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equalizing handsfree at depths?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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M

marin2004

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2004
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I wonder how all of you divers equalize at depths if diving with mask? I've seen Martin Stepanek videos, i believe he always wears a mask and does not use his hands to equalize. Ok, he use a nose clip but how can he equalize the space inside his mask then? I dont think its possible to equalize hands free at 100 meters. I hope this doesnt sound too confusing! :)
Thanks for opinions!
 
Q

quasimoto

New Member
Oct 27, 2004
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HI

Well i am pretty sure that most people cannot equalize at that depth, but i believe that martin stepanek can equalize hands free as deep as he can dive, he just has the ability to open his eustation(sp?) tubes without his hands. And i think that any time you saw him diving with a nose clip be had either liquid goggles or some type of pipe mask. the way most people equalize at that depth is with the frenzel technique(assuming they can get to that depth!:))
 
N

naiad

Apnea Carp
Supporter
Oct 11, 2003
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I hope it is possible to equalise hands free at depth, because it is the only way that works for me!

I'll give it a try when I get to do some proper diving, and post the results.

Lucia
 
L

Longfins

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2001
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The way I equalize hands-free is like this:

- "Pulling" the eustachian open. This is the hardest to explain and to feel. It's done by flexing the muscle behind your jawbone and inside/below your ears. When you flex this muscle you may feel your adam's apple bobbing. It helps if you can dislocate your jaw as this allows for more room back there for the muscle & tube to flex.
- You can tell the tube is open (on land) by humming. The sound will travel up the open tubes and fill your head.
- Once I feel the tubes are open, I do a Frenzel maneuver and push the air from my mouth cavity up to my nasal cavity because only half the tube is open at that point. The pressure from the Frenzel is still necessary to open the tubes all the way. So I'm essentially doing a Frenzel maneuver without the nose pinch, pushing the air up the tube. I'm pulling the tube open to allow the air to go up there.

I learned to do this on my own soon after I started freediving, and other people have learned to do it as well. Some people's physiology doesn't allow for this - big jawbone or what have you - but it's worth a try. If you can clear hands free on land already you're half way there. I started out this way.

From there I flexed my tube ~300 times a day, and hold them open with continuous flex for up to 10 minutes each day. It's just like weight lifting. You work the muscles and they became stronger. It took me 2-3 months before clearing became consistent. Handsfree equalization generates a lot less pressure than standard Frenzel, so I have to keep my vital capacity up so I have plenty of air to clear. In Martin's case his VC is so high he bobs at the surface like a buoy!

So far I have been able to do hands-free down to 40m (my pb) with still half a mouthful of air left, so I haven't reached my clearing limit yet.

Peter S.
 
J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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Having recently aquired the hands free technique, I would conjecture that it is possible to hands free at any depth at which you can cause the pressure in the sinus cavities to be equal to the pressure of the water outside your ears. Based on Eric's calculations, that should make hands free equalizing possible down to 192m to someone of his capabilities.

I personally find that I am able to transfer air to my sinus cavities directly from my lungs at 30m, but if I were to pass the depth at which I found that possible, I would switch to doing hands free via mouthfills and frenzel-sinus cavity equalization.

The important part is strengthening and isolating the musles involved in opening the tubes manually. I originally assumed that I was not capable of learning the skill, but once I did some studying on it, I found that I just needed some practice.
 
tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
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Regarding equalizing with a standard air-filled mask at depth:

Hands-free and depth, are two seperate issues.

Hands-free is the technique of being able to open the tubes and transfer air from one side of the tubes to the other. This ability, when already using frenzel to equalize, is not hindered by depth.

At depth, however, running out of a transferable air supply is a problem that does not exist at shallower depths, ~30m give or take 10m. Resolving this has many factors and techniques involved. Depth, due to lung air volume compression, does imply one can no longer efficiently perform hands-free valsalva.

If you perform hands-free frenzel at 10m, then nothing is different about performing hands-free frenzel at 200m, as long as you still find a way to get air into your mouth.

This also implies, that the advantage of being able to hold your tubes open, does not increase ones ability to dive deep.
 
J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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-This also implies, that the advantage of being able to hold your tubes open, does not increase ones ability to dive deep.

With regards to this, there are two exceptions.
1) Hands free equalization allows a person the effecient use of both hands in all propulsion cycles. This can translate into depth, especially in an art like CW w/o fins.

