Magnetic Implants: Can You Gain a Sixth Sense with Body Modifications?

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What are magnetic implants anyways?

Also known as neodymium implants or installs, the original plan for magnetic implants was for the ability to carry around metal objects, but when that didn’t work, the application that came from it was something just as wondrous – some call it superpowers, a sixth sense.

By implanting tiny rare Earth magnets into your fingertip, you can gain the ability to sense electromagnetism in the world around you. How does this work? The magnet vibrates very slightly and stimulates the dense nerves in your fingertip when you encounter things like electric stovetops and live electrical cables. While there may not be anything inherently magical about magnetic implants, it’s difficult to keep your curiosities away from this “bio hack” and its ability to allow you to experience the world in new ways.

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Reasons for Getting Magnetic Implants

  1. IF YOU WANT TO BE AWESOME…You can perform neat tricks like picking up bottle caps and other small metal objects like paper clips, which makes for a great icebreaker if you’re an office worker. You’ll be able to feel security gates that you pass through when you enter and leave retail stores.
  2. IF YOU WORK WITH ELECTRONICS…You’ll be able to feel the live wires versus the dead ones. They can also be used to detect when large electric motors start up or shut down (in the fridge or in streetcars, for example).
  3. IF YOU ARE A BIOHACKER…Biohacking is similar to transhumanism but is more centered around the technology emerging in our world and cyborg aspirations. With these types of implants, you are able to sense large electric fields through their vibrations when your hands/finger gets close to devices that are powered by electricity. You’d also be able to tell whether or not an object is ferrous (contains iron).

How can you have implants of your own?

Well, first you must turn to the expertise of a body artist to do the procedure. Most of the time this will be a professional body piercer with specialization in these types of body mods. According to most experts, it is safest to have a single magnet inserted into the ring finger of your non-dominant hand (seeing as how it’s usually your least used finger). We should also warn you that it would most definitely be painful since the process is essentially a giant syringe injecting the tiny magnet under your skin with no anesthetic.

The magnets used for this are actually quite common – you can buy them on eBay! However, their ability to anchor sub-dermally in your fingertip lies with the type of bio-coating used on the magnet before implantation. Size is also an important factor since larger implants would inhibit proper blood vessel function.

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The point of insertion will look as if it’s a papercut on the edge of your finger and the sensation that is brought upon by the implant does not start right away. After about two weeks (to give your tissue and nerve endings time to adjust) you should have normal operation of the implant and the magnetic field sensitivity some look for with this unique body mod.

Also, interestingly enough, it will take some time for people who get the implant to actually realize the sensation they’re feeling is coming from their implant. Basically they’re having a feeling generated by the implant, but their brain hasn’t quite caught up to figuring out what this new sense means just yet. Best part of all? It’s super easy to take out if you choose to. Just a pinch and a few days healing time and you’ll be back to your plain and boring mortal self.

If you’re really feeling curious about neodymium magnetic implants, we suggest you set aside the time to watch this video all about it.

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What is in store for the future of magnetic implants?

There are even some new technologies in development that are using this body mod to work hand-in-hand (literally) with their designs. Imagine being able to link up your implant to an app in your phone to sense something that would usually be naked to the human eye? The possibilities are endless…

Even more interesting, there could be a medical benefit to magnetic implants. There is a study in the works at the University of British Columbia where researchers have developed a device that works when a magnet is passed over it and is currently being looked into for the possibility of one day being used in administering painkillers and chemotherapy drugs on demand. Who knew magnets could do so much?!

Piercing and Tattoo Trivia – Just for Fun

Piercing and Tattoo Trivia

Since I’ve learned a few interesting facts over the years while talking to others who are pierced, tatted, and modified, I thought it might be fun to see what everybody knows, so here’s some modification trivia!  (Look for answers at the very bottom, but no peaking until you finish!)

Question 1: When did the first piercing parlor in the Us open it’s doors?

Question 2: Which gender is the most pierced?

who is more pierced

Question 3: When was the APP (Association of Professional Piercers) founded?

Question 4: Who is the most pierced person in the world?

who holds the piercing record

Question 5: Who is the most tattooed person in the world?

Question 6: Which Native American tribe was originally named after a type of piercing they wore?

Question 7: What do the Maori tribe of New Zealand refer to their tattoos as?

what do the Maori call tattoos

Question 8: Sailors used to get an image of what tattooed on their foot to prevent drowning?

Okay, now look at the answer key and see how many you got right.  Who did really good!?  Let me know in the comments.

