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Getting warm during statics?

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New Member
Jan 2, 2004
When i do dry statics i start to feel warm after about 4:00 - 4:30, and after a long static i sometimes even start to sweat.. Why is that?
Is it coming from a physical factor (the body tries to save oxygen by not cooling the body or something like that?) or a mental factor (the brain thinks it's time to die and starts preparing the body for ever-burning hell? :))?
Do you all experience this warmth? If so, after how long?

And do you guys consider it to be easier or harder to do wet statics than dry statics? (very individual i guess, but it could be fun to see what seems to be the common opinion)
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This is a perfectly normal reaction and the very simple answer is this:

Heat retention.

A lot of heat is lost from the body when breathing. If you don't breathe for 4 minutes, you store up that heat and the body tries to get rid of it in a differnt way, i.e. sweating.

I had a freaky experience due to this once. I had done lots of 5 minute breath holds and had got warm towards the end, so I learned to take my jumper off before the start and it didn't happen again. Then I tried a static on oxygen and at 7 minutes I erupted in sweat and it just got worse and worse until I was so freaked out by 10 minutes that I started breathing again and was OK after a few minutes, but it took me ages to figure out why I had sweated so badly.

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I have been reading my wife’s Human A&P book a lot lately about hemoglobin loading and oxygen use. More O2 can load into hemoglobin through the alveoli in the lungs when there is warmth, but tissue uses more O2 when it is warm. So I believe for maximum breathholds, it would be ideal to be warm in the breath up and then cool down (but not to the point of shivering) during the hold. How to accomplish that I’m not sure. But profuse sweating, I believe, definitely would have a negative effect on the length of time.

Since the head seems to be a radiator for the body to dispense heat from, I’m thinking for the water statics, a suit warm enough to keep from shivering, but without a hood so that the coolness of the water would help keep the body cool when submerged. During the breath up the head would be clear of water. Or you could put the hood on during the breathup and then take it off for the hold. Lots of things to try!
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Vasoconstriction is also a way of limiting heatloss. Restricting bloodflow to only the core of the body not only conserves oxygen but it also minimizes heat transfer from the body.

Another factor is your metabolism. If you are active or eat before a breathold you will get warmer. Basically anything that consumes oxygen also creates heat. I have for example noticed that I get warmer when I do static tables while sitting at my computer than when I'm lying in bed, totally relaxed.
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I am also a person who gets extremely warm when doing statics often. I have a problem with overheating in general and often under the covers of a bed or by being too close to a heat source, ie. another person, I begin to overheat to the point that I get claustrophobic. I am working on it from a mental standpoint, but it still gets the best of me. I always do my dry statics without much clothes and my good statics usually only occur in a room with a temperature less than 20 degrees celcius. However, I do not believe this to be the main factor for myself. I think there is something happening in my body that minimizes that sensation, or produces less heat on the days that things go well.

Usually if it is a bad day I end up sweating and beginning to heat up around 4:00min. Contractions will have begun and fear starts to build. I use my mind to try to wash my body in cold and release the fear, but it only helps very temporarily. My body actually begins to feel like it is catching on fire and the claustrophobia sets in with a passion. Longest static would probably be 5-5:30.

On a good day, I do not even realize I get hot, even though at the end I will be dripping with sweat.


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I have thought a lot about the heat generation thing, and of course the 'retention of heat' theory at first seems to be the explanation, but it fails under several circumstances.

First of all, when doing alternate nostril pranayama exercises, one can go from cool or cold to profusely sweating in a matter of seconds. During these breathing exercises, heat is still lost in the act of breathing, although the rate of breathing is slower than normal. Further, when doing these breathing exercises, my experience is that all the heat is generated on the exhale, which is when the vagus nerve is stimulated and the heart slows down.

I have read some explanations in yoga books about this heat.

During static apneas, the heat is generally only felt near the end, when the urge to breathe is the greatest. Often the heat comes quite suddenly. During the end of the breath hold, the vagus nerve is stimulated much more than in the early stage of the breath-hold.

The vagus nerve is not used to carrying a strong electrical current. It is very rarely stimulated to the level achieved during apnea or pranayama. The vagus, in turn, controls many other nerve networks.

My theory is that when the vagus nerve is stimulated with a higher than usual electrical current, heat is created via electrical resistance. P=[I^2]R, so the heat will increase with the square of the current.

It is also well known that once a yogi reaches a certain level, pranayama and/or long breath-holds will no longer produce heat. This is the same thing that happened to me when I was practicing intense bhastrika. At first, I would get extremely hot during the practice. As the months passed, I wouldn't get hot at all. After stopping the practice for some months, I would get hot again upon trying it.

One could theorize that after extensive, long term stimulation of the vagus nerve, the electrical resistance of the vagus nerve (and sub channels) would decrease (perhaps akin to the 'opening of the nadis' as the yogis call it). Then, the heat generated would decrease or be eliminated.

