Your piercer will clean and disinfect the area pierced and use sterile needles and sterile hooks. They will first clean the piercing area of any blood or debris, remove all hooks, sutures, and/or needles, stop any bleeding, and then apply an appropriate bandage. After leaving the event space, it is up to you to take care of your “battle wounds”, as well as your mental wellbeing.
We’ve done all we can to send you away with clean and bandaged skin. Please do your best to keep it this way. Always wash your hands before touching the area around your pierced skin for any reason.
For the first 24 hours:
If your piercing holes begin to bleed and you notice your bandages becoming soaked, remove them, apply direct pressure with a paper towel or gauze, and once the bleeding has stopped apply a new adhesive bandage.
This is especially important for suspension wounds. Your hook holes were “burped” to remove air pockets and help the flesh reattach to itself. If you notice swelling happening within the initial 24 hours following your suspension, have a friend check to burp those holes with lots of pressure (and paper towels or gauze for escaping fluid) before rebandaging.
Do not submerge your wounds in any water (including bath tubs, hot tubs, pools, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc) until they have completely healed. All of these places are breeding grounds for microorganisms that can cause infection. This can take up to a few weeks.
Beyond 24 hours:
Remove bandages, shower as normal, and clean the area around the pierced skin gently so as not to remove the developing scabs. You may continue to use bandages if you feel they are necessary, but exposure to air will aid the healing process. Overall, simply keep your skin clean and dry, keep yourself hydrated and nourished, and your body will do the work.
As with any small cut or puncture wound, the healing process will take a week or three. You can expect:
– Slight Discharge
If these symptoms worsen, if the redness spreads more than 1/4” or so from the wound, if the area becomes hot, or if excessive swelling and pus discharge are present, consult a medical professional as an infection may be present.
Pulls and suspensions are intense physical and mental activities that can cause an altered headspace that not only affects the experience itself, but your entire life beyond the day of Ritual.
– Use the next 24-48 hours for radical self care. Have a comforting meal, watch a movie, nap, go for a hike, meditate…. Whatever activities are calming to YOU are appropriate.
– As with the physical aftercare, staying hydrated and nourished is crucial to your well being.
– Plan a dinner or other social time with some of the participants. The best time for this is about a week after Ritual. Your memories of the event may seem fluid and ever growing over the next few days. Discussion of the experience with others who were there can help you give the feelings and memories more permanence, as well as “witness” perspectives of some of your intense personal moments.
– If your feelings become too intense to manage, please reach out to your support network or a behavioral health professional for assistance.