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The pain of hypoxia...

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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Recently, I've learned that it is possible to actually overcome the urge to breathe (that intense burning) and that is when you reach contraction stage...

Ever since I was a kid, if anyone asked me what the worst way to die was, I would have said anything involving asphyxiation - drowning, suffocating, etc. simply because that pain of not being able to breathe was the worst thing I could possiby imagine.

Now, however, I think my mind has drastically changed - I'm slowly mustering up the will power to try to transcend this stage - last night before falling asleep I managed to make some headway - I was about 10 seconds into the intense burn stage and I noticed that this burn is actually only a wave of pain, and that if you "ride" the troughs of the wave, then you can be almost hypnotically lulled into enduring the crests... I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and psych myself up for a big shot yet - exams and essays, etc... but I do remember one part of "Red Planet"

Here's a transcript of part of the scene:

(this is when they are running out of oxygen, and are about to die on mars - 45 min into the film)



Computer Voice on Gallager's space suit: "Gallager, replace your O2 canister immediately"

Gallager: "Under a minute... what's it gonna be like?"

Cooper: "Hypoxia?.....dizziness, skin'll tingle, vision narrows, then shock. Convulsions, Acidosis"

Gallager: "Is it gonna hurt?"

Long pause....

Gallager: "Yeh"



so... am I correct in understanding that many of you go through these "symptoms" on a regular basis?

:)

-marwan
 

O'Boy

New Member
Aug 27, 2002
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Contractions

Last time I did almost 3 minutes with contractions (5:44, 33 contractions) and the only symptoms were heat and my hands were a bit shaking after the attempt (due to high blood pressure).
There was no hurt for me.
 

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
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I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and psych myself up for a big shot yet - exams and essays, etc... but I do remember one part of "Red Planet"

Here's a transcript of part of the scene:

(this is when they are running out of oxygen, and are about to die on mars - 45 min into the film)


Don't put too much stock in the science of "Red Planet" Julios. As a student of the sciences, you should have caught THE biggest biological error Hollywood has made in the last 10 years. The quote made me leap to my feet to hit the rewind button. It occured about 2/3 into the movie when Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore are having the classic, dead-end, exhausted, beaten-to-death, johnnyfreshman-takes-his-first-philosophy-class debate of "science vs. religion".

Tom says:

"I'm a genetisist. I write code, o.k.? A-G-T-P in different combinations - hacking the human genome, o.k.?"

Recognize the error?

Good thing the vacuum of space didn't make the ship too cold to hinder the vampish fashion sense of Carrie Anne Moss, or the movie would have been a complete loss. :D
 
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[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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lol nice catch - just listened to that agtp thingie - can't believe they made that error - wasn't even a "p" that coulda been a "c" - was an outright unambiguous "P"!

not to mention - mankind sends out a handful of ppl on the most important mission in human history - and they allow hotheads like that to get on board - unfrickinbelievable - u'd think they'd know a bit about human psychology in small groups over long periods of time...


still - i liked the style of the movie a lot - appeals to my imagination - not to mention the technology depicted was quite impressive and reflected some nice scientific imagination.
 

BatRay

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Nov 1, 2002
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Drowning

It's kind of interesting, I've been told that asphyxia is considered to be one of the more pleasant ways to die. The body shuts down breathing passages and releases natural sedatives.

So you know you're not drowning if you feel miserable. :D That may make it easier.

Good luck xenoJulios!
 

[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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Ok.. another question

If all of you are able to transcend these urges to breathe, how come you don't reach samba and blackout regularly? (I think i read eric saying he did)

Is it because the next time the urges come along they really are too intense to bear?

I'm learning a lot about the internal cognitions and sensations involved with overcoming these urges by sorta using introspection while I try to reach contractions :)

I think it's partially enduring pain (enduring the crests), and partially ignoring the instinctual urge to breathe (which is the only salient process during the troughs)

the instincts themselves are not painful, but more like a voice inside your head telling you to breathe - it's that intangible fear and dread that has no explicit physiological pain component - i'm getting better at dealing with this part, but each crest gets worse and worse - hopefully just a matter of time before i get it.

would really appreciate some other personal experiences that mirror this.