So, I think the heat generated in apnea or pranayama is partly due to lack of heat loss from lack of breathing, and partly due to electrical heat in the vagus network.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
i have another theory....

blood vessels in the head dilate as CO2 builds up. i think this is quite widely known. more blood flow... more heat flowing into the head and face... which is where the heat is mostly felt, right? that combined with the heat retention through lack of breathing is what i think accounts for the heat build up.
I don't think that more blood flow means more heat -- the brain itself generates plenty of heat, so there's no reason to think the core around the heart is any warmer or colder.... plus, vasodilation wouldn't explain how no heat is generated after long practice of yoga breathing. If the explanation were vasodilation or lack of cooling via lack of breathing, the effect would always be the same, and there would be no 'adaptation' or change in the way heat is generated.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
All very strange to me, since I have the opposite issue. Last few times that I did any statics over 4:00, I started to get cold. I actually had to crawl under the sheets to put up with it. Anyone else experience this?

Maybe our ability to regulate temperature in general is just compromised by statics, either due to mechanical effects (i.e. loss of heat exchange through ventillation), neurological effects (effect of hypoxia on autonomic system?) or a combination of the two.

I also wonder if the response is influenced by the ambient temperature (ambient temp a little too warm, we get overheated, a little too cold, we get chilly).

Another thing that I notice is that my air passages get dry during breathe-up -- probably due to the greater-than-normal exchange of air. If it's transporting more moisture, then it's probably also transporting more heat.

Interesting thread!
I feel the heat mainly in my torso. I do not generally notice the heat build-up in the face or head area. That does not say it is not occuring but I am too overwhelmed by the heat of my core body, the chest and lower.

Regarding feeling cold... Aniko generally gets cold and when starting her dry statics, covers herself in blankets to keep herself warm. She feels no hinderance during the static with this thermal layer. She has not kept track of whether she feels like she is cooling during the static. The temperature of the room is generally 19-23 degrees when she has done these statics. I would say the room temperature is not the major factor if I think of my statics, because I have also done them in 17 degrees rooms with no clothes and still overheat and I have never been too cold during a dry static. Doing wet statics I have found myself being too cold at the beginning, to the point of shivering, yet warmed up as the static continued. Horrible resulting time.
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When in cold water or air, we would expect the athlete to feel warmer as the static progressed, due to the fact that the increase in CO2 (and thus increase in blood acidity) dampens or nulls out the sense of cold and the shivering response. However, the CO2/acid only affects the sense of cold, not the actual cold, so you aren't actually getting warmer. Once you blow off the CO2, you feel cold 'again', even though you were probably never warm to begin with. That is neglecting the 'mystic heat' which is generated during the apnea or dive. Point being that the CO2 has an effect on its own.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
my experience

when I do exhale statics I get cold. but when I do CO2 tolerance breath holds (in the same room, the same clothes on) I get hot. not just feeling hot but actually sweating.
so the CO2 has to play some role in overheating (at least in me). anyway the mechanism stays unclear for me.
Another thing that I notice is that my air passages get dry during breathe-up -- probably due to the greater-than-normal exchange of air.
I experience this too. I believe your right about the increased volume of air causing it, but I also think its breathing completely through the mouth. This effect, I believe, is actually negative to our results. Blood can only achieve an oxygen concentration of so much depending on a few factors, such as warmth and moisture content of the air, blood ph, and of course oxygen particle pressure. The Human A&P book I have been studying show graphs of blood oxygen saturation to O2 particle pressure and shows how the curve shifts with temperature and with blood ph levels.

Basically warm air and alkaline blood increase blood O2 saturation ability. I believe we easily reach the max blood O2 saturation level from our breath up. This is why its only necessary to do 4 breaths per minute and still be at max. When breathing normal with no activity, our bodies automatically regulate our breath and heart rate to maintain close to max O2 blood levels and this is accomplish with shallow breaths that don’t even begin to use the full gas exchange ability of the lungs.

I think there could be some benefits to inhaling through the nose to warm and moisturize the air during breath ups. I have played with this, with what appears to be a some success, but my problem is enlarged turbinates in the nose which making breathing through it difficult and probably burns more O2 than the positive results of increase saturation. But I seem to be able to get a little benefit by doing a few of breath-up breaths through the nose, which doesn’t raise my heart rate much.

My best dry static in the last 6 weeks was when I inhaled warm air through my sweater. The air was noticeably warmer and I could really feel (actually see the result, because I was recording my O2 levels at different time intervals through an oximeter) the effect. But since I haven’t been able to figure out a way to do that in wet statics, I quit doing it in dry.
Statics in the shower?


Nice theory. That should mean that breathing up in the shower could be one way hit a new PB.

At the very least it will keep me from trying to sing, which will benefit my wife, kids, neighbors, dog ... ;).
But your going to want to gently get out of shower into a cooler room, because warm tissue draws more oxygen out of the blood as well as acid from increase CO2 build up from muscle movement. Your wife may prefer the singing to finding you dripping wet with no cloths on the bathroom floor.:D
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