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Learning hands-free equalization

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

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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Originally posted by efattah
...In the water, in order for me to equalize hands free, I have to go to no more than 3-4 feet, feet down, and then spend about 30 seconds struggling to flex the hands-free muscles as much as humanly possible....
All this may be known to you already, but there's a speculation at the end. :) :
As how I understood the physics of pressure, the softest thing will give-in inorder to compensate for the pressure lose.
What more, the eardrum is not the first thing to be affected by the pressure at depth, but actually the e-tubes themself.
They are soft walled and the ear drum is supposed to be stretched. At the first increase of pressure the tubes start to collapse (thighten that is, not like a sinus colapses), after that, when we already have a decreased equalization ability due to already tightened e-tubes, the ear drum starts to flex and give us the signs.
It has probably happen to every one that they've descended a bit faster than intended and discovered they can't equalized at all. That's the e-tubes tightened to the max.

So what I figure, in theory, if you can equalize hands free out side of water, it means that you can equalize inside water against the SAME pressure that you equalize dry (the same tightness of the tubes). could be that 1 meter of water (3-4 ft) is too much for you - if I'm not mistaken (please correct me if I am) it's equivalent to a descend from 850 meters to sea level.

I don't know if it's realistic to try and equalize more then once per meter for the first meters, but at depth you would'nt have to do it so frequent, so maybe if not for the begining of the dive, the for the rest of it.

Tell me what you think.
 
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Just and idea, If you know how contract the muscles that open your tubes and can do it on land but not against preasure in the water, is this at least partially muscle strength? If so, energising the muscles over and over should make them stronger as well as strenghening the nerve pathway. Anybody have any insight ?

Connor
 
Bill

Bill

Baron of Breathold
Oct 17, 2001
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>I don't know if it's realistic to try and equalize more then once per meter for
>the first meters, but at depth you would'nt have to do it so frequent, so
>maybe if not for the begining of the dive, the for the rest of it.
Michael

I've been able to equalise my ears hands free for a long time. It was always a one shot deal, every two meters or so. Never could just hold open the ears and go. I found something interesting while practicing negatives. Now I can open the e tubes on the surface and hold them open with a little pressure on the mask. It only gets me another meter before the sinus squeeze but it might work for someone who doesn't have a sinus problem. In any case, try clearing once before you head down.
Aloha
Bill
 
DeepThought

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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I always clear on surface before going down, 10x. :)
I just don't know how to equalize hands free yet, that's the problem.
My suggestion was regarding to the frequency. Saying that if someone can equalize hands free on land, he should be able to equalize hands free against the same pressure in water, but since water are much denser, the frequency should be much greater.
All assuming that being inverted doesn't cause too much hinderance.

By the way, although I can equalize every 2 meters and maybe more, I rather equalize about every meter at the first few meteres, it just feels more right to me, I don't like feeling the pressure building, and see no use for "stretching my ear drums". I belong to a spoiled generation, I go for instant relief. :)
 
Gerald

Gerald

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2002
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Free hand equalization

I have been practicing this technique for decades and it has increased the quality of my diving tremendeously.

It takes a few careful tries until You get the feeling: Starting from the surface going down, I allow a little pressure to build up in my mask very carefully. While I compensate my mask, I take advantage of the pressurized air that is now escaping into my tubes (moving of the jaws facilitates the opening of the tubes). If You can equalize very easy by pinching Your nose You should not have any problems with the "mask-technique". As I continue to equalize, the mask is kept away from squeezing my face and at the same time the tube is acting like a valve, opening up at every blow into the mask. I recommend to strip the mask fairly tight to the face but not to the point of discomfort.

This technique as helped me to go -30m/plus in unassisted constant ballast (constant weight without fins) and added a lot of joy in freediving. However I am limited to a maximum of -40mt that way (with the last equalization around -36mt).

