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O2/CO2 tables -- is the benefit physical, or psychological?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Frank O'Donnell

Apneic shutterbug
Apr 23, 2003
As I sat here at my desk with a stopwatch in hand over the lunch hour rededicating myself to practicing oxygen/carbon dioxide tolerance tables after my abysmal bottom times on my weekend trip to San Clemente Island, I got to wondering:

How is it exactly that this table practice improves your breath-hold ability? Does it induce an actual physical change in you over time? If so, exactly what is the change? Or is the improvement just from increasing your psychological comfort with different O2/CO2 states in the body?
Good question Frank. I have often wondered what’s really behind the tables too. Seems like most people accepted that they work without questioning the proof. How do we know they work any better than any other kind of apnea exercise?
Frank, I'd like to venture a guess that the tables induce physical changes. Think of cultures that live at high altitudes. They've been tested to show higher red blood cell count. I imagine that's to adapt to the lower O2. I only perform CO2 tables and I've noticed the contractions come later than they used to last year. I don't think that is psychological. That seems purely physical. I'm not sure though if it's my metabolism decreasing with each year, and just generating less CO2 as suggested in a prior post. I never thought of it in those terms before, but it makes sense. Although, I would hope normal aging would not reduce metabolism 13% or more which is what my performance seemed to improve by over 6 or so months ago. I also have to think one gets "hardened" to the discomfort of CO2 over time as well. At least to some extent. Getting back to adaptations, the altitude sort of adaptation seems to have occured over generations. I often think how it's possible to spend a small percentage of the day and trick the body into changing. Although I hope it does. I've wondered if longer term exposure to CO2 would help the adaptation, such like when you fall asleep and wake with the pillow over your head. That must generate higher CO2 levels for hours. It may create labored breathing during sleep to the point where it would wake you, or maybe not.

So that's my take on it. There's been some really good threads going around lately, but unfortunately I haven't been able to keep up with the reading. These past few months have been the busiest of my life. With a couple of big projects at work, and taking a couple of classes, I hardly have time to read a thread or two. When things slow down I'd like to catch up on reading this thread and many other good ones too. Keep em posting. I'll enjoy following this one.

Originally posted by Jersey Jim
I only perform CO2 tables and I've noticed the contractions come later than they used to last year.
Jim, thanks for the comments. What made you decide only to do CO2 tables? Did you try both and determine that the CO2 tables seemed to be helping you more? Or was it for more of a theoretical reason?
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