Citation: Bdoc. "Ranked +3 on the Shulgin Scale: An Experience with Hyperventilating Oxygen (exp60913)". Erowid.org. Oct 23, 2017. erowid.org/exp/60913
Discovery of Oxygen as Entheogen During Physiology class
This contains the subjective report of my experience, which I did not include in my official laboratory report of this required experiment.
Human Physiology II Laboratory, major university
Purpose of Experiment: to explore whether it is Oxygen or Carbon Dioxide that is responsible for kindling the respiratory drive
Method: direct experience or observation of healthy volunteer subject's response to washing out PCO2 by hyperventilating on O2 for two minutes, and timing how long it takes for the subject to spontaneously commence breathing.
Subject (me) was a healthy 24 year old pre-medical student, without history of cardiorespiratory problems or seizures, and with good lung capacity due to vigorous aerobic conditioning, abstinent for 4 years from the 3 years regular use of psychoactive substances (LSD and marijuana - his affinity for the latter explaining why the subject had to delay his graduation from college for four years)
Oxygen tank, 100% medical grade Oxygen
Chair with back support
Subject sits in chair, then is given a breathing apparatus. He is instructed to inhale only from the Oxygen line and exhale through his nose, as fast as he can, for a period of two minutes, at the end of which one reasonably assumes that the lungs have been washed out of most of their CO2 content. At the end of two minutes of hyperventilation with Oxygen, the subject holds his breath for as long as he can. His lab partner keeps time with the stopwatch and monitors the subject to assure safety.
I closed my eyes to remove external distractions and relaxed as much as possible to slow my heart rate and Oxygen consumption. I was really curious about how long I could hold my breath.
After four minutes went by, I was still extremely comfortable and could easily signal to my Lab partner I was OK. At six minutes, I noticed that I was flooded by a very comfortable sensation, and felt myself in a tunnel with revolving walls that were filled by LIVING religious symbols, gods, goddesses, of religions known and not known to me. I also felt the same universal note I had felt in so many of my LSD sessions. I felt myself invited to fuse with this marvelous vision, and would have willingly given myself entirely to it....
Only to hear my name called repeatedly by my lab partner, who, together with the professor and other students, expressed anxious tones of voice. Still glowing from a state of ecstasy, and surprisingly fully oriented and alert, I smilingly reassured everyone that not only was I ok, I felt great! My partner informed me that after the six minute mark I had suddenly turned completely pale, and lost all my muscle tone (in other words, I fainted, and my respiratory centers assumed responsibility for my breathing when 'I' couldn't care less about it).
True to the goal of the assignment, I strongly agreed that Carbon Dioxide was definitively the driving force behind the respiratory drive, as even after six minutes I felt no need to breathe. I also described fainting as a protective mechanism, thereby reassuring all mothers that their kids would not turn blue in the face when holding their breath. I concluded that my experience was relevant to divers, as my experience would have been fatal had I been underwater.
As an aside, the person who held their breath closest to my time held it for 3 minutes, and did not have unusual experiences.
This experience ranked +3 on the Shulgin Scale. It was not a new experience for me. I had experienced it years before, spontaneously, during an LSD session, when I found myself using my breath in this manner to intensify and direct the pulsations surging through my body. I also experienced it once during a moment of total surrender to my partner during my most intense/passionate lovemaking experience ever. Later I discovered that this type of hyperventilation/breath-holding had a name - breath of fire -in Kundalini yoga, was practiced by some adherents of tantric practices. It is also taught as 'shamanic breathing' in a number of seminars, and by some people trained under Stanislav Grof. Watch out for anyone who claims to have invented this method.
Although at the time I would have considered myself 'experienced' with the use of psychoactive substances as sacraments, as well as with non-drug related altered states of consciousness, my later readings, conversations with scuba divers, and other life experiences lead me to conclude that my experience was one of a range of experiences which are part of ordinary states of consciousness in human beings. Perhaps the reason I went into the tunnel had to do with my familiarity with altered states, or perhaps I did a better job of washing out CO2 than my peers.
I would not recommend this method to anyone with heart, lung, seizure disorders, hypertension, syncope, or a history of strokes. Not to be done whilst driving.
Remember Einstein's belief that human stupidity can be as infinite as the universe, and respect your body and anything you put into it.
Dad speech over.
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