Common steps and sub-activities

Riding the rocket

 

Riding the rocket is a form of controlled breathing involving an increase in the breathing rate - a very rapid increase.  There is an irony associated with this technique, as when adults do it it is called hyperventilating, when children do this it is called variously

  • "Riding a Rocket"
  • Airplaning,
  • America Dream Game,
  • California Headrush,
  • California High,
  • Cloud Nine,
  • Elevator,
  • Flatline Game,
  • Flat Liner,
  • Flatliner Game,
  • Harvey Wallbanger,
  • Hyperventilation Game,
  • Indian Headrush, 
  • Natural High, 
  • Space Cowboy,
  • Space Monkey, 
  • Tingling Game,
  • Trip to Heaven,
  • Rocket Ride and Speed Dreaming, and
  • Wall-Hit.

 When children do this they simply breathe very quickly until they get the recognisable symptoms starting to appear of tingling, light-headedness or dizziness.  Hyperventilation in the long run actually causes oxygen deprivation to the brain, so an over supply of oxygen to the lungs causes an under supply to the brain.  At this point they may then deliberately hold their breath for a while.   The effect is enhanced if lung air pressure is increased by holding the breath "hard", that is forcing exhalation while allowing no air to escape.

 

The purpose is to get a legal 'high', and of course this is also a cheap 'high' - in monetary terms.  The high can be the result of an endorphin rush, but it can also work via the GABA system. In both cases it would be pushing it to say it is spiritual.  But it can also cause hallucinations and visions.  

The technique and use of it by the young  is widely condemned by the adult population and made the study of numerous psychologists who tut tut and shake their heads in horror at the danger of it and attribute the use of  it  to  - and I quote

  • Peer pressure
  • The issue of a challenge or dare
  • A rite of passage  into a social group.

 There are some, who get the general idea and suspect it may be because of the  “Curiosity in an altered state of consciousness, a belief that it can induce a brief sense of euphoria (a rushing sensation or high) and the prospect of intoxication, albeit brief, at no financial cost”.

 Maybe the criticism also has something to do with money, in that this is free and the other means of obtaining legal highs are charged for - often by psychologists.

Warning

This technique is potentially dangerous. If you continually force your lungs to breathe at an abnormal rate whilst ignoring the signals from your brain to slow down or ease up a bit, the vasoconstriction could result in ischemic damage.  Any activity that deprives the brain of oxygen [which through vasoconstriction it could do] has the potential to cause moderate to severe brain cell damage.  Although the chances of you pushing yourself to these limits are probably negligible, you need to be aware that this could lead to permanent loss of neurological function ranging from difficulty in concentration to loss of short term memory and loss of the reasoning function.

We may think that this is a technique involving apparently no drugs, but it does involve drugs and those drugs are in the body – endogenous drugs – and endogenous drugs can be as addictive as exogenous drugs particularly GABA and Endorphins.

You may suffer withdrawal symptoms if this activity becomes habit forming and you stop.