Two GUARANTEED Ways to Profoundly
Improve Your Intelligence

by Win Wenger

Part One - Introduction

Part Two - Can and Should Intelligence Be Increased?

Part Three - Awareness and Attention-Span: A Breathtaking Discovery

Part Four - Image-Streaming


At this moment, as you start to read this, you are holding your breath.

Gotcha!? ?

As you breathed, you moved your attention to this next sentence. OR, you moved attention to other things and then breathed again before moving it to this next sentence.

Gotcha yet?

Not because this brief is so breath-taking (well, maybe), but because your breath paces and punctuates your attention and awareness. Whenever you start to give attention to any awareness of stimulus, you hold your breath! When you breathe again, that is part of a pattern where you are releasing your attention from the one focus of awareness and moving it on to wherever it will alight next.

You can override this pattern and hold your attention (and not just merely fixate your eyes! ?did you? Gotcha again!) on one thing through several breaths, but it takes an effort. Normally, you don't go around making that effort, and neither do others.

Your breath is pace-maker for your attention, just as your child's breath is pace-maker for his or her attention. Not all instances of hyperactivity and short attention-span are caused by being short of breath, nor all reading problems. Being short of breath, an easily corrected condition, is virtually guaranteed to cause these, however.

This breath pace-making effect is not an absolute. You can override this pace-making effect with some effort. For example, hold in mind (not just your eyes at one point! ?gotcha!) the thought, " ?Holding in mind this one thought while breathing several times."

As you can see, you can override the interrupter effect, and keep one focus of attention in mind through several normal breaths (though some readers may have needed several tries before being able to do so). Also when driving a car there
may have been occasions ?but watch closely what your mind is actually doing virtually the whole time you are driving with your attention ostensibly on the road!

But it does take an effort to override the interrupter effect and even with the effort you just made, with the beginning of one of your next breaths you did find that your attention had moved on. ?And normally, neither you nor your child nor anyone else goes around making that effort. Normally, there is nothing to prevent your breath from playing its absolute role as the pacemaker for your awareness span.

You can easily test the effects of your breathing on your awareness another way, by going out for a run (or any fairly aerobic activity) which leaves you panting, short of breath. Until your breathing settles down, how hard or easy is it for you to give your sustained attention to anything, or to do any detailed work?

Even at the start of a sustained physical effort such as lifting a heavy load, you hold your breath! Doing anything, even physical, which requires concentrated attention, you repeatedly hold your breath, while trying to fix your toaster or car engine. Some people, whose concentrated effort outruns their breathing span, even become dizzy from this effect.

Check this phenomenon out by watching your own responses, then check it out on innocents around you. Fun . . . . but there is also a very serious side to this.

Normally, there is nothing to prevent your breath from playing its absolute role as the pacemaker for your attention and awareness span. So the normal span of your breath is critical to how well your mental faculties can function. This effect is so strong, in fact, it can change the course of national or world affairs!

A Breathtaking Impact On American Foreign Policy

For example: Former Secretary of State George Schultz, despite his high intelligence was remarkably ineffective in office under President Reagan his first few years. Why? ?Look at recordings of his TV interviews from those early years. He was always very short of breath, and often had to pant before he could even finish a sentence. Schultz could not muster and defend his position during Cabinet meetings. ?Nor did Schultz have the awareness span needed, despite his unquestioned intelligence, to formulate any sort of coherent foreign policy.

You have noticed that even some of your brightest friends and colleagues seem unable to make full use of their intelligence. You know from other things that they are
bright, yet they commit gaffes and oversights, or simply fail too often to see the obvious. Why? Why are some impatient with the very detail work which would enable them to succeed in their efforts? Why are so many of even the brightest, uncomfortable at reading? Well, try this one on for size:?

The Impact Of Your Breathing On Your Language Skills

If your breathing breaks your attention sooner than you can finish reading a sentence, it is hard for you to extract sense and meaning from that sentence, even if it is an easy in content as this sentence is, because before the thought it expresses to you is complete, your attention has veered away with your next breath and broken off the communication from page to you and it takes you considerable extra effort to veer back and pick back up the old focus of attention and hold that attention on this very simple sentence for long enough for the entire thought expressed in this sentence to take form in your mind!

If your breath-span is shorter than many of the sentences you read, you can see why your reading is in trouble. This may be handicapping your reading in the technical journals which you need to keep abreast of your field and career.

Smoking may be hazardous to your intellect, not just to your life and physical health!

And when you look at some of our pitifully thin-chested younger generation who have even far less reading comprehension . . . . .