For maximum dives I have to resort to the newly acquired frenzel/fattah method. How I was able to apply this technique successfully, even though I failed in some of the exercises prescribed in effatah's famous document You can read on my homepage

May be one day I'll be able to do maximum dives with free-hand equalization. If it works, I'll post it!

cheers
Gerald
 
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ishuyi

ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
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Free hand equalization

I have been practicing this technique for decades and it has increased the quality of my diving tremendeously.

It takes a few careful tries until You get the feeling: Starting from the surface going down, I allow a little pressure to build up in my mask very carefully. While I compensate my mask, I take advantage of the pressurized air that is now escaping into my tubes (moving of the jaws facilitates the opening of the tubes). If You can equalize very easy by pinching Your nose You should not have any problems with the "mask-technique". As I continue to equalize, the mask is kept away from squeezing my face and at the same time the tube is acting like a valve, opening up at every blow into the mask. I recommend to strip the mask fairly tight to the face but not to the point of discomfort.

This technique as helped me to go -30m/plus in unassisted constant ballast (constant weight without fins) and added a lot of joy in freediving. However I am limited to a maximum of -40mt that way (with the last equalization around -36mt).

For maximum dives I have to resort to the newly acquired frenzel/fattah method. How I was able to apply this technique successfully, even though I failed in some of the exercises prescribed in effatah's famous document You can read on my homepage

May be one day I'll be able to do maximum dives with free-hand equalization. If it works, I'll post it!

cheers
Gerald

Gerald, thank you for your detailed and encouraging account of doing the handsfree. It is one of the more detailed accounts available online of what actually happens during the handsfree and I like how you described the almost simultaneous synchronized mask and ear equalization. May I check with you what do you mean when you say, "If you can equalize very easy by pinching your nose you should not have any problems with the "mask-technique".

I am wondering why this would be so. Do you mean "pinching your nose" by people who can easily do Vasalva or Frenzel, should not have issues with the handsfree? Because I thought that the real difficulty was keeping the Eustachian tubes open. Hence, the limiting factor is not whether one can do Vasalva or Frenzel or not, but whether one can learn to finely control the muscles supporting the Eustachian tubes?

Hope you could clarify this for me. Thank you!
 
SubSub

SubSub

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
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Sorry buddy, but I think you'll have little luck with Gerald. The last reply to this thread was 13years ago and his last activity in the forum was 2015.

What he probably meant was that if you have no problems with equalizing in general it should be easier to learn controlling the tubes. You know how it feels when equalizing correctly, thus you have a greater chance of spotting the sensation when you do it right handsfree.

I too do the handsfree easiest while also equalizing the mask i.e. slight exhales with the nose.
 
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ishuyi

ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
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Sorry buddy, but I think you'll have little luck with Gerald. The last reply to this thread was 13years ago and his last activity in the forum was 2015.

What he probably meant was that if you have no problems with equalizing in general it should be easier to learn controlling the tubes. You know how it feels when equalizing correctly, thus you have a greater chance of spotting the sensation when you do it right handsfree.

I too do the handsfree easiest while also equalizing the mask i.e. slight exhales with the nose.

Thanks SubSub! Your reply made me laugh. :) And your reply is excellent. I understand now what Gerald most likely meant.

May I also check with you how deep can you go just doing the handsfree. Also what is your personal technique going down. Is it similar to Gerald, meaning when you equalize the mask, at the same time you open the tubes. Or do you hold the tubes open continuously?

Thanks SubSub!
 
SubSub

SubSub

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
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Thanks SubSub! Your reply made me laugh. :) And your reply is excellent. I understand now what Gerald most likely meant.

May I also check with you how deep can you go just doing the handsfree. Also what is your personal technique going down. Is it similar to Gerald, meaning when you equalize the mask, at the same time you open the tubes. Or do you hold the tubes open continuously?

Thanks SubSub!


:)

Well, I dive mostly alone, and therefore I don't push it and my max depth hasn't moved that much lately. Max is about 25m and I can go there without hands, but I have a mask with large inner volume at the moment so when doing deeper dives i go the first bit (maybe 12-15m) handsfree and the rest holding nose.

