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throat fluttering on deeper dives

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jan 16, 2002
In reference to Skin's thread http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=32396ad I would like to continue the discussion of the throat fluttering during descent because now I am experiencing it also and it is really disconcerting. I experienced it for as while this spring starting around 85 feet. The water was really cold, 38-40 degrees F. As the season progressed and the water got warmer, it went away and going to 100 feet (the quarry bottom) felt fine. Now we have started diving a new quarry that goes to 150 feet but is really cold and dark past 100. So far I have gotten to 112 and am slowly inching my way down. My question to those who have experienced the throat flutter phenomenon- what do you do when it happens? My throat starts to actually make involuntary squeeks that really wreck concentration, not to mention air supply. Can this be overcome with more packing? Right now i do not pack too heavily. Will it stop as I descend more? I try and keep my chin tucked against my chest to facilitate eq. as well as control the spasms. Personally I feel it is a byproduct of very cold 40 degree water and near residual volume in the lungs.

I had this problem when I started and my problem was solved when I got used to the pressure and I also found some important factors that helped me to eliminate the problem.

Most important to get rid of this problem was:

-Close epiglottis and relax your stomach; Let your stomach get "sucked" in when your lungs go below RV+ERV (neutral pressure).
It's easier if you use frenzel's equalizing technique because it makes it possible to equalize with closed epiglottis.
Eric Fattah has documented his technique for equalizing and there you can find a very good description of frenzel's tech.

-Keep your body in a relaxed position!
If you stretch your body to look down at the bottom the problem will be harder to get rid of. Probably because the negative pressure in the lungs increase.
I've had this problem sometimes and have become convinced that it is psychological, a real nerves thing which might explain why you have it more in the cold at the beginning of the season.

If you want to think yourself out of it have a read of my NLP article, there is another article coming up soon with a bit more practical use of NLP which might help more. I find as soon as I realise I am nervous and get a grip on it the fluttering and squeaking comes back under control

Great responses so far, thanks. Relaxation may be a huge component becasue it is really dark and really cold past 100' so I am not nearly as relaxed as I would be in warm, bright water. Derelictp and Samdive, now that you have learned to relax, do you still experience the flutters any more, or do the flutters tend to happen when you are reaching and trying to surpass your own max depth? I also frenzel as well as try and keep looking at the rope the whole time to minimize throat extension.
Let's hear from more Squeekers, I know you are out there
I'm not a "squeaker", but if relaxation is the key, try diving with a lanyard.

I dive in a quarry also. Although it's quite clear, the thermoclines can be brutal. When pushing my limits I find that the lanyard really gives me a sense of assurance that I'll always be close to the line. I find this really helps me relax and I've heard the same from other divers.

Plus, since lanyards are now manditory in AIDA competitions, it helps to train with them.

Jason Billows
Ottawa, Canada

I sometimes still get this problem and it almost only happens when I do the mouthfill at depths >45m. The pressure on the thorax is very negativ and that's for me the trigger to this problem. The best for me is probably to do the last mouthfill at 37-40m (there I can quite easy do a full mouthfill and I can handle the negative pressure if the body is in the right position, not stretched.) and then equalize on this air for the rest of the dive.
What is the temp of the water when you go deep and what is the visibility like? Do you see any difference in warmer water vs. cold?
I mostly dive in a lake.

Visibility: ~10m
surfacetemp: 8-17 dgrees
bottomtemp:4-6 degrees

The temperatur can be a factor but I dive in good suits so I don't notice the termoclines that much. That can also be due to the fact that I'm very concentrated in other things such as equalizing, listening to the body etc.

I dont dive as seep as any of you guys but when I go my deepest ie 24m the lump on my throat feels like its caving in is this the same thing :hmm

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