An Easy Cure For The Problem

This difficulty, at least, is easily cured! Any aerobic activity running, aerobic dance, sprint swimming, certain breathing exercises ?will increase lung capacity and bring wider ranges within the span of awareness and attention. The one activity which elicits the most response from the body, in terms of quickly developing greater lung capacity, is: held-breath underwater swimming.

This should be well underwater across the bottom of the pool, because we find a distinct difference in response elicited between people who do this and people who simply swim head-down across the surface. It appears that to actually be underwater, elicits a significantly different physiological response, significantly further aiding breath development and other effects cited below.

Any pool ?during winter months, now in this country there are even indoor pools in almost every community, most often at community centers, Y's and colleges. In warmer months, no lack of pools. We strongly recommend a concentrated three-week period in which, each day, you spend an hour's total time at the bottom of the pool, stretching the time you can remain underwater on one breath. Let the lifeguard know what you're doing, so s/he doesn't panic.

This writer got into trouble of another sort after one summer he spent in summer school to make up serious academic deficiencies, an opposite difficulty which might also be a problem for some of your brighter students and friends and colleagues. Most afternoons that summer, he spent at the university's pool and spent a lot of that time underwater. That was the summer everything transformed for him, and he did not know until long after why it was that his world transformed. The trouble? ?As a writer and as a speaker, his sentences became longer than most people were comfortable reading or listening to! He had to and has to constantly work at bringing them shorter.

Is that a problem for you or for some of your acquaintances? Check to see ?our prediction is that whoever has this problem also has or recently had greater than conventional lung power, whether from swimming or from other things long since.

Another problem which many gifted students and adults have experienced as a result of a greater-than-conventional awareness span ?This writer from that time on made his peers and teachers uncomfortable by almost always instantly seizing on the point they were trying to build to in their arguments, long before they got to that point. (Heck hath no fury like some anticipated teachers . . . . . )

Forewarned is forearmed. The writer had gotten himself up to 4-1/2 minutes at a time underwater. Working up to two to three minutes at a span should suffice for most people. If your breath span becomes much longer than that, understand its probable effect on your sentence structure and on your span of awareness ?and on your further high intelligence! so you can deliberately begin re-shortening those sentences and avoid the difficulty which this writer unknowingly encountered.

The effect on Intelligence

Why did we say "intelligence?" Another effect of held-breath underwater swimming is upon the Carotid arteries which supply the brain.

Held-breath underwater swimming builds up carbon di-oxide in the bloodstream which, in turn, expands the Carotid arteries feeding circulation to the brain.* The recommended hour per day over three weeks, permanently expands those Carotids and the circulation to your brain. This not only improves your "wind," you see, this held-breath underwater swimming improves the physical condition of your brain and is an easy way to increase intelligence, even your own already-high intelligence.

That CO2/Carotid-expansion relationship is a safety system which was bred into all of us, from a time when our ancestors lived under much more rigorous conditions than we do. Any of our ancestors from such times who did not have the ability, did not live long enough to become our ancestors. We still have that Carotid-expansion trait, a fact that every medical doctor in this country has had to memorize while coming through medical school.

Every doctor had to memorize that fact, that the Carotid arteries expand in relation to carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Yet organized medical science has always looked in directions far more expensive (and disastrous, as per the examples of hyperbaric oxygen! ?and of certain expensive drugs with unhappy side-effects), in its efforts to treat various forms not only of mental and cerebral deficiency and brain damage but even cerebro-vascular deficiencies!

Is the fact that there is much more money to be made from expensive equipment and drugs, whether effective or not, the controlling motivation in medicine? Make your own test of the matter. Ask your own doctor about the fact of Carotid/CO2 expansion, confirm this to your own satisfaction. Then make your own reading about the motiva-tions of your doctor (and/or of the people who keep him or her informed of develop-ments) ?as to whether these motivations are predominantly medical, professional, humanistic, scientific, personal or mercenary ?by assessing his or her response to the idea of using that Carotid expansion response as an enrichment or even as a treatment.

What has made carbon dioxide enrichment a successful brain therapy in those relatively rare instances when it has been thus applied, especially to brain-damaged children, is this: whether by underwater swimming, baggie breathing, certain special breathing exercises, or by whatever means . . . .

. . . . . If carbon dioxide levels are made quite high quite often over a period of several weeks, the Carotids don't keep on closing back up. They stretch and accommo-date to become permanently broader, supply forever not only more oxygen to the brain but more nutrition and food energy and, most important, more cleansing away of toxins and fatigue poisons. That is why we strongly recommend the hour per day, three-week intensive period of underwater swimming.

This improved circulation to the brain means a physical healthier, more intelligent brain, improving all areas of life and not just the intellectual.