1) 1978, and it was called The Gauntlet, 2) women comprise nearly 3/4 of the pierced population in the US, 3) the APP was officially founded in 1994, 4) Elaine Davidson of the UK is the most pierced person in the world with over 7,000 piercings to date! 5) Australian native Lucky Diamond Rich is the most tattooed person in the world with literally 100 percent of his skin inked (and that includes the eyelids, insides of the ears, and a few other “sensitive” places you might be wondering about) 6) The Nez Perce tribe, so called because of their nose piercings 7) moko, or tā moko 8) sailors would get a chicken, rooster, or other bird tattooed on their foot, because according to superstition, the wings would help keep everything above the foot above the water if they fell overboard

New Piercings for the New Year

getting new mods for 2014“Kiki,” by Tristan Savatier

Now that the holidays are finally coming to a close and life is a little less hectic and demanding, everybody’s minds are probably turning to one thing: the new year.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, going shopping with all those gift cards (score!), and of course what new mods you want this year.

Two new tattoos and some ear piercings are on my list, but for those who aren’t sure exactly what they want, here’s some things I’ve seen recently that are super cool, still pretty rare, and definitely bound to be serious contenders in 2014.  Hope you like them as much as I do!

The Transverse Lobe Piercing

 horizontal ear lobe piercing variations

It’s basically like a horizontal ear lobe piercing; it goes sideways through the lobe.  The really great thing about these is that they can be done even if you already have a regular earlobe piercing, or in some cases, even if you have several.  Stretched lobes can be worked with sometimes too, and there are some who have purposely pierced through well-healed stretch mods to create a really unique look.  Pretty neat, right?

The Lip Surface

 horizontal lip piercings

These are called by a few different names including “lip surface piercing,” and “horizontal lip piercing,” but no matter what you call it they’re fairly new and interesting.  Unlike a traditional surface piercing, they’re usually worn with a small curved barbell, but variations have recently started to emerge.  Whether you have other lip piercings already, or just want something a little different, this type of lip piercing is pretty sweet.

The Rhino

 vertical nose tip piercings

Although they’re not completely new, rhino piercings are definitely still one of the rarest nose piercings.  The nice thing about being around a while though, is that all sorts of styles have started popping up.  There’s even rhinos being done as single point piercings, which is a cuter, more feminine version that looks great on women.

What do you want to get in 2014?  Let me know if you’ve got any cool or really unique ideas!

Branding and Scarification – Modern Body Art

scars as body art

Body modification is a global trend that’s been around since the beginning of time. Some people modify their bodies for religious reasons, and others do it for personal pleasure or purely for aesthetics. When a simple tattoo or piercing won’t satisfy your body mod needs, there are other options.

Branding and scarification are two permanent methods that are on the more extreme side of popular body mod. Just like anything else, beauty is subjective and personal; some people prefer the look and feel of scars to ink or metal. Others turn negative scars, such as those from car accidents or operations, into beautiful body art.

Branding is the burning of the epidermis with a heated piece of metal to leave a design in your skin. With branding the artist has a bit less artistic freedom (this process is used mostly for basic geometric designs). There is also a harsh smell associated with the burning process that is not pleasant for most customers. Strike branding, similar to livestock branding, uses a hot piece of metal. There is also cautery branding with a heated wire tip, laser branding with electrical sparks, and even cold branding with liquid nitrogen.

branding, cautery, and scalpeling methods

Scarification by cutting is more popular in the modern age. (This is not to be confused with self harm.) It has been practiced by many West African tribes to mark milestone stages in both men and women’s lives, such as puberty and marriage. In Ghana they use scarification to treat certain ailments such as stomach pains and the measles. In modern body modification shops, an artist will use a sterilized scalpel to essentially carve a design into your flesh. With this method they’re able to create very intricate scar designs, and the design will eventually heal into a permanent raised scar.

scarification in tribal society

The most common style of scarification is cutting.  For this all the artist needs is a scalpel and sterile blades. They use different sized and angled blades as a traditional artist would use multiple paint brushes for different effects. The initial set up is not too different from a tattoo; skin is prepped and cleaned, then the stencil is applied and approved.  A scalpel is used to outline the design with fine cuts, which feels similar to a tattoo sensation. The outlines are created mainly by cutting at the correct depth and width, which opens up the skin to get the desired result, rather than skin removal. Ink rubbing refers to scarification where tattoo ink is rubbed into the wound, and packing is a process where clay or ash is packed into the wound to create more bold, raised scars.

western style scar mods

There are some extra warnings involved with the scarification process, because it’s the only body modification that relies completely on your body’s reaction and healing. Infection control and proper aftercare methods must be practiced very closely, due to the open wound. It’s impossible to tell how each person’s scar will look once it’s healed.  Some scars will indent, some will raise, some will be very pink or red, some will be purple, and some will even be white or more subtle than originally hoped. The uncertainty and extra pain will cause some prospective scarification candidates to opt for a more controlled tattoo.

