World class divers put to the test in water

Wednesday 24 May 2006

(Hennef, 24 May 2006) Hennef-based Airnergy, a manufacturer of innovative respiratory air devices can always be relied upon to come up with surprises and put on spectacular events. Yesterday, on 23 May, three highly trained athletes, including two apnoea divers from Italy, were put to the test by holding their breath in the outdoor pool at the Hennef Sports School for far longer than any normal person could.

A number of tests have already been carried out on the human body's ability to use more oxygen by breathing the air from an Airnergy device. But this had never been demonstrated before in public.  As proof of this, there is a sharp drop in the oxygen content of the blood when Airnergy is used. Almost all cells need oxygen for energy supply. If blood saturation levels fall this means that more oxygen is being transported to the cells. In order to prove this, readings were taken before and after breathing the air from an Airnergy device.

Because Airnergy has been tested for a number of months by apnoea divers in the Italian Olympic training centre in Tirrenia and both divers and doctors from the leading nation in this sport are impressed by the effects, the idea developed of putting the technique to the test in front of a live audience. The test took place as follows: three divers, who had no previous experience of Airnergy, held their breath for between two and six minutes during which time their blood oxygen saturation and pulse were measured continuously. Taking part were amateur diver Sascha Gräfer from Münster, the Italian world class apnoeist Giuliano Marchi and the reigning Italian champion and underwater archaeologist Monica Barbero. After an initial apnoea phase they breathed 20 minutes of Airnergy, then followed the second apnoea phase and again readings were taken. These data were read out during the course of the test then analysed on the computer. The result of the readings (data from the end of the first and second apnoea phase, i.e. directly before and after breathing Airnergy) were then projected onto a large screen.

Apnoea divers are considered suitable test candidates for measuring the oxygen content in the blood because they do not breathe - apnoea is another word for holding your breath. When people breathe they are constantly absorbing new oxygen and taking readings of the changes would be expensive in terms of the technical equipment needed. A pulsoxymeter was used for the readings in Hennef. It is a small clip, often used in medicine and in particular in anaesthesia, which is placed on the finger and transmits data to a computer.

Around 60 guests witnessed the test live and were able to see for themselves how the haemoglobin oxygen content fell significantly during the test period for all divers. Dr. Luigi Magno, Italy's most prominent diving guru and leading global authority on the area of hyperbaric medicine, travelled with the divers. He is also overseeing the tests in Tirrenia. He explained the reduced level of blood oxygen saturation following Airnergy, which incidentally, unlike the pulse rate, cannot be influenced by training or psychological factors, as follows: "Initially when we breathe the red blood corpuscules are full of oxygen. The blood is like a train which starts in the lungs and travels through the body as if along an interlinked rail network. Oxygen is released everywhere and supplies the cells with energy, comparable to passengers continuously getting off the train. Finally the train travels back to the lungs. If someone has breathed Airnergy, it simply means that more passengers can get off."

Dr. Magno believes that his readings clearly demonstrate the effect of Airnergy, but also show that there is much more to research to be done.

Even though the weather was far from ideal with temperatures only reaching 14 degrees, the Italian divers were able to demonstrate some of their expertise after the tests were concluded. With the temperature in the pool measuring just 10 degrees, they swam underwater for a full 100 metres.

The personal impressions of the divers regarding the difference between the first and second apnoea phases were interesting to note. In the second phase Giuliano Marchi did not feel that he was exerting himself at all, even after more than 6 minutes of holding his breath. He found it easier to stay longer in the apnoea phase than the first time.

For the representatives of the diving associations the performance was particularly exciting because they were directly concerned with the way in which the athletes' ability to perform can be improved when diving and how to increase performance.

All others who witnessed the test were no less impressed, since being able to supply energy in the form of more oxygen to the cells is important for athletes but particularly so for those who are ill or suffering from stress.

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