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Frenzel technique , I find it hard in Step #7 !!!!!

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New Member
Nov 8, 2004

I am from Greece and this is my first post. I try to learn the Frenzel technique from the step-by-step document and I find it hard in Step #7. The most difficult step , supposed to be the step #6. This is the step in which you must put air in your mouth and then you maut squish the cheeks and send the air to the closed nose. I can do this , easily. But when i use the tangue like a piston to push the air to my nose and ears I fail down. I can't push the air from my mouth to my nose , using the tongue. I think it's easy to use the tounge like a piston.
I try to find out what I'm doing wrong. If anyone could help , I would appreciate this.
When I push the air from my mouth to my nose , using the tong like a piston , I must feel the air flooding my nose , like the step #6 , isn't so?
How much time did you spend until you accomplish frenzel technique.
Please , help a Greek guy in nervous breakdown eve.

Thanks a lot
Learning how to equalize with my cheeks helped me quite a lot, shortly after that I learned how to do it with my tongue. But I guess you can do that already. It took me 1-2 months to do frenzel in the water.

You could try pressing air against the soft palate and then just concentrating to open it.
I'm by no rights an expert on this, but it sounds to me like you propably subconciously open the epiglottis right when you push the air with your tongue. For me it was really hard to learn to control that. I used to do a sort of "half-frenzel", where I would push air with my cheeks and throat, epiglottis closed, to the nose. But as soon as I brought the tongue into play, I would open the epiglottis and not notice it.

The fact is, if you have your epiglottis closed, mouth closed, nose pinched and soft palate open, the air has NOWHERE else to go, except the right place (nose/etubes). So either your epiglottis or softpalate must be in the wrong position. They are very easy to miss: you think you got it where you want it, but once you start to play around with the tongue, you release them and don't necessarily realize it.

It's sort of like learning to play the drums: the hardest thing in the beginning is to learn to let different limbs go in different rythm. They will want to move simultaneously...But all it takes is some patience and practise.

The breakthrough for me (picked up from a post here in db), was to make a sort of "unngh" sound (the way you would pronounce the "ng" part of a word such as "ending"). While moving the tongue. For a while, I had to make this funny noise every time I tried to do a "pure" Frenzel or mouthfill, but after a while I learned to control it conciously...I just had to realize what was wrong first.

For a long time I thought I was doing a frenzel, but trying a mouthfill on heavy negative packing revealed the truth: every time I tried to move my tongue, I opened my epiglottis and the air would literally get sucked to the lungs...It may be helpfull to try this, but be warned: don't play around with negative packing in the pool alone. Always have someone watch you carefully and take it slooooow. Not only can you black out and get "lung squeeze", but the sensations can be so uncomfortable (if you aren't used to it), that I've seen (and felt) it cause allmost a panic-like sensation even in the pool. Needles to say it could lead to nasty results.

Hope this helps!
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LJL thanks for your answer.
Well , the problem is I can't do the frenzel technique OUT of the water. I can push air to my nose compressing my cheeks but I can't do this with my tongue. I guess when I , doing the frenzel technique, try to send the air to my ears I must send the air to my nose , too.
I guess , when I am doing frenzel and moving my tongue , feel my nose blow up , then I know that I managed the tecnique. Isn't so ?
kpk: have you tried in the water but going feet first?

If your nose "blows up", you are propably doing at least something quite right. Then the problem sounds like you etubes are just too tight when in inverted position. In that case you might want to play around with changing the position and in the end learning to control the tubes (there are some threads on hands free equalizing that should get you started. But learning to yawn on command is a good start ;)
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I tried the "ng" tip and I think I am in the wright way. I almost did tit. First big fish with frenzel , is yours.
Any other tip?

Thanks a lot , friend
I think Simo is absolutely right. Seems like you have some problems with E-tubes opening. What method of equalizing were you using before Frenzel? Was it successful?

BTW, this "Ng" sound is something what bothers me a lot.
Every time while doing CW dive, when reaching 25m, I have to stop because I can't equalize. The only thing I can do is this "Ng". My VTC is something like 6l and I just can't believe this depth to be the one for doing moutfill.
Everything goes right until some 20m where I have to equalize my mask and after that I just can't make Frenzel work.
Thanks for your answers
My problem was that I couldn't reach the frenzel technique OUT OF THE WATER. I had to do this out of the water before try this in the water.
Now with the "ng" tip I can do it better, I think.
The "ng" while the tongue is moving backward , is like "doing Vaslava while doing Frenzel". In fact , you blow air to your nose , isn't so Simo? The epiglotis is open while doing this "ng". But it helps. It really helps.
Now one more question : While I am doing the frenzel technique , I feel the air pressure to my nose AND TO MY EARS. But I can't hear the instant "pop" or "click" from my ears. I DO FEEL THE PREASURE TO MY EARS.
Do you always hear the "pop" sound from your ears when you do the frenzel technique out of the water?

