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
Part Four - Image-Streaming
AWARENESS AND ATTENTION-SPAN:
A BREATHTAKING DISCOVERY
At this moment
, as you start to read this, you are holding
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
So now there are three major reasons to practice
held-breath underwater swimming:
(1) improve awareness and attention span by improving
(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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
* 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.)
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
In the new version of the book HOW TO INCREASE YOUR
INTELLIGENCE, I am emphasizing this point, that you don't want the
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
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
©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
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.