Do your ears sometimes feel funny after a freediving session? Do you feel like they pop on their own or that there is fluid inside your ear?
If so, these are signs of injury to the tissues of your middle ear. When you do not equalize sufficiently or force your equalizations, pressure is allowed to repeatedly build up in the middle ear such that cells lining the middle ear become damaged and exude their fluid contents, which gives the sensation of water inside the ears.
Your ears should not feel that way after a dive.
With proper equalization training, increased awareness and control of your body, and a change in your mindset from pushing yourself to attain depth to accepting your current abilities and training within a comfortable zone of improvement, you can avoid middle ear injuries.
But besides resting, is there anything you can do to speed up the healing when you have damaged some tissues?
I have a turmeric ginger pineapple smoothie recipe to share with you!
This recipe has a story. Four years ago, I went to Bali to take an advanced freediving course. And to pass my course, I had to do a 25m Constant Weight No Fins dive, something I had never tried before. Under pressure to perform, I attempted the dive and being so focused on passing my test, I sped down the line like a bullet (that’s what my buddies told me). And then, at about 23m, I heard a pop sound, and I stopped, turned, and pulled myself back up the line.
Luckily, I did not tear my eardrum but probably burst a few blood vessels as the nurse looked into my ears and saw that the tissues were red and inflamed. That was the end of my freediving for that trip. And it is why freedivers are always advised to know themselves, listen to their body, and not feel coerced to do something they are not ready for. But something good did come out of that experience. I learned about a fantastic drink that helped my ear to heal quickly.
Feeling helpless at my ear injury, the nurse told me not to despair and that I could buy a pineapple with turmeric and ginger smoothie that would help me heal faster. I tried it and knew it worked because immediately after drinking a cup of this smoothie, my ear felt less sore. So what is inside this concoction that helps with healing?
Pineapples have been used as a medicine in many native cultures to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain in the body and help with wound healing. The fruit and the stem contain bromelain, a mixture of systemic enzymes that can be absorbed in the intestines without degradation and transported by the blood to break down waste materials from tissue damage and fibrin that can cause scarring to accelerate healing.
Turmeric is another plant with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is the main biologically active compound (that makes the root yellow) that speeds up wound healing by enhancing tissue formation, collagen deposition, tissue remodeling, and wound contraction.
Ginger is another powerful medicinal plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments from cancer to colds. The fragrant smell and taste of the root come from at least 115 bioactive constituents. Ginger inhibits oxidative damage and inflammation, hence reducing swelling and the sensation of pain.
Blend these three ingredients together, and you create a potent drink that can speed up the healing of wounds in the body, whether from injuries or surgeries.
Cut off the skin of the pineapple (but keep them to make pineapple tea) and chopped the yellow flesh of the pineapple into slices. Slice a chunk of turmeric and ginger (with their skins on) and add them to the blender with pineapple slices. Add some cold water, then blend this concoction into a smooth consistency. Feel free to add other ingredients that you like to this, for example, a squeeze of a lemon half or some passion fruit pulp. Then pour and serve and enjoy this creamy nutrient-packed smoothie.
To not waste the pineapple skins, you can put them into a pot of filtered water, add finely chopped turmeric and ginger, bring this to a boil, and then let it simmer and cool down to room temperature. And then put this in the refrigerator to chill and then pour and serve.
The pineapple tea contains significantly less active nutrients than the smoothie, as heat will inactivate much of the enzymes and compounds. However, it is still a refreshing drink that is naturally sweet and tangy, and wonderful to enjoy after a freediving session.
Enjoy the drinks but remember that injuries can be avoided when you are kind to yourself, listen to your body, and not push it beyond what it is ready for. You can do much to prepare and stretch your equalization potential, and given time and strategic efforts, you will make improvements!