Marwan
 

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
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Re: Ok.. another question

Originally posted by [xeno]Julios
If all of you are able to transcend these urges to breathe, how come you don't reach samba and blackout regularly? (I think i read eric saying he did)

Is it because the next time the urges come along they really are too intense to bear?



In my experience, you just hit the nail on the head Julios. Some of us have the ability to endure that pain better than others. My best time is 5 min, and I reached that not by looking at my watch after it was all over, but by saying to myself "dammit, I'm going to get 5 min if it kills me". I have never had a samba or blacked out (been a little dizzy a couple times though :)), so I have no experience with that aspect. Personally, I have to tip my hat to Fattah and other diehards who seemingly have total mind-control over their bodies. Me, I can only handle 30 or so contractions before enough is enough. Others can handle many more; others less.

Ted
 

BatRay

Forum Mentor
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Forum Mentor
Nov 1, 2002
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My experience is limited, but here it is: I've found that I simply become more tolerant of carbon dioxide levels. I have ridden a few contractions out, and I realize that they're not going to kill me. I haven't reached a stage where I can block out the urge to breathe, but it's become more controllable and easier to deal with.

Also, I remember one of the Eric/k's saying that he induced samba on purpose. I'd have to read back on that thread. I don't know if that's something you're aiming for or not.

From the mouth of a beginner.:)
 

[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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new update

great info guys, i'm learning as i write :)

anyway here's the latest - decided to give it another half assed shot while i was studying in the kitchen (bloody cold in my room) ...

i make it to burning stage, and then i voluntarily do what i think are contractions - basically psuedo breathing - each contraction causes the soft area of the neck below the adams apple to squeeze in towards the back of my throat - and somehow, each contraction seemed to reduce the "burning pain"

My hypothesis is that part of the burn is the rapidly building nerve energy in the breathing muscles, and that by "contracting" you are siphoning off some of this energy, and thus reducing the pain.


But this was a totally voluntary procedure, and although once they started, they seemed to have a bit of momentum on their own, I felt like i was voluntarily inducing them...

For some reason, i thought contractions were an involuntary reflex - maybe that's why i was having such difficulties - i wasn't "allowing" the contractions to occur, and thus was suffering the intense burn...
 

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
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Believe you me, julious. Contractions are very very involuntary. I think of them as a nuisance - a waste of energy. If I could "convince" my body not to do them, I would. I have no idea why you haven't had em yet. Maybe your lungs are still very sensitive to CO2 levels, and the pain kicks your butt before your diaphram starts to contract.... Hopefully eric or another hypoxia guru will stop by and offer you an explanation. I can only offer you opinions and maybes.

Good luck on finals.

Ted
 

[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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cheers unirdna, you're proly right - brings up an interesting question about pain itself - am i really that much of a wuss and not able to tolerate the pain, or is it that since i'm new to it, the pain itself is in reality more intense... proly a combination of both. I'm pretty good at tolerating pain in other circumstances.

Ok so a few more clarifications:

1) are contractions similar to what i described? (pseudo breathing and the soft part of neck squeezes in to back of throat)

2) how long does each contraction last and at what rate? (how many seconds between them)

3) after they subside, is there a period of smooth sailing?

yeah i know i'm asking a lot of questions, and i should probably just suck it up and experiment for myself - but hey i'm a curious bastid :)

and yeah i'll try to do well on the exams - thnx for the thought

Marwan
 

amr

New Member
Jul 14, 2001
13
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These don't sound like the usual contractions that I get. For me contractions start out as a fluttery, edgy feeling in the diaphragm. This lasts for a short while and can be controlled relatively easily. After while, more definite breathing-type diaphragm movements start -- these are harder to control. I think this is what is usually meant by contractions.

These contractions start out slowly, perhaps several (or more) seconds apart, perhaps with pauses between them. Gradually they become more urgent and more frequent. Once started, they don't subside -- they just get more and more intense (and more unpleaseant).

Here is an experiment you could try, to see if you can get some contractions: Sit quietly for a while, relaxing (no warmup, etc). Then, at the end of a *normal* exhalation, just stop breathing and see what happens. After 30-60 seconds (with any luck) maybe you will start to feel contractions. These may be a bit faster than the ones you normally get after a full inhalation.
 

