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David Blaine - 17 min breath hold

  1. May 1, 2008 #1
    Is it physically possible to hold a breath that long?

    and live?

    David Blaine sets new record on Oprah. 17 min 4 secs.

    I'm skeptical.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2008 #2
  4. May 1, 2008 #3
    If he wasn't known for his magic and his illusions, I would have less doubt.

    17 min is a long time.
    I've read up and it sure as hell seems legit, but I , ... damn that's a long time.
  5. May 1, 2008 #4
    I was very doubtful at first, also because he is a magician. But it seems that this is not his first attempt at all. Besides, you must realize that he took pure oxigen for about half an hour before. So this does not compare to other records without such pure oxygen taking, which are limited to less than 8 minutes (different world record).
  6. May 1, 2008 #5
  7. May 1, 2008 #6
    sadly the link leads to nothing connected to Blaine or I missed it.
  8. May 1, 2008 #7
  9. May 1, 2008 #8
    got it
    Thank you. long listen. I tried to hold my breath. :)

    Stupid retard! hehehe said with respect. LOL
    Slightly off the topic, but nice background to the person.
    I like his street stuff but

    can a human do this? Is it real or illusion? 17 min is a very long time.
  10. May 2, 2008 #9


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    Well, several people have mananged more than 16 minutes in the past (mostly free divers, they tend to be very good at holding their breath), so 17 minutes is presumably also possible.
    My guess is that someone will break this record within the next few months.
  11. May 2, 2008 #10
    Chris Angel says it's fake. Claims he did the trick several years ago and "held" his breath for 24hrs.
  12. May 2, 2008 #11


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  13. May 2, 2008 #12


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    People, if you have a thin tube threaded up your anus and and up your digestive tract and pushed down into your lungs, you can probably stay underwater for a very long time, as long as you're getting a steady supply of oxygen. I suspect trickery, not physical capability.
  14. May 2, 2008 #13


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    Considering that 5 min without breathing is the generally accepted cut off for high risk of brain death, 17 min without some trick seems highly implausible. David Blaine is a well-known illusionist, so there probably is some sort of trick to this (though I'm giving a big "ICK" to turbo's suggestion :rofl:). I tried watching for any signs of movement in the video clip, but it was rather short to determine (how many times did he raise his arms? I'm wondering if that was a cover for taking a breath).

    Can those claiming that others have reached 16 min before support that with any sort of credible reference?
  15. May 2, 2008 #14
    i once held my breath for 30 seconds in our local swimming pool....so maybe he did do it....YEH GO DAVID GO DAVID!!
  16. May 3, 2008 #15


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    I am not sure how credible it is, but one example:

    The discipline is known as "static apnea with pure oxygen". I saw a documentary about the former world record holder, Peter Colat, on Discovery a while back (at least I think it was him). Note that most of these guys are not "normal", their ability to hold their breath being a combination of genetics and a lot of training; meaning it is hard to say what is really plausible.
    The record is without oxygen is over 9 minutes which for normal people would probably cause permanent brain damage.

    For the record: In my view these guys are all crazy.

    Edit: Using Google Scholar I found this paper (free access)
    http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/dspace/bitstream/123456789/5016/1/16602257.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. May 3, 2008 #16
    Crazy ! hehehe - sure, for a given value of crazy.

    So, some say fake, some say plausible.

    Can a definitive answer be determined?
    Does illusion fake out physiology? And the World record people?

    I didn't watch. I figured cameras would be nothing more than adding to the illusion.
    Or stunt.
    but what was it?
  18. May 3, 2008 #17
  19. May 3, 2008 #18
    You raise an interesting point there MB. Okay, I am going to make an attempt to be a biologist, but forgive me if it goes horribly wrong! :blushing:

    Would inhaling pure oxygen for half an hour alter the concentration of haemoglobin in the blood, or is this too short a period, maybe I am missing the point of the pure oxygen!? If so then would this not increase his ability to hold his breath? Surely training at high altitudes, which is known to increase the haemoglobin concentration also play a vital role in holding your breath? Is this not what some top athletes do?

    Anyway, that aside, I have sound an interesting link. It goes over how to hold your breath for long times, using Blaine as an example. it also says that it is not uncommon for people to hold their breath over the 5 minutes you have said!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4964488.stm" [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  20. May 3, 2008 #19
    That isn't true at all. The "5 minute" figure is in reference to the oxygen supply being cut off from the brain, such as when the heart stops beating. Just because someone is holding their breath doesn't mean their brain is being deprived of oxygen. If that were true, you'd pass out within 2 or 3 seconds of holding your breath.

    I'd say that 17 minutes is certainly possible, and every bit as impressive.
  21. May 3, 2008 #20


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    No, it's not from when the heart stops beating, but from when breathing ceases...for example, time underwater in a drowning case. Granted, there may be some leeway for air in the lungs vs lungs depleted of air, but it does not require the heart be stopped.

    As I already posted, if someone has credible evidence from a source other than an illusionist that it's possible to hold one's breath that long and survive, they need to provide it, otherwise the default is that it is an illusion. If you ask me, his hair doesn't even look wet upon emerging from the water (at least not until he tips his head back an extra time to wet it on the surface water). For all we know, that sphere he was in was designed to disort and hide the fact that he was in an air pocket in the middle.
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