Get Your Freak On – Cool and Freaky Halloween Worthy Modifications

Halloween worthy modifications

Halloween is the one time of the year when we all have the freedom to reach out of our normal comfort zone and take on a new persona. Halloween is about challenging your deepest darkest fears and waving your freak flag proudly. For some people, Halloween is everyday.

There are many who take body modification to extreme levels. This is more than just a gimmick to induce shock value; body modification is a commitment and a way of life. Here are some awesome examples of out-there body mods that can’t be recreated with a simple Halloween costume.

Tongue Splitting Also called tongue bifurcation, it’s a body modification method where the tongue is cut or burned from its tip up towards the base with a scalpel, fishing line, cauterizing gun, or surgical laser. The forked tongue is reminiscent of a snakes tongue and can also be associated with evil.

tongue splitting

Supersized Stretched Ear Lobes Stretching of the earlobes is a traditional tribal practice that is now a global fashion statement. Once the elastic limit of the skin has been reached it will not shrink back down. While there are countless people with size 2 gauge or 00 gauge, there are some who take this trend to the next level by stretching their lobes to much bigger than 2 or even 3 inches in some cases. It’s not just traditional “freaks” stretching their earlobes anymore either; it isn’t uncommon for the girl next door to be flaunting her huge stretched lobes. The stretching process takes a lot time and dedication and is not to be taken lightly.

large stretch mods

Subdermal Implants Subdermal implants are like 3D art that’s surgically embedded under the skin. The body heals over the object and creates a dramatic raised design. Horn implants are some of the most intense, transforming the modified person into something completely extraordinary. Often people who go to such great lengths to alter their physical appearance will do this in conjunction with other modifications to receive the desired effect and dramatically change their look.

subdermal 3D body art

Some people are world famous for their beautiful full body displays of piercings and tattoos. They completely transform themselves into otherworldly beings, with full art and modifications. Other forms of extreme body mod include scarification, branding, ear pointing, neck stretching, corsetry, and plastic surgery. With body modification, the possibilities are endless, so why not get your freak on!

You Can Pierce That?! – The New Frontier of Modification

Eyelid

Yes, as strange (and dangerous) as it sounds, you can actually get your eyelid pierced.  Because the piercing itself is so impractical, most people who get one only keep it for a short time, and discomfort to the eye just comes with the territory, but you have to admit, it looks pretty neat.  Most eyelid piercings are either done near the outside corner and worn with a circular, or pierced horizontally through the lid and worn with a small gently curved barbell.

 regular and horizontal piercings of the eyelid

Uvula

This is something that many of us thought of before it actually became a reality, but it’s now a fact: you can pierce the human uvula.  Some have even braved piercing it twice!  The thing is, the natural gag reflex doesn’t actually kick in when you touch the uvula; it’s the tonsils and other tissue around it that make you gag.  So, the piercer and client usually practice without a needle first to be sure that both can successfully avoid tripping the reflex, and then, needle goes through and voila.

  multiple piercings of the human uvula

Gums

Smiley, frowny, vampire, and tongue web piercings probably still seem a little strange to a lot of people, but in true gen next fashion, we’ve already moved on to something even more awe inspiring: gum piercings.  Instead of going through the soft tissue of any of the upper or lower lip frenulums, this is a piercing of the actual gums themselves.  It’s a little bit tricky, and pretty much everyone bleeds, but once it’s done the look is actually pretty cool.  Like all oral piercings though, you’ve really got to watch the health of the gums and teeth with this one.

 styles of gum tissue piercings

Hand

First it was the finger dermal, then the finger and thumb webs, and now, directly through the palm.  This one is super new and it’s usually called a “crucifixion” piercing, for obvious reasons.  The potential for nerve damage is definitely real, but there’s no denying how awesome it is to know that you can safely and successfully pierce clean through your hand.  This definitely falls under the “don’t try this at home” category.

crucifixion piercings through the hand

Extreme Modification – the Sub-clavicle Piercing

piercings that run underneath the clavicle

So, a lot of us have heard of a clavicle piercing, that cute little surface piercing right near clavicle, but have you ever heard of a sub-clavicle piercing?  Yep.  It totally exists, seriously.  This piercing is the only of its kind, and it actually goes underneath the clavicle bone and penetrates the body cavity.