[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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Hey amr - thx for the insights

yah the "apnea-after-normal-exhalation" is all i've been doing over the past few days - speeds things up :)

I definitely get the fluttery feeling in the diaphragm - that's part of the overall burn feeling.

will try again tonight maybe
 

Bill

Baron of Breathold
Oct 17, 2001
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me too

AMR explains what happens to me far better than I can. I did manage to take it to the next level. After 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, I sort of become unaware of contractions. I'll ask my safety if they're still apparent.
Aloha
Bill
 

glennv

hybrid lifeform
Nov 28, 2002
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Contraction or no conractions , that is the question

I may have finally found someone who has what i have e.g. no clear contractions.
I have only recently started freediving and static training and in the begining i thought that because the static times where low i did not yet come into the contractions phase. This was also mentioned by some more experienced freedivers.
Now recently on my first wet intoduction i improved my statuc dry PB of 04:00 to an amazing (for me that is) 4:52 and came up with the feeling i could have done some more.
During this whole time i did not experience anything like you all describe as contractions but instead after about 2:30 a sort of continuos fluttering of the diaphragm.

Now my question is 2 fold:
1. Are there more people having this or other who can tell me how this works etc..
2. For anybody who has this as well : I understood that generaly most people can judge where they are in the 'nice comfortable apnea :cool: to big samba :confused:' scale by the fact that the contractions come closer and closer together. How do i safely find/feel my place in this scale.

Greetzzzz,

Glenn
 

immerlustig

BlueSkunk
Aug 17, 2002
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hi glenn

about your questions :

to # 1: my girlfriend for example didnt get any contractions when she started out with training this spring. she hasn t been training consistently until now but recently, after about 3 weeks of daily diving and regular static sets she does get contractions (and a pb of 5:13).
another one of my freediving buddies, also quite a beginner, experienced his first contraction after maybe 2 months of training.

to #2:for me beeing in a nice comfortable apnea depends very much on how much i have trained the last month or so. the onset of contractions starts later, plus i m able to hold more of them.

i haven t had a bo or samba due to low o2, but the urge to breathe that i get is so massive at the end of the apnea that i m not willing to extend my breathold. even with no clear contractions i dont think you are risking a low o2 bo, as long as you get a big urge to breathe and non of the signs prior to bo show up.

generally i wouldnt bee too worried about not having "proper" contractions. whatever happens is your own bodies reaction to a breathold situation. maybe with training and adaption your bodies response will change. until then enjoy not having too many of those contractions.:D


and it surely has been mentioned before to do wet statics, at least, with a proper spotter.

well, enjoy your contractionfree time while it lasts.

cheers

roland

:cool:
 

glennv

hybrid lifeform
Nov 28, 2002
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Thanks. This makes sence, since i indeed only started training tables very recently. Probably my body is still adapting.
The end urge to breath is indeed big enough not to continue much beyond this, so it should be ok.
I have not done much wet , because i just don't have to much time.
It clearly was much nicer wet then dry since i could relax 300% better this way, but i will have to stick with most of my training dry.

Greetz,

Glenn
 

[xeno]Julios

New Member
Feb 1, 2002
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heh this is kinda exciting - just did another attempt, and actually bore out the burn for longer than ever before - and there was a period of about 4 full seconds where there was no pain at all! But then it returned like a bloody freight train and i caved in :)
 

O'Boy

New Member
Aug 27, 2002
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Contractions Rate

For me there appears contraction every 6 seconds. I've counted 10 contractions in a minute. When I'm trying to control them the number goes down to 8/min but later speeds up to some 15/min. That is signal for me to end my static attempt.
 

cjborgert

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2001
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Re: Drowning

Originally posted by BatRay
It's kind of interesting, I've been told that asphyxia is considered to be one of the more pleasant ways to die. The body shuts down breathing passages and releases natural sedatives. So you know you're not drowning if you feel miserable. :D That may make it easier.


I've heard the opposite . . . that the laryngospasm that occurs as water begins to enter the airways is incredibly painful . . . or do you think a person is so completely unconscious by that time that he is not aware of anything?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I really want to know anyway . . . not information I intend to need.
 
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