I try to keep the tubes open as much as I can. It's funny though, I have been able to do this since I was a small child so it's first now when I'm a bit more serious about my diving that I have started thinking about the mechanisms behind it.
 
ishuyi

ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
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:)

Well, I dive mostly alone, and therefore I don't push it and my max depth hasn't moved that much lately. Max is about 25m and I can go there without hands, but I have a mask with large inner volume at the moment so when doing deeper dives i go the first bit (maybe 12-15m) handsfree and the rest holding nose.

I try to keep the tubes open as much as I can. It's funny though, I have been able to do this since I was a small child so it's first now when I'm a bit more serious about my diving that I have started thinking about the mechanisms behind it.

Dear SubSub,
Thank you for sharing with me your own personal numbers and equalization process. Yes, so many people have told me something similar that they were doing these things on their own and only later on started to think about the mechanisms behind! I am encouraged, I will work hard and learn the Frenzel so it can accompany my hands free when I go deeper.
 
SubSub

SubSub

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
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Dear SubSub,
Thank you for sharing with me your own personal numbers and equalization process. Yes, so many people have told me something similar that they were doing these things on their own and only later on started to think about the mechanisms behind! I am encouraged, I will work hard and learn the Frenzel so it can accompany my hands free when I go deeper.

No problemo! That's what forums are for, right!

Good luck with the equalizing! :) [emoji106]
 
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Thanks ishuyi for bringing up this thread. Its old but excellent. Don Moore's analysis is right on target.

To add something for those trying to learn the techique, its possible to put your fingers on the muscles that open the etubes. Reach a finger in your mouth, feel back along the roof of the mouth till you get back to where the hard palette stops and the soft pallete begins. Extend your finger sideways till you feel a notch in the hard pallete. (don't press hard, you can damage yourself) Just beyond the notch is where you can feel the muscles tense when you open the etubes. If anyone uses that info to learn how to clear hands free, please let me know.
 
Kodama

Kodama

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2016
436
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Since this tread is revived I would love to ask my own question regarding BTV/VTO.

Present situation:
I can equalize handsfree using BTV on dry land constantly.
I can also equalize handsfree using BTV while descending head-up very slowly, if I focus well on opening the Eustachian tube frequently. (it seems like I can not yet keep them open continuously, rather opening them often during the descent)
I can also equalize handsfree using BTV while descending gradually in horizontal position again very slowly.
I can not equalize handsfree using BTV descending head down or at 'normal speed'.

Over the past weeks I have made some progress while practicing BTV but it seems like I have a long way to go before I can apply it while freediving.

My question:
I would love te receive advice from handsfree equalizer who have gone true a similar experience. What could I do specifically to improve my ability?
I try to EQ often during the day to train the muscles but it seems like improvement is very slow.
There is also the book by Frederico Mana 'Equalization for Freediving'. I already have most of the literature available and was wondering if this book contains anything worthwhile and new for me to study to improve my BTV ability?
 
SubSub

SubSub

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
496
191
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Thanks ishuyi for bringing up this thread. Its old but excellent. Don Moore's analysis is right on target.

To add something for those trying to learn the techique, its possible to put your fingers on the muscles that open the etubes. Reach a finger in your mouth, feel back along the roof of the mouth till you get back to where the hard palette stops and the soft pallete begins. Extend your finger sideways till you feel a notch in the hard pallete. (don't press hard, you can damage yourself) Just beyond the notch is where you can feel the muscles tense when you open the etubes. If anyone uses that info to learn how to clear hands free, please let me know.

Did not know this at all, but now I fler it and it flex pretty much when opening tubes! Every day you learn something new! :)
 
ishuyi

ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
35
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Since this tread is revived I would love to ask my own question regarding BTV/VTO.