2) The hands free trained free diver can continue to equalize after they run out of air because at that point their mask will begin to compress providing pressure increases due to loss of volume until either the mask becomes incompressable or the mask sqeeze becomes painful. Say a person could make it to 190m before running out of air. That is 20atm. If the mask volume were exactly equal to the sinus + ear cavity volume and the mask was capable of compressing to half of its normal volume then 20*4 = x*3, x = 80/3 = 26.6... which would be like 250m. That is assuming a lot of things though. In any case, I think that there is indeed a depth increase to be had just by knowing how to hands-free. Generally speaking, the further you can dive before running out of air, the greater that increase, in meters, is going to be.
 
J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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I am not even sure if those kind of advantages are available to people with nose clips because at the point at which you are using mask compression to equalize there is no air left to push against the clip.
 
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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My experiance follows Tyler's comments. I've never learned to frenzel or mouthfill, but my e-tubes are very easy to open, hands free. When I started going deeper, I had to go to valsalva about 25 meters and was stopped cold at 32 m, tubes open but no air to clear with. After doing some pack- stretching and a lot of diaphram stretching, 35 meters, hands free was possible. Haven't had an opportunity to go deeper in the ocean, but after a modest amount of practice I can clear in the pool, hands free to 4 meters with a full exhale. That should be at least 40 m. If I reverse pack enough to suck the mask down hard on my face, valsalva again becomes necessary in the last foot or so. If the pool was 5 meters deep, I don't think I could make it.

Connor
 
J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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if mask squeeze buys you 4 meters at the surface, then it should buy you a lot more at depth... How much depends on how deep you go. It's a non-linear function of depth because it is a linear function of volume. If 30m is your cutoff for valsava, and at 30m you valsava to bring your mask and airways back to ambient pressure, then the mask squeeze portion of the dive should start at that moment. pV = kT. Assuming temperature isn't going to be having much affect on gasses:

30m = 4atm
4m = 1.4atm
4 atm *1.4 atm = 5.6 atm = 46m

@ 30m the gains of hands free equalizing should have increased from 4m to 16m.
 
tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
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JasonWelbourne said:
With regards to this, there are two exceptions.
1) ...allows a person the effecient use of both hands in all propulsion cycles...
2) The hands free trained free diver can continue to equalize after they run out of air ...
You are talking about hands-free, whereas my statements were regarding holding the tubes open, "continuous equalizing". Hands-free can be done with either technique. Holding the tubes open does not aid deep diving as opposed to periodic equalizing, in terms of assisting the ability to dive deep. The main advantage I have determined, is towards equalizing safety and stability, neither of which aid the depth directly.

That being said, I do not know anybody that does standard air-filled mask, hands-free diving to depths greater than 60m. That is somebody who does not use sinus flooding. Anybody know somebody who does? I was not aware that Martin did his whole dive under such conditions? Essentially the technique a person would have to use for greater depths, would either be:

1. hands-free one time mouthfill frenzel:
- requires one to have their mask very tight, to avoid loss of air through seepage from the mask skirt. Inadvertently this removes the compressibility of the mask and the use of any significant amount of mask air volume for equalizing.

or

2. hands-free periodic diaphramatic mouthfill frenzel (periodic below 50m):
- requires extremely well trained and controlled diaphram, abdominal, and thoracic muscles to perform a diaphramatic maneuver at depth to bring air from the lungs to the mouth, with high risks of damaging thoracic tissues. Genetic predispositions are extremely helpful.
 
Will

Will

Freediver
Jun 20, 2003
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2. hands-free periodic diaphramatic mouthfill frenzel (periodic below 50m):
- requires extremely well trained and controlled diaphram, abdominal, and thoracic muscles to perform a diaphramatic maneuver at depth to bring air from the lungs to the mouth, with high risks of damaging thoracic tissues. Genetic predispositions are extremely helpful.
Tyler isn't 'diaphragmatic mouthfill' a contradiction in terms?
I would turn off the diaphragm and leave it totally relaxed for the entire dive. This way it can be gradually pulled up by the collapsing lungs and mouthfills. My opinion is that it is easier and more efficient to suck the last remaining air out of a bag than it is to try and squeeze the air out, pushing it from all angles.
However Pelo uses and demonstrates the 'diaphragmatic manoeuvre of compensation' to great effect.
I have found the same results regarding holding the tubes open - becomes redundant after a certain depth. However it is very helpful if you want to equalise with water.
 
tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
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Will,

Ummm... didn't know how else to summarize the concept with a few words, but exactly what would the contradiction be? I was intending it to reflect the concept of still relying on the withdrawal of air from the lungs periodically throughout a deep dive. This would involve the diaphragm and even with this technique, you would not want to be performing it often, and you would not want the recovered air to be sucked back into the lungs, therefore the need to store some in the mouth, I assume. I have never actually attempted this technique, so this is a little more unfamiliar to me. Is 'diaphragmatic manoeuvre of compensation' a term reflecting this concept?

