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Steps for hands-free equalization (partial BTV) that worked for me

ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
32
6
23
32
Singapore
Do you do this Mendelsohn manuver in order to hands free? I just watched the video and can do the manuver but the manuver alone does nothing to my etubes. In your case, do you feel like the manipulation in the Mendelsohn is coupled to your etubes?

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Hi Lance, for me, it does. I can unblock my ears after first sucking air out of them (first creating a pressure differential to mimick pressure at depth) using the Mendelsohn manoeuvre. However, when I do not first suck air out of my ears, and simply do the manoeuvre, I cannot tell very clearly that I have opened the E tubes. Though there is a mild sound when I do this manoeuvre just on its own. Do you hear any sound in your ears when you do it? And have you tried it after creating a pressure differential?

Besides this modified swallow, I have heard of others using a modified yawn and others wiggling their ears to achieve this opening of the tubes. So there seem to be a variety of hands free manouvres.
 

podenco

Active Member
Apr 23, 2012
15
4
43
Spain
Hello Ishuyi, I once read an interview to a worldspearfishing champion (Pepe Viña), and he said that he was starting to have problems equalizing with valsalva, so he managed to equalize using the "swallowing technique", probably similar to the method that you employ.

In my case, I remember that when I was a child I didn´t need to do anything to equalize, just to go down, I maintained this ability until I was 20 years old, when I developed chronic sinusitis due to allergies, and I had to go through to a frontal sinus surgery, to be able to dive well again. During the years after the sinusitis I needed to pinch my nose, probably my e-tubes became swollen (specially my right e-tube), but there were days that my e-tubes were constantly open so I didn´t have to do anything to go down, so I have been trying different methods to learn hands free, I tried swallowing, but I needed to descend very very slow in order to equalize and not always worked, also tried moving the jaw, which wasn´t effective, and finally I tried the method that I described in my first message and I it worked perfect for me, the good thing is that I just do it without noticing and without effort since is very gentle.

Also I have to say, that normally I don´t need to equalize my left e-tube,(or at least I have to equalize my right one before), it seems that is permanently open, and is my right one which I need to open. In case that I have problems due to mucous I sniff and problem solved.

In case that is useful to someone I do saline nasal rinses with a neti pot every day to fight allergies.
Best regards,
Manuel
 
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Mar 20, 2011
699
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83
Los Angeles
Hi Lance, for me, it does. I can unblock my ears after first sucking air out of them (first creating a pressure differential to mimick pressure at depth) using the Mendelsohn manoeuvre. However, when I do not first suck air out of my ears, and simply do the manoeuvre, I cannot tell very clearly that I have opened the E tubes. Though there is a mild sound when I do this manoeuvre just on its own. Do you hear any sound in your ears when you do it? And have you tried it after creating a pressure differential?

Besides this modified swallow, I have heard of others using a modified yawn and others wiggling their ears to achieve this opening of the tubes. So there seem to be a variety of hands free manouvres.
The Mendelsohn doesn't seem to do anything to my etubes even with different pressure differentials. In your case perhaps the muscles it activates are coupled to the etube muscle (tensor palantar or something like that, right), similar to how the soft palate wants to be coupled to the epiglotis.

My etubes are coupled to the yawn, I have always been able to control them independently though with good isolation since childhood, but anytime I yawn they open. I have had several students who use the jaw wiggle, and some for whom that works when scuba diving but not freediving.

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ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
32
6
23
32
Singapore
OP thanks for posting your experience.

Not to muddy the waters but I noticed a couple points that are not entirely correct...

Back pressure from the mask is definitely not neccessary for handsfree although for some people it does seem to be. It can be done with no mask or noseclip but we cannot rule out backpressure from the water itself.

If you combine the voluntary control to open the etubes with the throat and jaw work of a Frenzel it can be more effective when approaching residual volume, and past that point it is possible to use mouthfil and handsfree together, although it may be difficult to maintain throat lock while opening the etubes (something all natural handsfree divers seem to struggle with).

On the 72M CNF video on my youtube channel I was doing handsfree all the way to the plate.

And as the OP described, relaxation and rhythm are very important... when diving on my own rhythm, even if diving very, very aggressively I can do thousands of drops and never touch my nose but frequently when teaching (and going off my students' rhythm) my ears get sticky and I have to Frenzel, particularly when we are shallow and they are stressed.


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Lance, could you share the link of your 72m CNF? I would like to watch it. Thanks! Currently I would like to learn how to do the handsfree mouthfill.
 
Mar 20, 2011
699
143
83
Los Angeles
Lance, could you share the link of your 72m CNF? I would like to watch it. Thanks! Currently I would like to learn how to do the handsfree mouthfill.
Kurt Chambers also has on his facebook a version that is one continuous take that Jessea Lu shot with a dive a scooter from nearly the start of the dive all the way to the end. The one on my youtube has a little bit of editing to make it more cinematic but you can also see much more detail on the stroke, etc.
 
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ishuyi

Member
May 13, 2017
32
6
23
32
Singapore
Kurt Chambers also has on his facebook a version that is one continuous take that Jessea Lu shot with a dive a scooter from nearly the start of the dive all the way to the end. The one on my youtube has a little bit of editing to make it more cinematic but you can also see much more detail on the stroke, etc.
Thank you for sharing! You have very good no fins kicks!
 
Mar 20, 2011
699
143
83
Los Angeles
Thank you for sharing! You have very good no fins kicks!
Funny, when it comes to competitive diving I am probably best at no fins but growing up a swimmer I was lousy at breast stroke. For improving kick if you have never been taught, it could be very helpful to get pointers in the water from a competitive swimmer or coach. There are some very simple fine points that competitive swimmers learn at a young age and take for granted but which seem to be very hard to pick up from watching. The other thing that is sometimes not evident from watching no fins is that while there is certainly finesse required but having a good power/strength base will help immensely, more in my opinion than any other freediving discipline.

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