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head down BTV

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

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2001
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Hi,

I have relatively tight openings to my Eustachian tubes, my right being worse than my left. I can only equalise my left ear using Valsalva - to give you an idea of my tube tightness (I never actually use it when diving). But I can equalise both using a combination of BTV and Valsalva. Using Frenzel, I never fail to equalise. I find that I can open my tubes on land using the BTV (always the left side and usually the right). This is usually how I equalise when scuba diving. The problem is that I've never been able to perform the BTV head down... Even on land, if I keep my Eustachain tubes open head-up, then bend down so my head is upside down, my tubes always close up (an effect of gravity on soft tissues around the openings maybe?).

My question is: has anyone out there been able to do the BTV head up only, but eventually learned to do it by training the muscles and practice??

I just want to know if there is any chance I'll ever be able to do it with practice, or whether I'm just flogging a dead horse (sorry, British expression) :head

alun
 
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efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
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BTV

My tubes are also tight; valsalva will not equalize either of my ears. If I do the BTV head up at 1m, I must spend around 20 seconds+ to get even one ear to equalize. I don't think any amount of practice would allow me to freedive with just the BTV.

As an interesting note, it is possible to do the BTV and frenzel at the same time, resulting in the fastest possible equalizing method in existence. Further, at the end of the mouth fill technique, as the air disappears, you touch your chin to your chest and collapse the throat cavity; at the very end, you will be able to produce only a small amount of pressure using the frenzel; at that critical point, if you do the BTV as well, then you can get an extra equalization in.


Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
 

Alun

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2001
763
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Well maybe it's finally time to accept defeat! :(
So far I just use pure Frenzel, but I intend to start practicing the Frenzel/BTV combination by applying continuous pressure with the tongue below 35.
Eric, after exhaling into your mouth (at 30-35) I wondered whether you've experimented with equalising (continuously) with your cheek muscles. It seems to work well when the mouth is full of air. But I think it would be very difficult to perform when low on air - real Frenzel being much better in that case. Any thoughts on that?

alun
 

Crispin

Spearfisherman ;=- --->
Sep 14, 2001
261
31
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Alun George?


Anyway.....

I learnt to "hole the tubes open" head down, after much practise, I found that my left muscles have always been stronger than my right, as a result I had to "train" my right side to be as reliable, the only way i did this was to keep "popping" my ears (no handed" all day long as often as I could, this strengthened the muscle so I could pull both open at will, even to the point where I could control them independently......

So I think you can do it with practise, I couldn't equalise "handless" at all till I went to see Mr. Pelizzari, now after much practice and time I can......

hope this gives you some hope......
 
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Alun

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2001
763
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BTV = BEANCE TUBAIRE VOLUNTAIRE (French for Voluntary (Eustachian) Tube Opening)

It involves tensing certain muscles near the soft palate, which pull open the Eustachian tubes allowing equalisation. The tricky part is learning to use and control these muscles. Nearly everyone is capable of doing it, but some have to practice to get it right. From what I know very few people are able to do it inverted, because of the effect of gravity.
I think there are two things you need to be able to do it inverted:
1. to have developed the correct muscle control
2. good ears (not tight Eustachian tube openings) something you're born with and can't do anything about.
In my case I've always had 1 but not 2, and I don't think there's much I can do about it - but may be wrong - this was the point of my original posting. I thought it may be possible to overcome not having 2 by developing the muscle strength and control to a very high degree.
Crispin, maybe in your case, you initially had 2 but not 1, then later gained 1, so you've always had the potential to do it?
(I hope the 1,2 thing hasn't confused anyone!)

alun
 

Crispin

Spearfisherman ;=- --->
Sep 14, 2001
261
31
118
Not always had 2, no.....

I have had to develop 1 to a high degree to let as much air in as possible, because I have a tendency to get a sticky spot right between my eyes (sinus) which is even harder to get the air to than the E' tubes, still (rarely) sometimes this spot sticks and I have to use hard valsalva type technique, but more directed at the sinus than the E' tubes (not recommended) to pump some air in......

The more you can pull those muscles the better (IMHO), it made a huge difference to my diving anyway....
 

laminar

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2001
1,129
206
168
When I was a kid I flew between Ontario and Nova Scotia at least four times a year between separated parents.

I unconsciously taught myself BTV, popping my ears without chewing gum, lifesavers or yawning, so that I could deal with the descent from altitude.

