Decompression theory articles

Published by rdevanney on

Deco theory written on a whiteboard

Articles About Decompression Theory


Decompression theory is a complicated topic that is poorly understood. Our current understanding has been compared to measuring with a micrometre, marking with chalk, and cutting with an axe. This is because the human body is so complicated, and no two bodies are exactly the same. But all the while researchers are slowly and deliberately chipping away to gain a better understanding, and a better understanding means putting in place diving practices that will lower the risk of decompression illness and other diving injuries.


For a diver at any level, the place to start is Mark Powell’s “Deco for Divers”. It took me 2 or 3 readings from cover to cover before I was able to go into detail in my decompression procedures courses without having to reference it. You can find more information about Deco for Divers here.


Another useful book is “Scuba Physiological” by Simon Pridmore. Although it’s more about diving physiology, it gives you a good idea of what researchers of decompression theory are up against. You can find more information about Scuba Physiological here.


Below you’ll find numerous articles that go into detail about M-values, deep stops, diving algorithms, and gradient factors. They give a good overview of what your dive computer is trying to achieve during a dive. and make you think about ascent profiles and optimal ascent speeds, which is certainly no bad thing in the world of 18m/min (30ft/min).


If you know of any articles that are missing but should be in here, let me know.

Gradient factors


Gradient factors, a simplified primer- Doppler’s tech diving blog

Gradient factors- Matti Anttilla, Ph.D.

Flexible control of decompression stress- Dr Neil Pollock, Shearwater blog

Gradient factors- Dr Neil Pollock, Divers Alert Network

Gradient factors in a post-deep stops world- Professor David Doolette, inDepth Magazine

Physiology articles

Technical diving articles