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How to Use the Toynbee Maneuver to Equalize

Scuba diving is a challenging sport. At first glance, it may appear to be nothing more than just donning a wetsuit and exploring the depths of the water, but a lot of technicality goes into the sport. The human body was not made to be underwater for an extended period of time and so there are ways in which the body reacts to water that may make your scuba experience uncomfortable and overwhelming.  

There is a long list of things that your body has to adjust to when you are underwater, such as breathing via scuba tanks and avoiding the bends. All of these things can be learned and after few chances to practice, your body may not even feel like it needs to adjust when you enter the water.  

There is however an issue that all scuba divers experience, no matter how many times that you have been in the water. This issue is the feeling of the pressure caused by the water when you descend into the water. This pressure can be extremely uncomfortable and can even potentially burst your eardrums, so it is something that you need to know how to combat.  



The way that divers typically deal with this overwhelming pressure is through the use of equalizing. Equalizing is when the diver counters the pressure that is caused by the water and there are a number of different techniques that people use to equalize. The most popular technique is the Toynbee maneuver, but what is the Toynbee maneuver?


The Toynbee Maneuver  

The Toynbee maneuver is actually extremely straightforward. All you have to do is pinch your nose while also swallowing at the same time. This will counter the pressure on your ear and will make your experience under the waterway easier.  


How does it work? 

Swallowing when you descend into the water will open up your eustachian tubes and the movement of your tongue when you swallow will equalize the air in the empty space within your ears. Though it is pretty straightforward, not everyone gets it on the first time. Luckily this technique can be mastered out of the water and it is recommended that you practice the move somewhere that you can see your own reflection. This means that you will be able to see your throat movement and get an idea of whether or not you are doing it correctly. 


Why choose the Toynbee Maneuver? 

Though there are a few methods to choose from, a lot of people prefer the Toynbee method because it is a lot safer. Other people blow while pinching their nose, much like you do on an airplane when your ears get blocked. Though this works, it can pull a muscle and create difficulties breathing. When you do the Toynbee maneuver, you are also opening up another air passage. This means that you are creating a passage for air to flow through as opposed to created damage. Even if you are using one of the top 5 scuba tanks available to you on the market, you won’t be able to breathe properly if you are closing off valuable pathways.