When I started freediving I found I could equalize to 60 ft, then to 100ft, hands free. The deepest I've equalized with BTV alone (after several Frenzel equalizations mind you) is 45m.

The irony is that my biggest problems with equalizing come in the first 3m! :duh If I descend too fast, my ears are irreversibly blocked. Patience, grasshoper, I guess.

"May your ears pop of their own accord."

Pete
 

Alun

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2001
763
83
118
45m on BTV - wow!
As far as I can remember I've always been able to do BTV head up on land. I can open my tubes head up at will - but never head down (dry or wet). I'm not feeling terribly hopeful of ever being able to do it head down. I don't see it as a big problem - just a bonus if you are able to do it!
thanks!
alun
 

thin_air

Alphabet
Sep 15, 2001
404
27
118
its been a while since i did BTV (didnt know thats what it was called) because i use a weird method now, but that only way that i found it could work was to keep the tubes opened all the way down, if there was even a slight difference in pressure between inside the tubes and my nasal cavity i was screwed (well i had to resort to other ways)

i am now using wrinkling of my nose combined with a noseplug that blocks one nostril and the frenzel fattah to equalize hard to explain but it works for me so...:D

good luck,
 
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Alun

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2001
763
83
118
UPDATE!...

I started this thread a couple of months ago, and I thought I would update you all on some progress I've been making in this department...
The news is that I've started doing BTV head down after all this time!! I can't perform BTV every time just now, and it's not very efficient either. By that I mean I can't open my tubes wide enough to allow air in fast enough for my descents. But this should improve with more practice.
I've been trying to train these muscles for months, and only now I'm finally getting it to work. I still think that some people can do this more easily than others, because of physical differences in the anatomy of the Eustachian tube area. BUT, it seems that even those without great ears *can* learn to do BTV head down, with practice...
I've been freediving for just over 2 years now, and I've only just learned to do it. It may take a while, so stick with it!...

alun
 
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Longfins

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2001
254
43
118
good thread

I've always known how to pull the eustacian open, but when I started freediving it seemed those muscles got tired very quickly so my descents become very slow - too slow for the dives to be enjoyable (I'm still working to do Frenzel correctly.)

I decided to train those muscles a month ago by flexing and relaxing for X number of times, and also flex and hold for X number of minutes, just like a weight lifting regimen for another muscle. (Right now I'm doing 100 flexes in 2 minutes and 10 minute 'holds'). The rationale is that if you're diving all day long you can be equalizing hundreds of time. We train for O2/CO2 tolerance, diaphragm / ribcage flexibility, why not our ears too?

Last weekend was the first time I could repeatably descend with any speed (~ 1 m / sec) without thinking about equalizing my ears, hands free. It was only 30 feet, but I enjoyed the dives tremendously.

Peter S.
 

ivan

looking for deeper water
Jan 26, 2002
1,503
48
0
hi

whats BTV equalising I only know the one where you hold your nose and blow

cheers
 

Roland

New Member
Mar 11, 2004
82
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0
Developing the correct muscle control seems to be the key to BTV.

I am searching ways to acquire the right muscle control for BTV. I found a French site (csm.appa.free.fr/dossiers/apnee_compensation.php ) which has some exercises to do help develop the correct muscle control.

Now I have a question:
Does anyone know an English site with this kind of information or could anyone make a good translation?

I would be very thankful and possibly many others would be too.

:inlove
 

naiad

Apnea Carp
Supporter
Oct 11, 2003
2,897
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Re: UPDATE!...

Originally posted by Alun
I started this thread a couple of months ago, and I thought I would update you all on some progress I've been making in this department...
The news is that I've started doing BTV head down after all this time!! I can't perform BTV every time just now, and it's not very efficient either. By that I mean I can't open my tubes wide enough to allow air in fast enough for my descents. But this should improve with more practice.
I've been trying to train these muscles for months, and only now I'm finally getting it to work. I still think that some people can do this more easily than others, because of physical differences in the anatomy of the Eustachian tube area. BUT, it seems that even those without great ears *can* learn to do BTV head down, with practice...
I've been freediving for just over 2 years now, and I've only just learned to do it. It may take a while, so stick with it!...

alun
Great news! Then there's some hope for me!
The only problem is practicing head down BTV in the pool. This could be difficult and amusing for anyone watching.