A technical note ?what actually reaches your brain cells is mediated by another circulatory system, your cerebro-spinal fluid. A blood-brain membranous barrier prevents blood and its impurities from reaching your braincells directly. An enriched blood circulation does, however, constitute for your brain a steeper osmotic slope, giving your cerebro-spinal fluid system more to work with, and still means a physically healthier, more intelligent brain.

A cautionary note ?any cerebro-vascular or stroke patient attempting to use held-breath underwater swimming or other CO2 enrichment method as a way to restore mental functions, must do so only under very close supervision of his/her doctor. Even there, though, some nutritionists believe that some of the focussed foods may also help support the brain circulatory system through such transitional stress ?including Vitamins E, C, bioflavenoids such as found in the skins of grapes, oranges and most other fruits, and cholesterol-dissolving lecithin, restoring and supporting the circulatory system toward and during the several weeks of intensive practice of held-breath underwater swimming.

Special Note ?for years we had been observing this effect, that people who held-breath swim actually underwater do far better for their efforts than does anyone else ?including even those who swim across the top of the water face down for purposes of building the CO2 effect. As of this 1991 rewriting of this paper, it turns out that our observations were correct indeed. There is an additional effect from held-breath swimming actually underwater. Marine biologists call this additional effect the diving response. All mammals including humans manifest this diving response. When one is actually underwater, even more circulation is shunted into the internal organs, including into the brain, than just with the CO2 Carotid artery expansion!

So now there are three major reasons to practice held-breath underwater swimming:

(1) improve awareness and attention span by improving breathing span;

(2) improve intelligence by improving the physical condition of the brain expanding circulation to the brain through using CO2 to expand the Carotid arteries;

(3) likewise improve intelligence by improving brain health through greater circulation during the diving response! For the full range of these benefits, then, you really do need to go actually underwater. Within this combination of effects, this mammalian diving response effect appears to be unexpectedly strong, making a huge difference in outcomes between those who actually go underwater and those who do not, in pursuit of these various effects.

How to Overcome Fear of the Water

Almost any aerobic-type activity should have some benefit. Apparently for reasons of system arousal, held-breath underwater swimming appears to be far superior in its benefits to brain, breath and perception. Many people in obvious need of such benefits may, however, be prevented by fear of the water. If they could overcome that fear and practice held-breath underwater swimming, they could broaden their awareness span, increase their intelligence, and enjoy generally healthier brains. Overcoming such fear is also valuable for safety reasons: adults have been known to disorient and drown in two feet of water!

To overcome fear of water, hold concretely onto the typical rung stairs, or concrete inset spaces serving as stairs, which go down the side or ends of the typical swimming pool. Grasping by hand is biogenetically our most familiar response, one of our most primal. By contrast: in most learning-to-swim programs, the unfamiliar patterns of muscle movement associated with trying to learn to swim are not the kind of reassurance your body may want when in a totally unfamiliar environment.

Grasp those rungs, and use those rungs to practice pulling and pushing yourself up and down through the force you exert on those rungs with that familiar grasp. Practice holding yourself under, for longer and longer times, and then pulling back up. When you find that, through holding yourself under by means of those rungs, the underwater world has become familiar and interesting to you, you've become curious about other areas of the bottom of the pool, and you are able to stay under for 2-3 minutes at a time — with these things happening, you will also find that your fear of water (or your child's, if that is what is being worked on) is long gone and safety secured in an area once at real risk.

Further benefits

An hour's total time under water, 2?3 minutes at a time, per day, over 2?3 intensive weeks should add an eventual 5?10 points "I.Q." to your intelligence and an immediate increase to the richness and span of your awareness. With your attention-span improved because of a deeper breathing-span, you will generate more experience of several items-at-a-time being contained within one span of awareness - that, in turn, should considerably improve your sense of relationships, between those items, and generally. That makes a profound difference in the quality of one's thinking and perceiving! How profound? --It's difficult to appreciate until you've gone through it, since we don't have test instruments to measure it, but you will notice a profound improvement!

Your personal power as an individual may also improve remarkably, able to press your points, hang in there longer than others can attack your points, and to easily sus-tain efforts which other people aren't up to making. There is even a cosmetic benefit!-?

An hour's total time under water per day over 2?3 intensive weeks should add an inch per week to your chest circumference, making you physically more attractive!

The intelligence gains will be over a long period of time, as the effects of improved circulation work their way into the patterns and contents of your brain's responses. The other effects will be immediate. All cited effects should prove to be permanent.