Some people wear it with extra large, custom curved barbells or surface bars, but after testing the waters, most piercers who will do it have found that movable bioplast or PTFE shafts work better.  Consequentially, if you ever see this extremely rare piercing up close, that’s the type of jewelry you’re most likely to find.  I say “piercers who will do it,” because the vast majority of professionals refuse to even attempt this piercing based on the dangers involved.  A major artery, multiple important nerves, and the apex of the lung all run underneath the clavicle, and nicking any of them would be a very grave mistake indeed, and could result in permanent damage.

That being said, a growing number of well-trained, well-practice professional modification artist are completing this piercing with moderate success.  Here’s some excellent footage of the piercing being performed properly, with surgical equipment:

sub-clavicle piercing being performedsub-clavicle piercing by ChristOff

Based on anatomical references, the extensive drawing here ensures that the needle will enter, run, and exit in the correct places, avoiding all of the sensitive anatomy I just mentioned.  The piece of medical equipment used here is called an indwelling cannula.  After the hollow needle has run its course and successfully exited the body cavity above the clavicle, the outer portion of the cannula is stripped away, leaving only the PTFE barbell, which is ready to have its long ends capped.

Extreme piercings like the sub-clavicle are slowly beginning to grow in popularity amongst modification enthusiasts, spawning a whole new genre.  Some of the other amazing deep tissue piercings gaining momentum include the Achilles piercing (through the ankle, just above the heel), the crucifixion piercing (all the way through the hand from the palm and out the back), and the mandible piercing (beginning underneath the chin and emerging inside the mouth, under the tongue).

crucifixion, achilles, and mandible piercings

A Bit of a Stretch – Stretching Cartilage Piercings

precautions when stretching difficult cartilage

If you have cartilage piercings that you’re dreaming about making bigger, this one is for you. Large and small stretched nostrils, conch, tragus, and other cartilage piercings are easy to find with a quick google image search, but how did they get there? Is it possible to achieve those results with my own piercings? Extreme stretched cartilage piercings are all over the internet but may not be feasible for some or will take a lot of dedication and time to achieve on your own body.

healthy stretched cartilage piercings

Cartilage piercings are not ideal to stretch, but it is totally possible. Cartilage is a fiber frame under the skin that lacks a blood supply of its own, therefore making it more difficult to heal and stretch than normal soft tissue. When stretched, soft flesh has somewhere to go and cartilage does not. There is a greater chance of tearing and ripping while stretching cartilage piercings. Moderate to extreme discomfort is possible, but you should never be in misery from stretching safely. Stretching of a healthy, healed piercing should only feel like a slight warmth and pressure, and it shouldn’t bleed.

After stretching you need to allow time for recuperation; with cartilage piercings this can be as long as 1 year between size-ups. Never stretch unhealed, inflamed, or infected piercings. It is also extra important not to skip sizes. It seems like a good time saving idea, but it will only deter you from your final goal and may even make it impossible to stretch further.  This is your body; love and respect it.  No taking shortcuts. Stretching of the cartilage especially is normally done in very small increments to minimize the potential for creating scar tissue or damaging the healed fistula (actual piercing hole).  It’s very easy for a cartilage piercing to get angry during stretching, so just be patient and persistent.

stretched nose piercings

Some people have gone the route of getting pierced with a larger needle or the dermal punch method to create the stretched cartilage piercing. Depending on how big you go, this hole can immediately accommodate the desired larger jewelry. In this instance dermal punches can save time and aggravation. Things could get bloody, but after the initial shock it will heal just like any other piercing. Dermal punching physically removes the tissue, unlike stretching, and creates a hole without putting too much stress on the skin. Once jewelry is removed, the piercing will never shrink back to the original size.  However, dermal punches are medical devices and in certain states it is illegal for a piercer to use them. Make sure you research the laws in your state before getting your heart set on this method.

Dermal punching or having a piercer help you stretch a cartilage piercing can be painful if done incorrectly. You need to find the professional piercer that is experienced and right for the job. Do your research and search out qualified people. Make sure to check the artist’s portfolio and look at the healed versions of your desired procedure. Also remember that aftercare is of the utmost importance, and everyone’s body takes to piercing differently.

nose and lobe piercing stretch mods

A Piercing Gaze – I Only Have Eyes for You

eye fashion

Eyes are the most engaging part of the human body, the window to the soul, the things that twinkle when you are sad or in deep and passionate love.  It makes sense that the eye is currently being used and modified all over the place in the fashion and art world.

