Hanging From Piercings Looks Horrifying, But Body Suspenders Say There’s Much More To It

The art of body suspension isn't something you leap into if you're an amateur, as it's highly strategic, intricate, and potentially dangerous. Before you even think about getting started, you're going to need mountains of research and conference with those who are properly skilled and experienced. This piece does not intend to do that, but rather to explore some of the most interesting facts surrounding this mind-blowing practice.

That said, those who practice body suspension often find themselves inside a very tight-knit subculture filled with people who've found not only a sense of camaraderie in their cohorts but also therapy inside the act itself. After all, there has to be a reason why people like body suspension. It does look rather painful and masochistic from the outside. But is it?

Let's put legs on this list and get down to some facts surrounding this fascinating form of release, from its origins to the different types of body suspension. Maybe you'll find yourself hooked before long.

  • People Who Practice This Ancient Art Refer To It As Euphoric And Stress-Relieving

    People Who Practice This Ancient Art Refer To It As Euphoric And Stress-Relieving
    Photo: MartaFrost / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    Cere Coichetti leads the New York chapter of Rites of Passage, a group that assists with body suspensions all along the East Coast. Although he admits he was scared to put his 300-pound frame on hooks and hang, he figured that if he could do that, he could do anything. Coichetti told  The Atlantic:

    I go in and I'm ready to go through it, and once I got into the air, once they lifted me up, it was the most peaceful, serene, blissful experience I've ever had. And it was kind of like, throughout life, you tend to take on negative energy - by energy I could mean stress - stress from your job, stress from home, if you're married, if you've got kids - just stress. And this was just the ultimate stress release. Everything bad that had built up, it was just resetting it back to zero.

  • The 'Suicide Suspension' Is Among The Most Popular For Beginners

    The suicide suspension is a favorite among many - especially those new to the art. The position is said to allow more freedom of movement in the participant, as the placing of the hooks leaves them upright.

    The suspended is hooked in the upper area of the back with two to four hooks, giving the look of someone who's just hanged him or herself - hence the titular term.

  • Don't Skimp On The Price Of A Good Suspension Team - Unless You Like Communicable Diseases And Unnecessary Pain

    Don't Skimp On The Price Of A Good Suspension Team - Unless You Like Communicable Diseases And Unnecessary Pain
    Photo: tadt3 / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    From shoddy equipment that sits around in a rusty garage to people sticking you with materials that were either improperly cleaned or not cleaned at all, there are a lot of ways amateur suspension sessions can get disease-ridden, fast. You really want the words "experienced," "clean," "professional," "reputable," and "safe," when you're looking for the right team. Suspension tools that are not properly cleaned can lead to tetanus and slew of blood-borne pathogens. A good team will have sterile and clean hooks ready for new clients. 

    A good team will also tug on parts of your skin to see how amenable the area (and you) will be to hooking. A bad team can hook you unevenly, causing terrible imbalance and discomfort - even if it's little more than a few centimeters off from a better-balanced point. Coichetti also says that he has a medical team around him to make sure that if someone has a medical condition that might make suspension a little more complicated, they can modify the process to make it safer.

    If you are experiencing pain as a first time suspendee, the pain is more likened to a pressurized sensation that most newbies haven't experienced before. Keeping a calm head and steady breathing can help any new suspension practitioners keep discomfort at bay.

  • Your Skin Will Tear - But Not To A Gruesome Extent

    It should come as no real surprise that your skin rips a bit when hooks are inserted into it. Fortunately, it is not as bad as one would imagine. It all comes down to a few main things: How much do you weigh? Were your piercings properly placed? What body parts are you hanging by? Were your initial piercings done by an expert?

    If you hang from thicker skin, such as your back, you may have a little tearing. The skin is basically untreated leather, but leather nonetheless. On your back, it's like doubled-up leather, as it's pretty thick compared to other layers of dermis in other places, such as the knees. The skin is really thin on the knees (typically), so if you choose to suspend yourself from there, you're probably going to experience some ripping.

    Ditto anywhere with thin skin, like the neck and backs of hands. Practitioners suggest drinking lots of water to keep your skin elastic and flexible.

  • Once You're Taken Down, Air Must Be Massaged From The Holes In Your Skin

    How in the world does the term "Rice Krispies" come into play with body suspension? Turns out, there's a sound the body makes when air that's found its way into either or both sides of your puncture wounds is purged. That sound? It's a series of tiny ticks mostly associated with the "snap, crackle, and pop" you hear when you pour milk over a bowl of puffed rice.

    The air bubbles can either be massaged out or just allowed to "pop" over the next few days. Unless you're the misophonic sort (meaning you hate bodily sounds, like chewing or the likes), it's something these artists kind of look forward to.

  • Post-Suspension Care Needs To Be Followed Extremely Carefully

    Unless the bandages you've been given are still soaked with a fresh stream of running blood, keep them on overnight. This is going to give the openings in the skin beneath a good shot at healing, so don't rip these bandages off in haste.

    Once you do take them off, you're going to wash those gashes and holes with mild soap, preferably unscented and antiseptic. You then need to pat them dry and assess whether they're still open wounds or if they're closing up naturally. If the former is the case, rebandage them; if the latter is true, just put on some clean clothes and be gentle with your movements.

    Because you're going to have entry and exit wounds, you need to be aware that some blood may congeal in this tunnel. But don't fret. The body will eventually take care of this by flushing it out and resealing the tunnel with proper cells.

    It's incredibly important not to scratch at or tear scabs from your healing wounds. This results in a weakening of the skin, meaning you're more likely to tear once you're ready for your next round of suspension. Additionally, it'll make your scars more prevalent - something you may or may not want.