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Frenzel how can you tell ?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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looking for deeper water
Jan 26, 2002

Basically I printed the frenzel fattah document a week ago and have been practicing it every day working through the steps. I thought id go and test it yesterday in the ocean to see if I could do it.

Heres the problem I was doing what I thought was the frenzel ie i would try and close the epiglottis and use my tongue to push the air down, I could equalise by doing this but it doesnt feel any different to the valvalsa technique. I would try one technique then the other to check if I was cheating but I can't tell the difference.

So how do you know if you are doing the frenzel ?

Is the frenzel meant to feel different to the valvalsa technique ?

Does the frezel allow you to dive say x amount of metres further than the valvalsa ?

Also to do the frezel you have to have air in the mouth right, so when you dive using the frenzel do you start the dive with a mouthfill then when that runs out a certain depth do you just keep filling the mouth with air all the way to the bottom.

sorry for all the questions im just trying to work it out

If you can exhale 95% of your air and then equalize, without using your abdominal muscles, you're probably doing frenzel.

Usually, when doing frenzel at great depth, the diver makes a great effort to push air into his mouth, then does the frenzel, and this is repeated on each equalization.

In shallow water, it is different; it is so easy to get air into your mouth that there just always seems to be air there, without much conscious effort.
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It was either you or someone else who said in another thread that one way to tell was to watch you adam's apple in the mirror and feel your abdomen: if your adam's apple moves when you're equalizing and your diaphragm doesn't, you're doing Frenzel, but if your adam's apple doesn't move and your diaphragm does, you're doing Valsalva.

Is that correct? I hope so, because when I read that I stopped going through your document as I realized that I'd always been doing Frenzel even though I'm not exactly aware of tongue movements etc.

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Thanks for the help guys

A couple more questions, does doing the frenzel have a noticable different feeling in effort compared to the valvalsa ?

Also is it possible to use the valvalsa to say 15m behind your max equalising depth then do a mouthfill close the epiglottis and then use the frenzel for the last part of the dive ?

If the above works to me this would be better because I cant relax properly doing the frenzel becasue my mind is concentrating very hard to do all the muscle movements correctly, compared to the valvalsa where it is so relaxing and natural to just dive.

Has anyone out there tried using valvalsa then doing a mouthfill at the end of the dive ?

Frenzel should be very effortless, if not you are probably doing something wrong. To check that you are doing frenzel and not valsalva try to completely empty out your lungs (keep a mouthful of air) and try equalizing with frenzel..... it should still work fine. I almost always use frenzel.
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4 things i find very helpful:

1.practising after a forcefull exhale as mentioned already. no way you are valsalva equalising then.
2. to be sure you have the glottis closed do a very slow exhale through your mouth while constricting your throat more and more. that will cause you to make a rather raspy/choking sound (someone described it as the sound you make when sitting on the bog squeezing hard...)
this exercise makes it easy to get a feeling for what the epiglottis really does and eventually it will be easy to do after a full inhale.
3. when closing your nose with your fingers hold them as low as possible. this will allow your nostrils to balloon out a bit (you can see it and feel it very well). if they are, then air is pushed into the right direction (tubes) and you will equalise. if you accidentally valsalva equalise, there will be no ballooning.
4.the tongue action can also be described as trying to make a k- or g-sound. if you do this with a closed epiglottis it will be a sharp and very short sound. if your glottis is open it will sound like a long continuous sigh (because air is coming from your lungs)

Thanks for all the tips guys I will keep practicing and report back :)

Good tips Roland! :)
immerlustig said:
if you accidentally valsalva equalise, there will be no ballooning.
Huh?! I see no reason in that... and my valsava does that just as easly....
Can you explain?
Immerlustig, No3 is not right. Your nostrils will "balloon" both with the Frenzel AND the Valsalva. The air, in both techniques is forced in the eustachian tube for the same reason: pressure -> air finds its way into the middle ear.

The difference is in the WAY this pressure is created. And with the Valsalva, the pressure is also created in the lungs too.

The Frenzel, if done right, should feel much more easier to do and much more efficient and "fast".
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very true, guys. what i meant was to frenzel equalise after a full exhale. if you get your nostrils to inflate then you must be doing something right.

Ivan, you can tell the difference between frenzel and valsalva by how much preasure you develop on your nose. Try a valsalva, then a frenzel. The latter will develop much more preasure. If not, something is not right with your technique.

Just a general observation, It is very hard to describe what the throat is doing when equalizing. There seem to be a great many different perceptions of what is going on. Eric's paper is great, by far the best overall source, but I could not figure out how to frenzel from it. Something else I read in some thread happened to hit me just right and suddenly it was easy. Try reading and thinking about every thread you can find on frensel technique

Here is some info that will encourage you, just tried this out of curiosity. If I valsalva and don't intentially open the e-valves, there isn't enough preasure to force the tubes open. A fairly soft frenzel forces the tubes open even when I am trying to keep them closed. If your ears are sticky at all, it is well worth learning the frenzel.

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Just thought id add an update on something new that i tried yesterday. In erics paper he mentions taking a sip of water and closing the epiglottis to stop water from going down the throat. Well yesterday I tried taking a sip of water, filling my mouth with air then closing my epiglottis and tilting my head back. I then tried to do step 6 which is to squash the cheeks to try and force air out the nose. Well I found that I couldnt do it, it was getting jammed which means that previously I must have been cheating and opening the epiglottis without knowing it which was causing air to come out the nose.


In my opinion the easiest way to determine whether you do frenzel or not is to exhale as much as possible AND SUCK THE DIAPHRAGM UPWARDS. If you can equalize in this state without releasing the "suck" you are doing a frenzel.
wow this has been one confusing week, and ive just realised, ive been frenzeling ever since i was an embryo!
i tried opening my glottis and blowing with my lings, and i realised it was something ihad never done, and i tried the water in mouth idea and the empty lung, and ive been frenzling all along
i guess im just one of the lucky ones.
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