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Question about restricted breathing

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by divingdutchmen, May 2, 2005.

  1. Hi all,

    I am new here, well I have been reading posts on here for awhile, but I just recently signed up. Last year I did a resort course down in the Keys with my girlfriend. I loved the dive, and I am starting my OW course May 9. My girlfriend, on the other hand, couldn't get comfortable breathing through the regulator. She said that she didn't like the restricted feeling. I am trying to get her to try it again, but the whole experience just wasn't good (rough seas, not enough training, she was cold, her mask leaked when she entered the water, etc.). I guess my question is, if I can get her to try breathing through a higher end regulator, will that reduce that restricted feeling? I haven't used different regs so I don't know.

  2. kidspot

    kidspot Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Moses Lake, Washington
    Probably depends on what she means by restricted - I heard of a DM yesterday that panicked while demonstrating buddy breathing because he was going from a High performance reg to sharing with another DM on their lower end rental unit - made him bolt for the surface...

    I've tried some regs where I had to suck really hard to get the air flowing and others where it was no more effort than breathing as I sit here typing this... Some actually seem to "force" air into your lungs (I don't care for them)

    So it might be worth a try if she wants to. (that being the key) you might even let her breathe off of a couple on land to see if she feels the restriction there... she might in a lower end reg, then switch to a better reg and if the restriction is gone, it may help her decide to try again...

    Aloha, Tim
  3. Damselfish

    Damselfish ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    Was the restricted feeling from the regulator for sure, or something else? Was she complaining of this while in the water geared up? Could it have been related to a wetsuit, inflated BC, or just the water and everything in general? Just a general feeling of discomfort?

    Just remember not to push her too hard. Encouragement is fine but it has to be something she wants to do.
  4. shark.byte.usa

    shark.byte.usa Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Newbie here, but I would say that depends, could have been the regulator could have been her, coulda been both. My own experience, in my first pool session on scuba, I had only breathed on a reg for about 5 minutes in the previous pool session. The instructor was guiding us down to the bottom of the pool while we cleared and operated the inflator hose. We'd get about 2' feet down and I couldn't breathe (easily), we'd come up, I tell him I couldn't breathe, he checked the reg (didn't actually breathe on it) and said it was fine, happened 3x's finally he told me it was mental and to go to the ladder and just breathe, after about 20 mins, I was able to join the class, after I got used to THIS regulator. Now it could have been 1 thing or several things

    1. Regulator sucked
    2. I was overbreathing the regulator
    3. I was overthinking it, mental.

    Now I felt like a complete moron, so I went to the pool for extra practice, maybe a day later. Grabbed another set of regulators and immediately could tell the difference, same brand mind you. So I think it was a culmonation of all 3, first the regulator sucked, so I started overbreathing it and then it became mental. Had this been some resort course, I don't know what would have happened or if I would have persued scuba.

    Now I have some regulators (Sherwood Bruts), which were given to me and I've been using since getting them serviced and inspected, they aren't the greatest breathing regs, but I'm used to them now, I know what to expect. I've tried my buddy's Scubapro X650, and they breathe real nice, but they do kindof force air, which I didn't really like.

    What was my point?.....OH, if this was her only gripe about scuba, I'd go for another class, that offered alot of time to get comfortable, have her try several different regs. If it was just the reg and not overbreathing or mental, then I would think a high end reg may help, with the restricted feeling, but then again it could have been mental, and the rush through of a resort course didn't afford her the time to get comfortable breathing uw.

    My .02 cents
  5. lairdb

    lairdb Solo Diver

    For what it's worth (which is very little, this being 1.free, and 2.the web) my guesses would put reg performance last on the list. Much higher would be
    - cold
    - cold
    - cold
    - claustrophobic tendency
    - unfamiliar feeling of squeeze from the wetsuit, possibly ill-fitting as well
    - cold
    - unfamiliar feeling of constriction from the mask
    - cold
    - general discomfort from rough seas, insufficient familiarity with scary equipment, etc.
    - cold
    - low-performance or defective reg

    You may have noticed "cold" in the list. This isn't just about being uncomfortable; there is a specific physiological breathing reaction related to being cold that manifests as a tightness of the chest. IIRC, it's triggered even more forcefully by the facial temperature nerves.

    Perhaps she'd be willing to try again, in a heated pool, under one-on-one conditions with an instructor with whom you both together have pre-discussed her previous experience and concerns?
  6. divecouple

    divecouple Registered

    I sympathize with you and your girlfriend. My hubby and I took a resort course while in Hawaii. I did fine in the pool but once we went to the ocean I began to panic and I felt like I could not get enough air from my reg. The conditions were rough and I was just too nervous. I didn't feel like I was getting paniky at the time but in retrospect I was. My nervousness was causing me to breath too rapidly and I felt I could not catch my breath. I ended up ascending, freaking out at the surface and returing to shore. For some reason I got even more paniked once I was at the surface! Anyway, a year later my hubby signed up for class and I thought no way after that experience but once he got his book and videos I got into it and signed up for class too. Once I figured out that if I feel out of breath all I have to do is stop, breath very slowly and delibratly and rest and then I am fine in a matter of seconds. The pool really gives you a chance to play around in a non threatning enviornment.

    Based on what you said about the conditions of her dive I can see myself right there and I wonder if her out of breath feeling was the same thing I experienced. I hope she will give it another shot. I'm really glad I did!
  7. ScubaSarus

    ScubaSarus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Connecticut
    I was loaned a regulator once while mine was being serviced. I was in 20 ft of water and came back in a slight current. I couldnt get enough air the reg was restricted big time. I had had to surface and swin in a ways out of the current. On inspection there was green residue on the filter.

    Get her a topnotch regulator and not a rental unit. She will note the difference and probably have a change in mind. Rental regs suck sometimes and our shop actually told us to buy our own gear from them when we complained about their shabby rental gear the made us use.

    Let her try a top notch zeagle or scubapro etc
  8. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

    I hate resort courses!!!! They turn to many people off diving. If you can convince her that her bad experience was the result of not being ready you might get her to take another shot. Unfortunately, she'll probably have a similar experience if she takes a typical OW course. She needs a patient instructor who doesn't put her on SCUBA right away. SCUBA is a big step and she needs to be prepared for it with skin diving first. Once she's mastered the basics of skin diving, she should move to SCUBA.
  9. kidspot

    kidspot Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Moses Lake, Washington
    I get the distinct impression you think cold water can be an issue ... :wink: Are you talking sub 80* water or really really cold (like 75*) lol


  10. Thanks everyone for the advice. I am not pushing her at all, I mentioned that she should give it a try again and she said maybe sometime. I wish I could go back and not do the resort course. It was obvious that they didn't prepare us well at all, and after they took us out they said that we were in some of the roughest seas they had seen in awhile. There were eight divers on the boat and five got seasick, including some experienced divers who were going along videotaping. She definetaly panicked while in the water, she said that it was because she couldn't breathe very well, but then her mask leaked and she had to ascend and get back on the boat. All of that aside, she loves the water, snorkels, swims all the time, basically lives on the lake during the summer. I am the manager at our city pool, and the dive instructor that I am getting certified through is going to come do a discover SCUBA session here in July. He said that he would bring his high end reg down for her to try if she wanted, but I wasn't sure if I should even ask her try again without some more "formal" training or if putting her on SCUBA in a heated pool and with nicer equipment might make her say 'this is pretty fun' . I just don't want her to have another bad experience and be turned off of SCUBA diving forever.

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