27 December 2007

I Know All There Is To Know About The Choking Game...



I remember a few fools playing this game back in junior high school. We were in music class and they were making each other pass out. It was creepy. I couldn't remember how the F they did it so I looked it up.

The fainting game or the choking game, also known by a million other nicknames such as Airplaning, America Dream Game, Black Out Game, Breath Play, Breathing the Zoo, Bum Rushing, California Blackout, California Choke, California Dreaming, California Headrush, California High, California Knockout, Choking Out, Cloud Nine, Crank, Dream Game, Dreaming Game, Dying game, Fall Out Game, Flat Liner, Flatline Game, Flatliner Game, Funky Chicken, Getting Passed Out, Grandma's Boy, Halloween, High Riser, Hoola Hooping, Hyperventilation Game, Indian Headrush, Knockout Game, Passing Out Game, Pass-out Game, Purple Dragon, Natural High, Redline, Rising Sun, Rocket Ride, Sandboxing, Sleeper Hold, Space Monkey, Speed Dreaming, Suffocation Game, Suffocation Roulette, Teen Choking Game, Tingling Game, Trip to Heaven, Wall-Hit, is not technically a "game" but more an activity whereby a state of unconsciousness or near unconsciousness is produced by restricting the supply of oxygenated blood to the brain.


For some reason, adolescents love them "choking games", the attraction perhaps owed to the erotic nature of the body's response to oxygen deprivation. O, my.

There have been many reports of death from the game, but it is expected that this is under reported due to being mistaken as suicides. A host of variations have been responsible for a large number of deaths and permanent neurological disabilities.

I suppose curiosity in an altered state of consciousness, the experience of a brownout, an imagined approximation to a near death experience or more recently, copycatting elements of the film Flatliners could all be reason to try it. I never did though. I was too scared I'd never wake up. I let Jose, and Sergio and Mouna do it. Not me.


Most likely its the belief that it will induce a brief sense of euphoria and may enhance erotic feelings; the prospect of intoxication, albeit brief, at no financial cost a.k.a. cheap drugs, dood!

I guess when you're young and dumb you don't realise the physiological mechanisms involved and the real dangers playing the game presents. I learned it from watching you, dad!


Almost all forms of the game begin with some form of hyperventilation, which can be done sitting or lying down, but it is very common to start squatting or bent over, and quickly standing up before the next part, which increases the effect. (Hyperventilating can cause hypocapnia which is a state of reduced carbon dioxide in the blood and the feeling of pins and needles which is actually called Paresthesia)

After the hyperventilatin' is done, your good buddy grabs both sides of your neck with his thumbs and index fingers and squeezes. Sorta like momma cat picking up baby cat.



And then you pass out and Jefferson Airplane plays for about 5 seconds before you wake up. Big fun, huh?


Thumbs or wrists pressed on the sides of neck compresses the internal carotid artery. This causes a direct restriction of blood to the brain. Well, that sounds charming. Pressing on the carotid arteries also presses on baroreceptors. These bodies then cause vasodilation (dilation (widening) of the blood vessels) in the brain leading to insufficient blood to perfuse the brain with oxygen and maintain consciousness.


A message is also sent via the vagus nerve (a message to you, Vagus! Fuck you Vagus!) to the main pacemaker of the heart to decrease the rate and volume of the heartbeat, typically by up to a third. In some cases there is evidence that this may escalate into asystole, a form of cardiac arrest that is difficult to treat. There is a dissenting view on the full extent how and when a person reaches a stage of permanent injury, but it is agreed that pressure on the vagus nerve causes changes to pulse rate and blood pressure and is dangerous in cases of carotid sinus hypersensitivity.


I was never dumb enough to try so I have no idea what it feels like but hey, its almost Friday!

Teenager Casts Light on a Shadowy Game {Ny Times}

2 comments:

C to the D said...

“Do I consider myself a miracle?” asked Levi, who told the students he had played the game three times before his accident. “Yes, I do.”


Amen!

Life in the Northwest said...

Oddly there is also a form of Auto eroticism involving semi strangulation, and victims of the hangman often had erections.

This was illustrated in the opening sequeence of the Sean Connery movie "Rising Sun"

I wonder how much that contributes to "The Game"?