The full benefit is gotten only with a schedule of CO2-enrichment at least as inten-sive as the hour per day for 2?3 weeks we've recommended, forcing the Carotids into a permanent accommodation for a larger flow of circulation. A less intensive schedule may have some benefits, but allows the Carotids to re-equilibrate instead of stretching.

Schools often seem reluctant to accept any program likely to increase their students' intelligence. The past 40 or so years, they even appear to have gone consistent-ly in the opposite direction. Could this relate to the fact that (at every level below grad-uate school, that is) no one gets more pay if Junior learns better, but if Junior learns worse, much more money and power are allocated into the system for compensatory instruction? (In one of this writer's workshops, recently, were no fewer than 6 teachers from various schools which had just been abruptly disqualified from further Federal assistance because they had made the mistake of improving what they were doing!)

It is also true that if the underwater swimming were widely adopted at a school, the need for expensive remedial programs would sharply decrease and with it, possibly the school budget accordingly. The decrease in human suffering does not show up on the accountant's page.

You can, if you like, assess the motivations of your school or school system at its power top, by suggesting held-breath underwater swimming or any other program which clearly would reduce the need for expensive remediation. Then, evaluate the responses of your school or school system. See if your respondents offer legitimate reasons for not doing this, or instead gives you a series of excuses and situations over which the respondent claims to have no control.

By this little test, determine to your own satisfaction whether the motivation of your school or school system is to help your child learn, and to help children generally learn and learn better, or whether it is a money-grabbing machine which will relentless-ly pursue dollars even if doing so means harm to our children.

But as an underwater swimming safety program that is politically and administratively feasible: Perhaps you can talk your school into including in its phys-ed program a 6-week unit in held-breath underwater swimming, as a safety program to ensure that all children can remain safely oriented in water even if they should fall into deep water somewhere by accident. So long as your school (or its top administrators, who are unlikely to be reading this article) does not know that such a measure will also make its students a lot brighter, there is a chance that it will take the desired action.

Meanwhile, you don't have to wait upon the infinite wisdom of the authorities before helping either yourself or your own child. Virtually every area of this country now has swimming pools and areas. Almost every substantial community has at least one indoor pool for wintertime besides. Even many schools have these, ironic though that be, as do some community centers, and most YMCAs and athletic clubs.

Just go into one of these everywhere-available swimming places and start practi-cing at staying under and moving around on pool bottom for longer and longer periods of time, an hour per day every day for 3?4 weeks. Play underwater retrieval games with your child, underwater tag or whatever to keep him/her (and you) entertained, until you can comfortably sustain a breath span of 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes. (Most people can go to 4 to 4-1/2 minutes within 3?4 weeks, but then might find themselves "too bright" for their surroundings.)

One more sweetener is the fact that this underwater swimming activity also makes you (and/or your child) look good, adding about an inch per week for awhile to chest circumference, and toning up general bearing.

For those who are unable or disinclined to go swimming, this writer has published details of other CO2 enrichment procedures, including certain breathing exercises, which can accomplish some of the same results. ("Sip-breathing," for example, is a procedure which allows you to conserve your supply of CO2 half-again to twice as long as you could from simply holding your breath, to force a much richer expansion of the Carotids. Held-breath underwater swimming, though, is much the stronger procedure for CO2 enrichment and, further, engages that marine diving response to further expand circulation to the brain. Thus we strongly recommend it, to open up some truly breathtaking possibilities for you and yours.

Lastly, not only intelligence and awareness-span, and water safety, and good looks benefit from this self-training. The ability to sustain any kind of effort at whatever activity, clearly are a function of your "wind." Not all of life is a breeze, and some things do require sustained effort. In many regards, then, through held-breath underwater swimming, you (and/or your child) can become not only brighter and better looking, but a much more potent and effective person.

Not everyone is bright enough to appreciate the desirability of becoming brighter. For that reason we expect that it will be mostly those who are already intelligent who will pursue such practices as held-breath underwater swimming to improve intelligence ("the rich get richer . . . . . "), rather than those who appear to most need that. Still, the apparent value of such practices appears to stretch across all ranges of intelligence ?high, low or ordinary. Now if the reader were to be ranked in intelligence by how s/he responded to this information and invitation to improve intelligence . . . . . . ? Starting, perhaps, by verifying with a doctor the CO2/Carotid expansion effect? ?Then looking up the nearest suitable pool . . . . .


This, then, was the first procedure to increase intelligence: held-breath underwater swimming. For accumulating 20 hours of held-breath underwater swimming within 3 weeks from start to finish-- you will experience:

* the previously-promised 10 or more points I.Q. gain;
* better span of attention; better span of awareness;
* better awareness of the interrelatedness of things and of ideas and/or perceptions;
* finding yourself way better at winning arguments or disputes!

