Freedivers in the old world in a glance.

Who the first divers were, we don't know. Nor can we be sure why they dived, thought it's fairly safe to assume that fishing foro mollusks, crustaceans, and other food was amajor reason. We do know that mean were diving as early as 4500 B.C., archeologists have unearthed shells in Mesopotamia that must have come up from the seafloor. But there is a gap in the history of diving of more than a thousand years_until the Theban VI Dynasty in Eygept, around 3200 B.C. many of the archeological sites there infdicates that freediving was wide spread fro the shells the ornaments were made from could have been obtained only by diving... Evidence suggests that diving became more widespread, with artifacts and ornaments made from shells indicating the practice of diving for these resources. The exact techniques used by these ancient freedivers remain unknown, but it is likely that they employed simple breath-holding methods and rudimentary tools for collecting underwater resources. Over time, as civilizations developed along coastlines and near bodies of water, the practice of freediving likely expanded. Ancient cultures such as the Minoans, Phoenicians, and Greeks were known to engage in maritime activities, including fishing and trade, which likely involved some form of freediving for resource gathering. In the Old World, freediving continued to be an integral part of coastal communities' livelihoods. The techniques and equipment used by freedivers would have evolved gradually over centuries, driven by the need for more efficient and effective ways to extract resources from the sea. While historical records may be scarce, the artifacts and remnants of ancient civilizations provide glimpses into the presence and significance of freediving in the old world. The development of freediving as a skill and profession likely played a crucial role in shaping the relationships between these early societies and the marine environment.


Since it is the CO2 level in the blood that gives the body the “state of breath hold”, low CO2 levels can lead to a hypoxic blackout due to delayed (if any) previous warning symptoms...

Reduced blood flow to the brain Low CO2 (hypocapnia) can decrease the blood flow to the brain, due to a constriction of blood vessels to the brain (cerebral vasoconstriction). This reduces the Oxygen supply to the brain. Extreme states of cerebral vasoconstriction caused by hypocapnia can lead to a blackout while the freediver is still breathing at the surface. Hyperventilation decreases breath-hold capability Many of the Oxygen-conserving mechanisms as described in “The Mammalian Dive Response (MDR)” are triggered or supported by rising Carbon Dioxide levels in the blood during apnea. Hypocapnia inhibits the MDR and thus the body will not conserve energy (Oxygen) to the same extent as it would during a breath hold that has been started with a normal level of CO2. After hyperventilation, a hypoxic state is thus reached sooner than in a breath hold prepared by a relaxation exercise according to normal ventilation. Bohr effect Low CO2 (hypocapnia) renders the blood more alkaline. This in turn makes the bond between haemoglobin and Oxygen stronger! As a result, the bonded O2 in the blood is less likely to be released to tissues. This is known as the Bohr effect. During a breath hold, the saturation with Oxygen decreases. Starting with an average saturation of 96–98%, the freediver would black out when reaching roughly 45%. This is very unlikely to happen as the maximum tolerance of Carbon Dioxide is reached considerably earlier, allowing the freediver to end the breath hold well in time. Hyperventilating does not change the level of Oxygen saturation in the blood, but it decreases its content of CO2. During a subsequent breath hold, symptoms of rising CO2 are thus delayed, and 45% of Oxygen saturation can be reached before CO2 levels surpass tolerable levels. This is why hyperventilation leads to blackout. Lower than normal CO2 levels delay the energy-conserving effects of the mammalian dive response and enhance the bonding between hemoglobin and Oxygen, reducing the release of Oxygen to tissues (Bohr effect). The freediver thus depletes his O2 reserves faster and blacks out earlier.


Barotrauma is a general term for any physical damage caused by a difference in pressure inside one of the air-filled cavities of the body and the surrounding water pressure....
In diving, barotrauma can appear both during descent and ascent (reverse block).
An eardrum perforation or rupture manifests itself with sharp pain. the patiant might also experience vertigo and loss of direction. If the eardrum is damaged, there will also be a temporary loss of hearing to a certain extent. As a consequence of an eardrum injury, water will enter the middle ear and there is a high risk of infection.
Middle Ear Barotrauma:
Blood is forced into the middle ear If the diver fail to equalize and do not stop descening, blood and other fluids might be forced into the middle ear, partially or even filling it. This is called a middle ear barotrauma. The fluid in the middle ear is a great risk of infection. Seek medical attention!
A middle ear barotrauma causes sharp, sometimes extreme pain that might persist for days. Also, ear feels “full” and hearing is muffled or even completely lost. Sometimes the patiant feel like still having “water in the ears” the following day after freediving. In many cases, water is trapped in outer ear by earwax which needs an ear cleaning by a doctor. But if this is not the case, then might have suffered from middle barotrauma and need to seek medical assistance.