So, are you suggesting that you would think doing a reverse pack would achieve the necessary results at depth as opposed to the other muscles assisting?
 
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J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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tylerz said:
1. hands-free one time mouthfill frenzel:
- requires one to have their mask very tight, to avoid loss of air through seepage from the mask skirt. Inadvertently this removes the compressibility of the mask and the use of any significant amount of mask air volume for equalizing.

Why would this require the mask to be really tight?

I don't see how doing a full mouth-fill introduces a previously non-existant opportunity for loss of air due to seepage. I can use my tongue to push even very small amounts of air from my mouth to my nose even when I have a full mouthfill.
 
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tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
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Because at depth you can not risk the possibility of losing your air. If you have mastered the technique in terms of controlling the precise amount of force that does not cause seepage, then certainly it is possible to do it without the mask tight, however, that leaves little room for error and one must be extremely proficient at the technique. There is a difference between what one can do, and what one can rely on. I am definately intending an attempt to master that technique, but I would not yet claim it is something that can be relied on.
 
J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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It requires a slight repositioning of the tongue so as to work with smaller volumes of air, but I can equalize my ears and mask entirely from my mouth via mouthfills and not lose any air. What i do is fill my mouth with air and then put the tip of my tongue to the furthest back position from which a person can still make a "t" sound. I then perform frenzel and xfer a little bit more air from the front pocket of air to the rear pocket of air.
 
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tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
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...a previously non-existent opportunity for loss of air due to seepage.
I should not have used the term "requires", because in my mind I was addressing a generality when applying those techniques, due to the following reasons.

Do you know anybody else who relies on full-mouthfill frenzel hands-free, comfortably, on a regular basis? I don't. In general, a large percentage of people have uncontrolled, sticky, or tight eustacian tubes, which blocks the escape of air and therefore the air under pressure regularly bubbles out of the mask skirt if the nose is not pinched. For those who can voluntarily open their tubes, they often build the pressure up in the oral and nasal cavities, and then open the tubes, which means the air tends to bubble out.

So, I wouldn't call that a "non-existant opportunity", except for a person who has mastered control and sequence, or who holds the tubes open in a "continuous equalization".

I can use my tongue to push even very small amounts of air from my mouth to my nose even when I have a full mouthfill.
Even being able to push small amounts, is not the same as being able to push small amounts every time, when you need to. That is to the point where error is almost non-existant or highly unlikely. Have you ever tested this on a deep dive? I know you have been experimenting with the technique, in general, lately.
 
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tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
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JasonWelbourne said:
It requires a slight repositioning of the tongue...
So, the tip of the tongue being bent back acts as a spring to minimize the potential movement of the back of the tongue?
 
J

JasonWelbourne

New Member
Aug 17, 2004
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I will get back to you about my degree of sucess using that method sometime next year. Right now I have a bad case of the flu and can't even open my tubes because they have goo on both sides.

If it is a technique fraught with difficulty then I guess it is at best an advantage for those that can manage it. I project my sucess in learning onto the capabilities of those who have been doing this much longer than I, and in doing so, I may underestimate my own genetic predispositions. Going into things, I theorized that if any stock of human being would be mal-adapted to extreme sports it would be my own.
 
Will

Will

Freediver
Jun 20, 2003
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So, are you suggesting that you would think doing a reverse pack would achieve the necessary results at depth as opposed to the other muscles assisting?
Tyler, I believe using the muscles you talk of isn't necessarily assistance at all. By contracting these muscles you are actually adding to the resistance to lung compression. Furthermore these muscle groups consume more oxygen than those used when sucking the air out with the mouth. It is also my opinion that sudden movements of thoracic musculature at depth, where pulmonary blood pressure is critically high, may contribute to incidences of mild pulmonary oedema (spitting blood upon resurfacing). The Apnea Academy has a scientific team headed by Danilo Cialoni currently researching this theory.
Do you know anybody else who relies on full-mouthfill frenzel hands-free, comfortably, on a regular basis?
It's all I use. I can comfortably dive 60m handsfree with mask; on FRC I can equalise a mask handsfree to 35m. With a mouth full of air I use the soft palate to 'plunge' open the tubes, then as the air runs out I switch to the tongue.
I have another theory that if E tube morphology is genetic it is also malleable during primary development. From the age of 1.5 - 8 I lived on a boat and snorkelled everyday to max 15m. Many over handsfree equalisers have similar stories.
 
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