one and a half page paragraph!. Just imagine the memory, concentration, focus, etc that it is required to understand such a long sentence, not to mention to create it!. When you read short sentences, write short sentences you will think short sentences and condemn yourself to short thoughts (and the shorter the more banal they will be!). So, practice apnea and start writing, speaking and thinking in long sentences while you hold your breath!

writing styles...

I remember at one point in school, prbably around 8th or 9th grade, that our english teacher suggested the local newspaper as an example of the proper sentance structure and length we should be aiming for. Her comment was that except for certain specific circumstances, such as college level papers, we should always strive to write in such a manner and to keep the writing on a 6th-8th grade reading level. Needless to say many of my papers that years were deemed to be full of "run-on sentances".

I have always felt that if you only ever read 6th grade material, all you'll ever be able to understand is 6th grade material. I don't subscribe to any newspapers. Never have and doubt I ever will. If I want the news in bits and bites I'll turn the TV on.

Gabriel, you've several nice threads going at the moment. Thanks for the excellent lunch time reading.
In Canada where I used to live, the so-called "liberal-left" paper was at a grade 6 level and the "conservative-right" paper was at a grade 3 to 4 level. Remember that I am talking about a North American grade level, which tends to be lower than other countries such as the UK and Cuba, so we're talking LOW levels here :(
Gabriel, keep posting please :)
Erik Y.
Originally posted by Erik
In Canada where I used to live, the so-called "liberal-left" paper was at a grade 6 level and the "conservative-right" paper was at a grade 3 to 4 level. Remember that I am talking about a North American grade level, which tends to be lower than other countries such as the UK and Cuba, so we're talking LOW levels here :(
Gabriel, keep posting please :)
Erik Y.

Yes, illiteracy levels are shamefully high. All you have to do is go and read any of the North American dominated UBB/vBB boards out on the Internet, and it should become clear how bad it really is. A very large number of people simply cannot comprehend properly written English, and even more either aren't capable of writing or don't take communicating seriously enough to even try for correctness (which is as bad or worse, in my opinion).

This board is a pleasant change, by the way. Must be all that breath holding.
Originally posted by Erik
Remember that I am talking about a North American grade level, which tends to be lower than other countries such as the UK and Cuba, so we're talking LOW levels here :(

Aye wuz so plaesed 2 see us Britsh r so well regrdd, we was proude of are educatn

In all seriousness though - I have to say i'm very pleased to see the standard of posting on these forums!
EdHand, very interesting observations! Yes, it appears that the media (in this case TV and Newspapers) want to shorten our attention span and therefore contract our mind. Thank you for being interested!.

Erik, your observations about the intellectual level of the left and right are amazing. I had the opportunity to observe this first hand when I studied Philosophy. The teachers on the right side of the spectrum seemed to be infinitely inferior intellectually to the ones on the left. Since to me intellectual development is just like any other activity that can be increased by exercise (in this case by playing games such as Thinkfast ®), it was obvious that the reading material in both camps was very different. And yes, upon examination of the texts recommended by the left, the phrases were much larger than the ones contained in the “textbooks” suggested by the right (for example Hegel vs. Adam Smith). Please do not make any inference about my own particular political affiliations since I am just stating a fact… Thank you for your support Erik and I hope you keep posting too .

A Brownsword, yes, illiteracy seems to be very high, in fact, I read somewhere that a great percentage of 9th graders were illiterate in practice (in USA)…

Stephan Whelan, I think it is no joke that the standard of posting on these forums is so high (and friendly!). There must be a reason why this sport attracts so many gifted people (and perhaps it makes them more gifted still).

Here is one more tidbit on the benefits of free diving:

((Excerpt from "The Einstein Factor" by Win Wenger, page 219-220 copyright Prima Publishing 1996)

“The Diving Response”

Any kind of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as jogging or stair-stepping, will increase your CO2 level and improve circulation to your brain. Underwater swimming, however, is far more effective, in my opinion, than any other type of exercise.

Underwater swimming stimulates what marine biologists call the diving response. When we dive, the body increases blood flow not only to the brain but to every other major organ as well. This response is common to all mammals and may partially explain why whales and dolphins –perhaps the champion breath holders of all time—have evolved brains as complex and powerful as our own.

In the 1930.s, British marine biologist Alister Hardy proposed that our ancestors may have lived mainly in the water. The aquatic ape theory (AAT) best explains why we lost our fur coat; why we have a layer of fat beneath our skin like whales, dolphins, seals, and hippopotami; why we have conscious control of our breathing (other land mammals don’t): why we stand upright (to keep our heads above water in shallow marshes); and why we have sebaceous glands, which secrete waterproof oils on our skin. If our ancestors really were aquatic apes, heir deep-diving habits may largely explain why they developed big brains. We can emulate that same evolutionary path through underwater swimming.”



I used to play ThinkFast!(TM) all the time, but I lent my CD to a friend who left the country.

At the time I was correlating my diet with my scores. The best series I had was about 2 weeks where I would always get BrainMaster or BrainMaster+1. How do you do in that game? In the BrainMaster hall of fame some guy got BrainMaster+26 or something.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada