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I have been practicing for a while with the technique you describe where you hold the nose and swallow to create low pressure in the inner ear and then using various equalization techniques. It seems a good to 'test' to see if something is working but it doesn't feel as if I am actually 'practicing' my EQ ability because it feels different from being at depth.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!).
I have been practicing for a while with the technique you describe where you hold the nose and swallow to create low pressure in the inner ear and then using various equalization techniques. It seems a good to 'test' to see if something is working but it doesn't feel as if I am actually 'practicing' my EQ ability because it feels different from being at depth.
Yesterday I tried to equalize in the pool combining BTV and Frenzel against the pressure of the mask and it worked without too much effort. It is another sequence of maneuvers and I obviously need more practice to become sufficient. Thank you Ishuyi for your advice and the link. I have read true most of the things out there and feel that I am still making progress because of all the tips I find scattered around.
My goal remains the same, to equalize using pure BTV only, without having to resort to applying additional pressure, just the muscles. I will see if I can take it further from there and practice to keep the E-tube open continuously. I figure if I get this far I might as well keep going.
As a means of practice I am know trying to apply BTV head down and sometimes it works. I am trying to go very slowly and it remains key to be focused on all my sensations and not let the pressure build up too much. I am considering setting up a line in the pool since this will help controlling decent speed and aid during practice.
I am keeping notes as I progress hoping to share my experience at some point. I wish BTV to everyone, it is an enhanced diving experience.
In case you are wondering it has taken me considerable practice to get to this point. I started researching Frenzel and it's variations until I ran into a description of someone who was able to wiggle his ears and connected that to the ability for BTV. Since I can wiggle my ears (the right one is easier and it is also easier to equalize on my right side, the strength of the muscles on that side must be higher I suppose) I figured I should be able to learn it somehow.
If you are an 'ear wiggler' there is hope for you.
y theJust to give an update! I have managed to do pure BTV down to 16 m on free immersion without using mask pressure. I am currently at Freedive Flow at Gili Air and the coaches here are comfortable helping the student explore Hands Free. (Remember this place if you need Hands Free coaching.) My coach has been asking me to relax and increase the frequency of my hands free so I am not fighting against big pressure but small pressure.
I have isolated the movement of BTV into 2 steps for me. Lifting up the soft palate and then a gentle pull backwards. I am so happy I don't have to use the mask pressure anymore because it's an additional step that occupies my mind and makes me tense! And I dislike very much the feeling of tightness in my mask.
Muscle memory helps so much. The more I do it, the easier it comes. I find that if I turn on a music with a nice beat and click to it with my hands free, the way you may snap your finger to the beat, it helps train my BTV in a relaxed and fun manner. You can try it. I'm BTVing to Dave Brubeck's Take Five.
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.