Thanks in advance
Every time when I do Frenzel out of the water I hear the 'pop' sound, but right after that I sort of feel my ear drums movin' outwords with each blow. The 'pop' sound is gone until I swallow.
Hi Kpk,

"doing Valsava while doing Frenzel" was the key for me to learn Frenzel.
I didn't succeed with Eric Fattah lectures but with the Valsava trick I
had my first Frenzel eqs after a few weeks training in 4 m empty lung dives.

Hi O'Boy,

I have the same troubles after 25 m. The key to beat the 25 m is
to relax, not to hurry. If your lungs are full of air, and if you can do
5 min statics, then you can stay a full minute at 25 m, and train
Frenzel again and again.

Good luck, zawi
Forget Step 7...what about Steps 5 and 6?!?!

Wow, I'm impressed by the amount of people who've had success with the Fettah doc! It's very well written, but I'm having the hardest time making my epiglottis and soft palette move independent of one another. In other words, I do the mouth fill in Step 6, but can't get the air to go through my nose. Anyone have any other tips or advice?

I've tried doing the "Guh" sound as jome suggested, but the phenomena he described with empty lungs is happening to me. I'm actually opening my epiglottis when I pinch my nose and do the "Guh" sound with my tongue, so with empty lungs, the air just gets sucked down into my lungs, not into my e-tubes/sinuses. :duh Whoops...

Also...step 5 and Appendix A describe packing. I'm having a hard time figuring this out too. It seems my tongue just wants to be a useless hunk of flesh...I can't get it to act as a piston, as described in the document. Anyone have any other tips with regards to this? I mean...do I absolutely have to learn how to pack to perform the frenzel technique??

Hi KPK and Bolts,

Remember that everyone is different when it comes to the shape of the mouth, control over muscles that are rarely used, visualization abilities, etc...

Spending time on the Frenzel is well worth the hours and days you might end up using to finally get it. I'm friends with Eric Fattah and he helped me learn both the Frenzel and the moutfill, but even with his help, I still had to figure out my own way of teaching my throat, mouth, cheeks, tongue and soft palate to work together. For example, I spent at least a week breathing through my mouth and nose in alternating sets to make sure I could feel and control the soft palate. The soft palate is what switches your breath from mouth to nose. Try it with your mouth hanging open and loose and after a while you should feel the clicking sound of the soft palate opening and closing as you change back and forth.

Is packing necessary to know to be able to do the tongue piston? Possibly yes, but I know some people use a squeezing of the cheeks and mouth to equalize their ears. But when you are really deep, I imagine that wouldn't work as well.

Eric has also used the following method to teach packing with the tongue. Try to suck the air out of a large plastic bottle (1L - 2L) by sucking with your mouth and tongue. You really do need to use your tongue to suck the air into your mouth and then push it down into your lungs, otherwise the air just rushes back into the bottle. You also need to close your throat as you gather each mouthfull of air, otherwise the air from your lungs goes back into the bottle. To do the exercise, take a reasonably full breath before you put the bottle to your lips and then try to make the bottle collapse. This is a reasonable simulation of the Frenzel and will also help you pack through a snorkel. When you first try it, don't think so much about what you are doing, just try to suck all that air out of the bottle! Just make sure your lungs are already almost full when you do it so that you know that you aren't just breathing in the air with your diaphragm (although that is pretty difficult). If you have success, try a smaller bottle.

Another thing to think about is the shape of your tongue as it cups the air and sends it back. Also, it can sometimes help to push your lower jaw forward as you gather the mouthfill before pushing it back with the tongue (for packing and equalizing).

I think the safest way to practice frenzel is not at 25m! or on an exhale. Once you can equalize on land with the tongue piston. Try taking a mouth full from the surface and equalizing by holding the pressure constant against your ears (this is a component of the circular equalizing idea that Tylerz came up with recently) until it runs out. I do this on every dive now and I find I can get down to 15m or so on a mouthfill from the surface. If I really concentrate, I can go deeper. If you can equalize even to ten metres from the surface on a single mouthfill, that means that you can easily surpass 25m by gathering more air into your mouth at say 15m.