The best training for freediving

The best training for freediving encompasses a combination of physical conditioning, breath-hold techniques, mental preparation, and safety education....

Breath-Hold Techniques: Practicing breath-hold exercises to improve lung capacity, breath control, and relaxation underwater. This includes static apnea (holding one's breath without moving), dynamic apnea (swimming underwater on a single breath), and CO2 tolerance training.

Physical Fitness: Developing overall fitness, including cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, which can enhance performance and safety in freediving. Focus on exercises that improve lung function, such as swimming, yoga, and cardiovascular workouts.

Equalization Techniques: Learning and mastering equalization techniques to equalize pressure in the ears and sinuses as you descend, preventing discomfort and potential injuries. Techniques such as the Frenzel maneuver are commonly taught in freediving courses.

Safety and Rescue Skills: Understanding safety protocols, rescue techniques, and emergency procedures to ensure a safe diving experience. This includes training in buddy systems, recognizing signs of hypoxia or blackout, and performing rescue maneuvers.

Mental Preparation: Developing mental discipline, relaxation techniques, and focus to manage stress, anxiety, and adrenaline during dives. Visualization, meditation, and mindfulness practices can help improve mental resilience and concentration underwater.

Progressive Training: Gradually increasing dive depths and durations while respecting personal limits and listening to the body's signals. Incremental progression allows for adaptation and reduces the risk of injury or blackout.

Qualified Instruction: Seeking guidance from certified freediving instructors or training agencies to learn proper techniques, safety protocols, and best practices. Formal courses provide structured training, feedback, and assessment to ensure competency and safety.

Recovery and Rest: Prioritizing adequate rest, recovery, and hydration between training sessions to prevent fatigue, optimize performance, and reduce the risk of overtraining or injury.

Training session with Aboodfreediver

how freediving can potentially benefit the lungs?

Freediving can have positive effects on lung function and respiratory health, but it's essential to approach it safely and gradually, especially if you're new to the sport....

Increased Lung Capacity: Regular breath-hold training in freediving can help expand lung capacity over time. As you practice breath-holding exercises and underwater swimming, your lungs adapt to holding larger volumes of air, which can enhance overall respiratory function.
Improved Breath Control: Freediving requires precise breath control and relaxation techniques to optimize oxygen use and minimize air consumption during dives. These practices can help improve respiratory efficiency and breath-holding ability.
Enhanced Diaphragmatic Strength:Freediving involves using the diaphragm and intercostal muscles to control breathing and equalize pressure underwater. Training these muscles through breath-hold exercises and deep breathing techniques can strengthen them, potentially improving respiratory function.
Better Oxygen Utilization: Freediving promotes efficient oxygen utilization by the body, as divers learn to conserve oxygen and reduce the metabolic rate while underwater. This skill can have positive effects on overall respiratory health and aerobic endurance.
Stress Reduction: Engaging in freediving and spending time underwater can promote relaxation and stress reduction, which can have indirect benefits for respiratory health. Reduced stress levels may contribute to improved lung function and respiratory efficiency.

Pressure and RV-Depth

Your lungs reach residual volume (RV) after a maximum exhalation. This is the smallest size your lungs are used to and prepared to be at...

. [ Boyle’s Law ] now says that “(…) the volume of a gas is inversely proportional to the absolute pressure”, which is often demonstrated with an air-filled balloon compressed at depth. During freediving, the air in your lungs reacts to pressure just like the balloon. The deeper you go, the smaller becomes the volume of the inhaled air. At a certain depth, the volume of the inhaled air in your lungs will approach RV. Getting close to RV can be felt as rising pressure on your upper torso, or, as a freediver proverb puts it, “RV is close when the elephant steps on your chest”. You need to approach this level – or depth – with utmost care! Avoid jerky movements and control your descent speed by grabbing the diving rope if necessary. Give your body time to adapt, and progress with training slowly over weeks and months. Failure depth is the depth where RV is reached and normal equalization will not work anymore.

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