The Impact of Habits on Equalization

Is equalization often the limiting factor in your depth progression?

Is equalization an uncomfortable and stressful occurrence for you?

Have you ever gotten a frontal sinus squeeze (a tight and painful feeling in the forehead) when diving?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you may benefit from having a more careful look inside your mouth and throat to assess yourself if you have what is known in the medical world as orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD).

For the head and its muscles to develop to their full potential in an adult, certain things need to be in place in a growing child:

1. The child should be breastfed (directly from the breasts and not from a bottle), as this trains the baby’s tongue to make a pumping motion, which will lead to it developing full function and the correct resting posture.

2. The child should have the tongue on the hard palate as the resting posture and breathe through the nose growing up, with a lip seal. This way, the teeth grow around the tongue, and the palate is expanded to have sufficient space for all the teeth to grow.

3. At an early age, the child should be exposed to all types of food, including hard foods requiring chewing. Chewing on increasingly tougher types of food strengthens the masseters and enables the jaws to develop to their full potential.

4. The child should be provided a safe and secure upbringing and be touched, carried, and soothed by the parents so they will not develop other self-soothing methods like thumb or finger (or any other item) sucking, which will cause an open bite to develop. If not, the arch of the teeth will grow in a crooked way to accommodate these habits.

5. The child should be provided with, as much as possible, an allergen-free environment to grow up in, where the child can breathe freely through the nose. Should the child develop allergies and mouth-breathes, this will cause point number 2 to be unable to occur, leading to poor orofacial muscular development, such as the case below.

British boy when he was 10 years old and when he was 17 years old (front and side view).

The first image shows a 10-year-old boy who was given a gerbil on his 14th birthday. Soon after, he developed an allergy to the gerbil’s fur, and his nose began to block, causing him to breathe through his mouth. Unfortunately, his family was unaware of the issue. Three years of continued mouth-breathing (lowering the tongue from the hard palate and opening the lips to breathe) led to the poor development and functioning of the muscles of his mouth and face. Unfortunately, this also affected his appearance. As you can see, his face is much longer and narrower at 17 years of age.

None of us have a perfect development. Few of us have good development and high functioning muscles of the mouth and face. After all, in today’s world, except in some tribal societies, it is no longer common to keep your baby constantly close to you to breastfeed as and when needed, and parents start to feed babies with pureed food at a young age. Additionally, today’s living environment is full of chemicals and toxic allergens.

Fast forward to today, could this explain why so many of us have difficulties learning how to equalize? Could it be because some of us do not have full access to our tongue and pharynx muscles, which are needed to equalize? In this course, you will learn to self-assess yourself for these issues. You will learn exercises and massages to gain awareness of and control over your orofacial musculature to help you regain some of these lost forms and functions. Hence, you may find it easier to learn specific equalization techniques thereafter.

But for now, take a moment to think of your childhood and reflect on how you were brought up:

  1. Were you breastfed as a baby?
  2. Did you have a habit of thumbsucking or chewing on your lips or cheeks etc? Did you perform any habits when you were stressed or bored to soothe yourself?
  3. Are there certain food that you notice yourself avoiding to eat? For example, you don’t like steak or crunchy food like apples and nuts, food that require more chewing.
  4. Do/did you have crooked teeth or poor bite that had to be corrected with orthodontics?
  5. Do you breathe using your mouth?
  6. Do you wake up feeling refreshed, or do you always feel tired no matter how much you sleep?

Please also check out the Equalization Gym Course that I have developed that uses a myofunctional approach to help you overcome some of these developmental hurdles that may have hindered your learning of equalization.

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