When I dive now, I sometimes equalize as follows:
1. Mouthfill at surface to 15m, constant tongue pressure
2. Mouthfill at 15m down to 25-40m (small relaxed one, lasts me for my deep recreational dives, constant tongue pressure
3. Mouthfill at 25-30m down to 65m+, constant tongue pressure
(this is one step removed from the circular equalizing method where Vaslava is done in between mouthfills to maintain pressure on the ears)

So what I'm saying is that spending the time to learn how to apply the tongue pressure to an open soft palate is a great way to greatly simplify your equalizing!

Hope that helps!

Pete Scott
Vancouver, BC
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Very cool tip the "bottle suck". I used to do that as kid for fun. If you use a glass bottle, you can suck a vacuum and them when you release your epiglottis, the air gets sucked back in with your tongue. For some reason I thought that was funny back then ;) Only a couple of weeks a go I realized that that's actually pretty much the same thing as packing...

Laminar is absolutely right about the empty lung thing. That's not the best way to practise it, but I find it a good way to "verify", if it really works like it's supposed to. When you get it right on empty, it's feels so obvious that there's no question about it. Before that I used to wonder if I really got it or not.

I know a lot of people have dedicated months or even years to this, so patience is the key ;) (I was lucky enough to have tons of ear infections and to be stupid enough to suck bottles to vacuum, which propably helped in later years)
First I've got to say that I'm a big fan of sucking bottles. However, I would recommend that you perform this exercise in a seated position, especially if you plan on doing more than four bottles worth.

Now, I'd like to get back to "Ng", "Guh", and other nonsense syllables that seem to resemble the Frenzel. A few attempts with each has convinced me that they are quite close to what I do to equalize, albeit with a significant difference, namely, that they are formed from voiced consonants ng and g. Voiced consonants are what the name implies: consonant sounds that involve using your voice. So b, d, and g are voiced, for example, while p, t, and k are their unvoiced equivalents.

Now the problem with making such sounds in order to equalize is that they require an open air passage from the nose all the way to the lungs (try saying "ng" with a closed epiglotis). This is okay near the surface, but will make equalizing at depth quite difficult.

Alternatively, I would propose you make something like a palatal k sound (this is how I first got Frenzel to work). I call it a k because that is the closest sound I can think of, but it is a sound created using the soft palate instead of the glotis. The general idea is that air is forced against a weakly closed palate, and then the palate is released. It generates a sound which resembles something a chronically congested person might make while trying to displace mucous from his soft palate back into his nose (I once had a habit of doing this). The epiglotis is closed, and most of the pressure is generated by the throat, with some pressure generated by the tongue. This method is possibly too effective at pushing air into the nose (on land I usually feel I have overequalized by doing this), but once you have the feel of it, you can perform the same maneuver without the disturbing explosive sound.

Just as a general comment, I think a big difficulty in teaching equalization is that you can't really feel where the air is moving inside your head. So it's very difficult to tell whether or not you're actually accomplishing anything by making this or that ridiculous face. Instead, I think methods which attempt to reduce the technique to a familiar activity is much more effective, since it won't rely as heavily on "aerosomatic" feedback.


BOLTS , what LAMINAR says is absolutely right. You must spend hours , days , months (exaggeration !) but in the end you will do it. As he says the key is the soft palate. To use the tongue as a piston is easy , everyone can do this. But having the soft palate in open position while epiglotis is closed is very difficult. You must try the step #6 again and again and as LAMINAR says maybe the step #2 with the control of soft palate. I did the step #6 for 3 weeks about 3 hours a day. The "guh" sound , I think , is a trick helps you synchronize soft palate , epigloglotis and tongue. It;s like doing Valsava while doing Frenzel. In order to do frenzel you must have your epiglotis closed. Isn't so? In order to make the "Guh" sound you must open epiglotis !!. (Laminar , please correct me If I am wrong). But it helps. It helped me !!

The point is , the character of this technique. This is a gentle technique. The point is to bring middle ear to ambient pressure. Not to over-pressurize your ears. I thought that I had to push air with my tongue , while I had my nose pinched , to push my ears and hear a "click" or "pop" sound. Well , I don't hear the "pop" sound , but I feel the pressure to my ears. You don't have to hear the "pop" sound and you don't have to push hard with your tongue , just send some air to the eustahians to bring them in ambient pressure. That is what exactly Mr Larry "Harris" Taylor , said to me in an e-mail answer.
Laminar please correct me If I am wrong !!

