Equalization freediving

Equalization techniques for beginners in freediving

Freediving is much more than just diving underwater while holding your breath. It requires skill, technique, and especially the ability to equalize. This issues can arise for any freediver, regardless of their level of experience. Understanding the causes of these problems and knowing how to address them is key to successful and safe dives. In the article, we will explore the main causes of equalization issues and offer methods to resolve them.

Body Position and Relaxation

Tension in the body makes pressure compensation difficult. This can be due to various reasons: stress, an uncomfortable wetsuit, incorrect head position, etc. It is important to ensure that your head is level with your body. Tuck in your head and imagine holding a small apple between your chin and neck. Choose a comfortable wetsuit, perform massages and stretching exercises before diving. Practice relaxation techniques and meditation, and try to get enough sleep.

Additionally, it's important to control your breathing rhythm. Deep and slow breaths helps reduce tension and promote better relaxation. Positive visualizations are also be helpful, imagining how easily and smoothly you'll be able to equalize. Also, pay attention to the position of your arms and legs; proper and relaxed placement of limbs during dive preparation helps maintain overall balance and relaxation.

You can use an inflatable travel pillow or a swim noodle, which is placed under the legs while preparing to dive. This will help your body to relax more, preventing the legs from sinking, and you won't have to move your fins unnecessarily to maintain a horizontal position on the water surface.

Frequency of Equalization

Infrequent equalization leads to pressure build-up, requiring greater effort for pressure compensation and can cause barotrauma to the eardrum. Start equalizing before discomfort arises. Equalize smoothly and gently! Try to do this as often as possible!

Learn to recognize the early signs of pressure build-up and respond to them timely. This helps avoid abrupt and painful equalization attempts underwater. Accustom yourself to frequent equalizations even at shallow depths to get used to the rhythm and reduce stress on your ears.

Descent Speed

Descending too quickly makes pressure compensation difficult, especially if it can't keep up with your descent rate. Dive slower to maintain relaxation and not force equalization. This will make your dives more enjoyable and safe.

Control your descent speed using visual references or by using a line, which is much more comfortable and safer at the initial stage. Practice a slow and smooth descent to get accustomed to lower speeds. Not only this will improve equalization, but it's also allow you to better enjoy the underwater world. Use fins with long and soft blades for a more controlled and slow descent if you are freediving with fins.

Nutrition and Hydration

Dehydration and improper diet also make equalization difficult. Dehydration makes the mucus in the nasal passages thicker, and some foods promote mucus production. Monitor your body's water balance. Drink enough water and avoid mucus-forming foods before freediving, such as dairy products and citrus fruits. Eat food that is healthy for you and does not cause excessive mucus production.

Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine before diving, as they lead to dehydration. Include more vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins and minerals in your diet, which will keep your body in tone and improve overall well-being. Stick to a light diet a few hours before freediving sessions to avoid discomfort and heaviness in the stomach.

Technical Aspects

Many newcomers face difficulties mastering compensation techniques, such as the Frenzel method. Managing new muscles, such as the vocal cords and tongue, can be challenging. Regular dry-land training helps develop these skills. Using specialized tools like the Otovent or EQ Tool, as well as attending workshops, online courses, and working with a personal instructor will help develop the necessary muscle strength and coordination for automatic equalization.

Initially, it is recommended to master the basic Valsalva technique, which involves exhaling air into a closed nose. After that, move on to more complex methods such as the Frenzel method, where the tongue is used to create pressure. If you manage to perform the Frenzel method immediately, it is recommended to start refining your pressure compensation mastery with it.

Dry practice and gradually increasing the complexity of exercises will help you better understand and feel the work of the muscles involved in pressure compensation. Integrating these techniques into your training routine allows you to equalize more effectively and with less effort. Remember, proper execution of equalization techniques takes time and patience. Regular training and perseverance makes these skills automatic, significantly improving your dives and making them safer.

Psychological Aspects

For some people, freediving can cause anxiety and fear, making relaxation and equalization difficult. It is important to give yourself time to get used to the aquatic environment. Break your attempts into stages and progress gradually. Try practicing meditation and breathing exercises to reduce stress and anxiety levels before dives. Visualize successful outcomes to create a positive mindset.

Working with a professional instructor will help you overcome psychological barriers. An instructor provides personalized tips and techniques aimed at improving your emotional state underwater. Group sessions are also beneficial, as support and sharing experiences with other freedivers greatly boost your confidence and motivation.

Physiological and Medical Factors

Some physiological and medical factors can significantly affect the ability to equalize. For example, anatomical features of the nasal sinuses, chronic upper respiratory diseases, or allergies can make equalization difficult. It is important to consult a doctor to rule out serious medical issues that could hinder freediving.

If you frequently experience nasal congestion or ear inflammation, consult an ENT doctor to assess your condition and receive recommendations. Treating chronic diseases or allergies can significantly improve your ability to equalize. Also, pay attention to overall physical fitness and health, as a good physical condition helps better function all systems, including respiratory and auditory.


Freediving is a unique activity that requires not only physical preparation but also psychological resilience and technique. Proper pressure compensation is an essential element of the sport, and a correct understanding and application of various methods can significantly improve your dives. It is important to pay attention to every aspect: from proper nutrition and hydration to psychological preparation and mastering techniques.

If you want to deepen your knowledge and skills in freediving, we highly recommend taking a course at our Apnetica Freediving school. We will help you master all the necessary techniques, provide individual recommendations, and support you on your journey to new depths. Sign up for a freediving course today and discover the world of underwater adventures with us!

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