iHealth PO3 Pulse Oximeter

It wouldn’t be the first time that you held your breath and felt your heart rate slowing. But just how slow does it go and what’s happening to your Oxygen saturation levels during the breathhold?

This is a question asked many times during the theory sessions of the regular freediving courses held by WaterMaarq across southern Australia.

Students are intrigued when the Pulse Oximeter is unleashed upon them as they perform a brief breath-hold during the theory session.

With the device placed on the finger and it linked up by Bluetooth to an iPhone or iPad, the rest of the participants can track on the screen exactly what’s happening as the seconds pass and the Test Subject begins to feel the onset of the urge to breathe.


So, what’ so good about a Pulse Oximeter when it comes to freediving training and why do we use such a device?


The Pulse Oximeter is not the be all and end all of freediving training tools, a set of goggles and a nose clip will take you further as a freediver, however, what it does provide you with is a really good tool to set some reliable benchmark empirical data and track it over time to monitor your development.

For example, you’ve just decided that in three months time you wish to peak for your freediving training course, expedition or, a freediving pool competition and you want to be able to track your progress with some real data rather than just on feel.


Performing a dry static, i.e., a breath-hold seated on the couch at home with your affectionate other looking at your strangely, you perform a single static breath-hold out of the water to a pre-determined time, perhaps say 2 minutes long.

During the breath-hold, using the iHealth Pulse Oximeter, your Buddy observes you, and if you aren’t using the iHealth SPO2 iPhone/iPad app, your buddy records the vital signs of heart rate and O2 saturation levels at pre-determined intervals, e.g. 30s, 60s, 90s, final time. This provides you with your benchmark data.


The interesting thing to observe whilst your breath-hold continues is the way the O2 saturation levels track. In the beginning, you’ll observe a slow reduction in saturation levels as your body uses O2 to function. At a certain point, the body will then switch and your reliance upon O2 will diminish as the body goes into conservation mode. At this point observations of the device will note a change in the metrics.


Each four weeks you could repeat the same benchmark test and compare your recorded data for each 2-minute breath-hold performed. By replicating the same conditions and performing your set breath-hold you have a better ability to observe the results with confidence.

Recording the metrics, you note any changes or observations, and take notes of how you felt during each phase of the hold. Soon enough you will have established a valuable set of metrics for your own personal development which you can use to determine whether your training is helping you progress, or worse, keeping you stagnant or sending you backwards.


Of course, it goes with any kind of breath-hold training, whenever performing breath-hold activities, never push italways have a safe and knowledgeable buddy with you that can respond if something is not right, someone who knows the warning signs and someone who is prepared to do something if they are in doubt about your training activities.

These devices are only a training aid, and certainly not a substitute for safe training practices. If in doubt, stop, assess and act. There is absolutely no training benefit to pushing your breath-hold beyond the limits of your capability or testing the limits of the device’s recording capabilities.


The iHealth Pulse Oximeter, is an effective training tool for monitoring changes in static breath-hold performance and for monitoring heart rate and O2 saturation levels, made easier with the iPhone/iPad Apps. It can also be used for other athletic endeavours such as running or climbing fitness monitoring. A useful tool for those interested in recording and evaluating hard data, but certainly not a vital device for everyone.


  • Super easy to use
  • Accurate enough for home use
  • Lightweight
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • USB Charging
  • Connection to iPhone/iPad App for personalised tracking and display of data


  • Sometimes found the Bluetooth connection to be unstable when attempting to connect the device to the iPad
  • iHealth SPO2 App not yet available on PlayStore

Detailed Device Specs:

iHealth Labs PO3 Pulse Oximeter Product Page

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