Laminar , in the water , do you pinch your nose to equalize? Or you use the pressure of your mask? Can you describe the way you do it?

Well , BOLTS , when you have people help you , like theese guys in this forum , I think it is everything easy. Thanks a lot , all of you
I should clarify that I use (used to) the "ng" sound before equalizing, not during. Or actually as a part of the mouthfilling part (on negatives, right when leaving surface). But I don't actually swim around going "ng! ng!". It's also progressively closing the epiglottis. So it starts with "nnnnnnnngh", of which the "gh" part would be totally cutting off air. Would be so much easier to explain if you could hear me ;)

When successful, it really feels kind of relaxing. Your lungs feel crushed, but equalizing is no problem and you don't have to work for it (ie use diaphragm). It really takes the "nasty feeling" out of negative dives. You'll slowly sink to the bottom and just put air in to the ears when they feel pressured. In fact, you can apply constant pressure to the very effortelssly (not "popping" but just sort of keeping them pressurized).

But I think I'm talking of the mouthfill now, not frenzel.
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"Ng sound"
As I've said I have a big problem equalizing in 25m. There is no problem with Frenzel untill this depth but then the only I can perform is this "Ng". What interests me is how and where's this sound forming? The air definitelly doesn't reach the nose cavity. I can sort of feel the sound forming in my throat. Seems to me that when I use my tongue as a piston and can't open my soft palate, the air has nowhere to go but to the lungs through epiglottis(which is not properly closed).
The sound can be also formed by tongue, when pushing upwords. Why it occurs in 25m?
Thanks guys!

Well, thanks guys! I figured it would just take a lot more time and effort. :duh Me, I'm an impatient person, which sadly isn't a great personality trait a lot of the time. I saw some people saying they learned the whole Frenzel technique in a hour or two, and frankly, I was getting mighty discouraged. Now that I see that some people take days/weeks to get it right, I don't feel nearly as bad.

I do the alternating nose/mouth breathing exercises and can feel the soft palate working, but actually voluntarily CONTROLLING it is a whole other issue. It is frickin' HARD! :head Ah well, I'll keep at it.

While I'm at it...one other question. This may be dumb, but hey, might as well ask... :hmm When it says to "squeeze" your cheeks, is it as simple as just collapsing your cheeks when they're fully expanded? Or is there something more to it?

I guess that's one of the harder things about reading stuff and trying to teach it to yourself....you try to interpret what the reader means, which for a newbie is kinda tough. It would be easier, I guess, to have an experienced "mentor" to help out and demonstrate things, but hey, clinics are only a few days of the year. I do appreciate the help from everyone here. Thanks again. Believe me, if I get it right, you'll likely be the first to know... ;)
Re: Frenzel technique, what about doing it without pinching nose?

I know competitive freedivers who apparenty can frenzel equalize (or similar technique) in a way that doesn't require the use of their hand to pinch their nose. I can easily frenzel, with full exhale and a number of reverse packs, but must pinch my nose...can't figure out any way to direct air to the eustachion tubes as long as my nose is "open". I was hoping that there might be some way to close my mouth, and then be able to direct air to the tubes without pinching my nose...by using the tongue as a piston. Wonder if it's just the use of backpressure from mask that allows this method....but thought maybe there's some other way to do it....maybe without even wearing a mask.

Anyone have this ability? If so, what's the proper or suggested technique?
I know competitive freedivers who apparenty can frenzel equalize (or similar technique) in a way that doesn't require the use of their hand to pinch their nose.

Yes, I know people, including myself, who can do this. Pinching the nose is required to stop the air from escaping the airways, thereby allowing pressure to redirect it to the weakest link in the chain. Since the eustacian tube opening is part of the nasal airway, if you do not stop the air from escaping through it, then in the process of equalizing the tubes, you would also be wasting valuable air.

Now, the ways you can not lose the air in this process, and not pinching your nose, is to use the pressure of the water entering your nostrils, when upright. Or if you have a mask on, then using the resistance of the mask as the equivalent.

The circumstance that do lose air are, when you have no mask and are head down in the water, or if the resistance in your eustacian tubes is greater than the water in upright, or if the resistance in your eustacian tubes is greater than the resistance of the mask.

...can't figure out any way to direct air to the eustachion tubes as long as my nose is "open".

This means your not opening your eustacian tubes voluntarily and that the pressure of the mask is less than the pressure required to force the eustacian tubes open. Practice learning to voluntarily open the eustacian tubes. Look up threads on "hands-free equalizing".


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