(20 or so seconds to 3 minutes at a time underwater, stretching the time a little each dip but remaining well within the bounds of comfort and safety - be sure someone with you there is aware of what you are doing. By the above procedure, you must be truly underwater, not just dipping your face in or just holding your breath, because the brain-circulation enhancement induced by the marine diving response - common to all mammals - is unexpectedly powerful in this combination of effects.)

Read an experimenter's report of results

Special Addendum 1 — 2002 to the CO2-building, brain-building, held-breath underwater swimming procedure recommended here in the above article.

We still would very much like to see, and to some extent can support, formal research done on the use of held-breath underwater swimming to increase intelligence, attention and awareness-span, physical coordination, and general physical health.

In the meantime, it is now pretty clear to this writer that all the while during that intense brain-building interval of two to three concentrated weeks of held-breath underwater swimming and for some weeks thereafter, it is hugely important that you be making demands on your brain, learning new subjects, new skills, new arts, figuring out things, laying in new abilities, so that extra circulation is being taken up and so that the new equilibrium that is being established has a USE for all that extra circulation. I think this is very important.

In the new version of the book HOW TO INCREASE YOUR INTELLIGENCE, I am emphasizing this point, that you don't want the new equilibrium simply to be all that extra circulation going to support just what your brain is doing now.

"Function determines structure." You can't expect to build extra muscle with supervitamins just sitting there on the sofa. To be effective with physical strength-building, you have to combine any special nutrition program with a physical exercise regimen. Start figuring out things and working your brain, "press mental iron" — and not just a lot of trivial mental puzzles but stuff worth figuring out or learning, stuff even worth getting excited about. For at least this one concentrated interval, push yourself.

Special Addendum 2 — 2002
Now as it turns out, there is even some increase in bloodflow to the brain resulting from apoxia alone. However, this is not the effect we are after, because with the program we suggest there'd be a net increase of oxygen to the brain even during the actual held-breath underwater swimming, to say nothing of the rest of the time. That increase, of course, results from (1) CO2-triggered expansion of the carotid arteries; (2) the mammalian diving response from being underwater, which further increases circulation to the brain; and (3) improving respiratory capacity, and the effects of that on attention span and awareness span.

Here is a relevant article on "Changes of cerebral blood flow during short-term exposure to normobaric hypoxia" by Buck A, Schirlo C, Jasinksy V, Weber B, Burger C, von Schulthess GK, Koller EA, Pavlicek V, published by the Division of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland. They report, in part, as follows:

Decreased arterial partial oxygen pressure (PaO2) below a certain level presents a strong stimulus for increasing cerebral blood flow. Although several field studies examined the time course of global cerebral blood flow (gCBF) changes during hypoxia at high altitude, little was known about the regional differences in the flow pattern.

Positron emission tomography (PET) with [(15)O]H2O was used on eight healthy volunteers to assess regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during short-term exposure to hypoxia corresponding to simulated altitudes of 3,000 and 4,500 m. Scans at the simulated altitudes were preceded and followed by baseline scans at the altitude of Zurich (450 m, baseline-1 and baseline-2). Each altitude stage lasted 20 minutes.

From baseline to 4,500 m, gCBF increased from 34.4 +/- 5.9 to 41.6 +/- 9.0 mL x minute(-1) x 100 g(- 1) (mean +/- SD), whereas no significant change was noted at 3,000 m. During baseline-2 the flow values returned to those of baseline-1.

Statistical parametric mapping identified the hypothalamus as the only region with excessively increased blood flow at 4,500 m (+32.8% +/- 21.9% relative to baseline-1). The corresponding value for the thalamus, the structure with the second largest increase, was 19.2% +/- 16.3%. Compared with the rest of the brain, an excessive increase of blood flow during acute exposure to hypoxia is found in the hypothalamus. The functional implications are at present unclear.

Further studies of this finding should elucidate its meaning and especially focus on a potential association with the symptoms of acute mountain sickness.

And now to look at the other, second, and apparently even more "I.Q."-boosting procedure, Image-Streaming. 

Go to Part Four

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©1998 by Project Renaisssance (regarding this Internet version only, other copyrights may apply). While we encourage the free distribution of this article (complete text only, including this notice and acknowledgment of source), we do require that express permission be granted by Project Renaissance for any major republication. For minor printing and sharing, we only request that you notify us.

You may reach Win Wenger via email at Project Renaissance

You may reach Win via telephone at (301)948-1122

You may reach Project Renaissance via groundmail at Box 332, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-0332 USA

This version originally published by Matthew Turco at Anakin's Brain. Adapted for Project Renaissance's website, October 30, 2000.