Present situation:
I can equalize handsfree using BTV on dry land constantly.
I can also equalize handsfree using BTV while descending head-up very slowly, if I focus well on opening the Eustachian tube frequently. (it seems like I can not yet keep them open continuously, rather opening them often during the descent)
I can also equalize handsfree using BTV while descending gradually in horizontal position again very slowly.
I can not equalize handsfree using BTV descending head down or at 'normal speed'.

Over the past weeks I have made some progress while practicing BTV but it seems like I have a long way to go before I can apply it while freediving.

My question:
I would love te receive advice from handsfree equalizer who have gone true a similar experience. What could I do specifically to improve my ability?
I try to EQ often during the day to train the muscles but it seems like improvement is very slow.
There is also the book by Frederico Mana 'Equalization for Freediving'. I already have most of the literature available and was wondering if this book contains anything worthwhile and new for me to study to improve my BTV ability?

Kodama, personally, I have only managed to do handsfree up to possibly 8m head down using free immersion. I believe the ability to do it is linked to mask equalization. The best resource on BTV/VTO on the web, in my humble opinion, is Santiago's post at https://forums.deeperblue.com/threa...ization-partial-btv-that-worked-for-me.99013/ where he describes using the “pressure from the mask” (point 4). My personal theory is that hands free equalization, of the type you and me do, opening and closing, rather than constantly opening the Eustachian tubes, is dependent on creating a region of high pressure in the mask:

Point four about "pressure from the mask". What actually happens physically is that when under pressure both the air in the middle ear and the air in the mask connected to nasal passages contracts. What we want is for air from the nose to travel to the middle ear. So we need to create a higher pressure. We are aided in this process by being able to control the amount of air in the mask. And this is done by Santiago by pressing down the mask to his face to compact the air molecules or by equalizing the mask such that there are more air molecules packed into that fixed space. Once this pressure gradient is achieved where the mask space connected to nasal passage space has a higher pressure than the middle ear, the Eustachian tubes are then opened, to allow for equilibrium to be achieved.

This also suggests that there must be a contained space - meaning either the soft palate or the glottis is closed prior to the opening of the Eustachian tubes. So the pressure can build up and does not escape into the lungs. Which one is closed? Ergonomically, it is more efficient for the soft palate to be closed because it's easier to build up the pressure in a smaller space. Also, it's the soft palate that's more involved in hands-free than the glottis.

What do you think? Maybe you can play around with the mask and see if it helps? I practise hands free mostly by holding my nose and sucking to create the pressure difference and then unblocking the ears. A new method I tried is going to the deep end of the pool on full exhale and then equalizing (not the most comfortable experience!).
 
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Fundamentally, in the above post, there are two things going on, BTV and frenzel. You can do them separately, but they work better together. BTV, at its simplest, involves voluntarily tensing the muscles around the etubes, opening the tubes. Frenzel pressurizes the area outside the etubes and blows them open with that pressure. If you can BTV, it is possible to develop a small degree of frenzel pressure against the mask without closing the nose. Helps hugely making BTV work and keeps your hands free. Many BTVers use both together, not even realizing what they are doing. I can do both or either separately, but its much easier to combine them.
 
NoFair

NoFair

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2014
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Thanks ishuyi for bringing up this thread. Its old but excellent. Don Moore's analysis is right on target.

To add something for those trying to learn the techique, its possible to put your fingers on the muscles that open the etubes. Reach a finger in your mouth, feel back along the roof of the mouth till you get back to where the hard palette stops and the soft pallete begins. Extend your finger sideways till you feel a notch in the hard pallete. (don't press hard, you can damage yourself) Just beyond the notch is where you can feel the muscles tense when you open the etubes. If anyone uses that info to learn how to clear hands free, please let me know.

It is easier to feel it with the tip of your tongue ;)
 
SubSub

SubSub

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Aug 26, 2015
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It is easier to feel it with the tip of your tongue ;)

You gotta be equipped with a tongue like Gene Simons!
I can't feel anything and I don't even come close when trying to feel it with the tongue. :)
 
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