Lucia
 

Kars

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2003
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Hi Lucia, I'm almost tempted to ask for pictures! :)

I'm working on the BTV, and it's comming, but very slowly.
The speed isn't on par with my decent speed yet.
The point that has been made here that it takes time and practice is very helpfull.

Thanks!

I recon that BTV is a freedivers 'wet' dream :p

Kars
 
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naiad

Apnea Carp
Supporter
Oct 11, 2003
2,897
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Everyone must be imagining me standing on my head at the bottom of the pool, pulling faces like a monkey.....
 

The111

Shallow Water Whiteout
May 29, 2004
155
29
118
Originally posted by Crispin
this strengthened the muscle so I could pull both open at will, even to the point where I could control them independently......

Damn man, I've always had control over that muscle so I can equalize hands-free to 70ft (my deepest dive anyway since I'm not a phenomenal freediver), but controlling them INDEPENDENTLY, that sounds amazing! I have also noticed, as you said, that one of mine is stronger, or at least dominant. When equalizing, the right one always equalizes slightly BEFORE the left one, and near the end of the day when I'm getting tired and BTV (new vocab word for me) stops working, I'll try to do it and only the right one will work... then I'll have to swallow my pride and pinch my nose like everyone else to get the left one to go. I can simulate this whole thing dry by holding the muscle "open" while breathing in through the nose very fast. This causes a feeling of pressure inside my ears, as if I have turned them inside out, and I then have to equalize to remove that pressure. If I do it slow enough, I can clear the right one and leave the left one clogged, then do a separate clear for the left one. But I can't do only left.

I am glad to know the term BTV now, since I've always just called it hands-free... but that could also be used to describe Frenzel I guess. BTV is more specific. I think we should name the phenomenon I described above where you clog your ears with pressure dry... I know other people can do it. :)
 
Last edited:
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Roland

New Member
Mar 11, 2004
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I would like to see that Lucia. It might make practicing BTV an enjoyable exercise.

I would like to be able to do it. Like Kars says it sounds like a freedivers 'wet' dream. And the only description I found on how to master it is in French (csm.a......./apnee_compensation.php) :waterwork. Please cheer us all up and post some photos of your pool exercise ;).
 

Kars

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2003
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Hi all, I've some nice news, it's working for me!

Listen to what I've discovered:

To check if you're capeble of learning BTV, make the swallow movement, if you hear clicks then you probably can learn :)

Now onto the learning part.
This is how I think for now how it works:
the jawmuscle which is normally used just for up and down can also be trained to move outwards, opening up the tubes.
the muscle is just half inch of your center ear, try to locate it using your pointing finger.
Now the hardest part, try to push the muscle outwards.
Making the swallow movement helpt to gain the right feeling.
If you do it correctly you hear a click.
If you hear a click, you're over the first hard half of learning BTV.

After you can do a bit of clicking, it's important to improve the movement, speed and impove the stanima of the muscle. Train the muscle just like one would train other muscles, through repetition.

Water practice:

Right after you've discovered the 'clicking' you can try the water out.
As you new skill needs more devellopment, the clicking is probably stil much to slow or week to be usefull for the first 25m in a CW dive. But you already can use it for swimming UW lanes.
I recomment dolphinstyle swimming, dive down in a shallow angle, 30deg?, and swim 3-5 strokes down at this shallow angle, slowly going deeper while you try out to keep up with your clicking, don't get behind with equalising. Then after a few strokes, bent your dive upwards, with the same angle you've left, and breath gradually out as you swim to the surface, Breaching the surface you take a quick breath while diving down again.
As you'r BTV improves you will be capeble of doing steeper dives.

Another way to practice is Free immersion, as you can control you depth verry nicely.

BTV in the glide face is easier, as the relative pressurechange is less.

Tips for practicing:
Try to avoid mucus forming food, like milk.
Be rested, in the morning it's easier to practice the clicks.
Be in time with you equalisation, if you're to late, do a valsava in between.
If you put your mask a little more tight to your face, you can use the airpressure in the mask to help opening the tubes.
After a certain time one get's tired, it's normal switch to you previous method and do not stretch your ears.


About my BTV "level"
I've been practicing now for two months, and the number of nose pinching is now way down, especially after the 20m mark. Last week I was able to do a CW dive to 15m without touching the nose, very nice. I still have a lot of training to do, but it's comming!
It's very nice to sink hands first to a 50m :)

Good luck, and tell me you findings!
 
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