Freedivers can dive to a huge depth under the water (the current record is 214 meters) without breathing apparatus. Champions can hold their breath for a very long time, a record among women – nine minutes, among men – eleven. Scientists and practitioners of freediving, as a rule, do not overlap. But on closer examination of this sport it is almost impossible that people can dive so deep. And they can.
Without any support, if you breathe only with air, you can even conquer Everest. Is that protective clothing will be needed. It’s about nine kilometers above sea level. But when you sink into the ocean, everything changes much faster because of the rapid change in pressure.
Having sunk only 10 meters into the ocean, you will feel twice as much pressure as if you were standing on the surface. And for every 10 meters further you will receive another atmosphere of pressure. The body, anatomy and physiology change significantly, functioning in such conditions, so diving deep into the ocean waters is a unique complex exercise. In your body, not only are compressed air-containing spaces, but the behavior of gases in the bloodstream varies, and at the same time, the functions of the nervous system.
In the early days of freediving physiologists were sure that people could not dive below 30-40 meters. Science would not allow this to happen. The scientists drew the graphs, laid out all the knowledge about the human body and the effect of pressure on it and said: “Your lungs will be crushed and you will spit blood already at a depth of 40 meters. It’s just not possible to submerge below. ”
Of course, this did not convince freedivers – and they were able to circumvent these theoretical boundaries. How? Martina Amati, freediver, tried to answer this question:
“The physical side is definitely present, but basically the whole thing in the head. It is the mindset in freediving that is incredible. It’s not about your physical abilities, but about mental and mental preparation. You need to forget everything that you know, and everything that does you bad or good. This is a liberating process. Equally, you also need to be fully aware of where your body is and where you are, at the same time. ”
At a depth of 10 meters, we need more oxygen than at a depth of 100 meters, because the pressure of water makes oxygen more powerful. It turns out, the most important thing in deep immersion is the last stage of recovery, when there is a risk that the pressure will drop and oxygen in tissues also suddenly fall.
Also hard at the start. On the surface and in the first few meters of immersion, water pushes out the body. When you start to dive, the water pressure pushes you back to the surface, and only at a depth of 13-20 meters the speaker changes.
“The body begins to sink like a stone. We call this part a free fall, when the freediver completely ceases to move. This is the most beautiful part of the dive. When you come back from a dive and take the first breath, each time this breath is the first. For me it’s like being born again. I represent water as a womb. ”
The diver feels a change in the chemistry of the blood stream, because the increased pressure allows the gases to dissolve easily and to more effectively manifest their effect. Nitrogen, for example, which is dissolved in the blood, acts as a drug, and you are slightly drunk already at a depth of 30-40 meters. If you dive below, excess nitrogen will cause euphoria.
When the freediver is plunged deeper and deeper, he compresses these last debris of oxygen in the bloodstream and tries to hold out at a much lower oxygen level than ordinary people are used to. You get into such a strange balance when the pressure still lets you breathe and does not kill. This is a very delicate balance, which requires very strange and not very understandable physiological feats, so that man remains alive. Records of immersing freedivers are absurd: they are not even tens, but hundreds of meters.
One can only approximate how this happens. No, this is not something that is completely mysterious – but we do not understand much. Freedivers would become an interesting object for scientists’ attention, since physiologically their activity is associated with oxygen starvation and hypoxia, which is not good, but is an integral part of the freedivers experience. Freediving is impossible to imagine without it. This is the gray area between life and death, when anything can happen. In medicine, these areas are not explored for fun – but people who put their lives on the line by practicing freediving, present this opportunity – to explore.