The depiction of the human eye in jewelry is a huge craze. Jewelry that engages and makes eye contact can be both startling and beautiful. Human, animal, or mystical eye representations are on all sorts of jewelry. I’ve even seen jewelry that features googly eyes or doll eyes.  I really enjoy bright colored eyes or eyes with things in them, especially on plugs or belly rings. A rotting eye or detached eye can also signify zombies or decay, which is all very trendy right now. The Evil Eye has the power of inflicting harm, suffering, or bad luck to those it is cast upon. The Hamsa is an amulet shaped like a hand with an eye in it, which is used to protect against the Evil Eye.

the hamsa and the evil eye

Besides the depiction of eyes in jewelry there are also actual types of eyeball jewelry and eye modification techniques.

Dangle eye jewelry– This jewelry is worn like contact lenses. There is a contact lens with a piece of thin wire attached to it that dangles down your face holding beads or gems. In the sun it looks like sparkly tears.  Apparently you can’t feel the hanging fishing line and it doesn’t effect your sight or ability to blink properly. If it is tugged the contact will simply pop out and not harm your actual eyeball.

dangle contact jewelry for the eyes

Eye Tattoos– It’s actually possible to get tattoos on your eyes; some have tattooed the entire whites of their eye. Pauly Unstoppable was the first person documented to have an eyeball tattoo with a real tattoo gun, in his case the ink did not stay. There are cases in prisons of the prisoners tattooing the whites of their eyes for gang related reasons. In many cases it is just an ink injection into the cornea. Eye tattooing was first practiced in the first century AD. In an attempt to improve the appearance of patient’s eyes metal rods were used to cauterize the eye’s surface and natural color was added after the fact. Cosmetic eye tattooing can be very dangerous and possibly cause blindness.

eye tattooing

Eye Implants– If you want something more substantial you can also get platinum implants (normally a heart or half moon) implanted beneath the skin. Many ophthalmologists have spoken out about the heath risks involved with this process.

Bedazzling Your Body – the Art of Dermal Piercings

dermal anchors

They can be called single point piercings, surface anchors, dermal anchors, or microdermals. Whatever you decide to call them, dermal piercings are the biggest growing craze in current body modification.  I think it’s because the possibilities are almost endless. These small surface piercings are done on flat areas of the skin with a single decoration per perforation. Popular areas to get dermals are the face, chest, ears, hands, hips, back, and stomach (but there is no limit). Multiple dermal anchors can be arranged in patterns or designs to create piercing projects and patterns. Dermals can also be a great accent when incorporated into a tattoo. The base of the mini jewelry has a flat plate with holes drilled in it (about ¼ inch long). The holes in the jewelry are there so that it can heal into the tissue.

tattoo art accented by microdermals

You must find a professional piercer with experience in dermal piercings because this process takes a lot of precision and care. It is a permanent procedure executed with a sterilized piercing needle or in some cases a small dermal (biopsy) punch. The piercer will massage the area to separate the epidermis from the dermis and the subcutaneous tissues/muscle. After that the area is cleaned/shaved and the entry and exit points of the needle are marked on the flesh with a surgical marker. Once the placement is approved the real fun begins. The L shaped opening is made in the flesh and then the jewelry is placed in the small pocket that’s been formed by the needle. The longer part is inserted under the skin first followed by the heel that holds the new piercing into the flesh.

The embedded jewelry remains under the skin for the life of the piercing. A short threaded post protrudes from the area that was pierced so you are able to change the decorative jewelry (known as a dermal top). When inserted correctly, it looks like the dermal top is glued onto the skin and will sit flush. Dermal tops have many different looks: gems, flat discs, dangling jewels, flat pieces shaped like cupcakes, stars, flowers, and more. It makes sense to me to think of the dermal implant as being very similar to a bedazzler project, but we’re putting studs and rhinestones on our flesh instead of our jean jackets.

the versatility of dermal piercings

Healing time is usually around 1-3 months; surface anchors heal fairly quickly and don’t really have a high instance of serious complications. Migration, rejection, scars, and traumatic snagging accidents are all risks though. Dermals are more in danger of being ripped out than surface bars but have less of a chance of growing out, and they’re much less invasive than surface bars.

If for some reason you decide to get your dermal removed, (possibly a new job that requires it, or even just that you’re “over it”) you can with the aid of a medical professional or your piercer. To remove a dermal implant, the jewelry is firmly grasped and the tissue kept steady and the jewelry is forcibly pulled out of the flesh pocket.  If tissue has grown to be connected to the plate a piercing needle or other medical tool may be used to get the piece of jewelry free.

removing hip dermals

Due to the fact that microdermals are a rather new and innovative style of piercing this procedure and the jewelry types used are always being investigated by the professional piercing community. In some states it is illegal to give or receive dermals, especially with the dermal punch method, because it is considered a surgical procedure. Piercers and those being pierced have to be very careful to stay up on their state’s current laws regarding body modification.