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The Body Piercing Phenomenon

May 15, 2008
Body piercing has been a fast-growing phenomenon in Western, developed nations since the early 90's. Interestingly enough, this form of "neo-art" has its roots in the ancient traditions of many tribal cultures.

Body piercing has been aggressively marketed as a connection to non-western spiritual and cultural practices, though such a link does not seem to actually exist. Nonetheless, modern primitivism claims that current piercing practices correspond to ancient "rite of passage" ceremonies.

Once thought to be an extreme trend, body piercing has enjoyed massive growth in the past decade. For instance, just about any town in the U.S. with a population of over 20,000 is likely to have one or more piercing studios.

The market for piercing has become competitive and virtually flooded with new service providers. Unfortunately many vendors have not undergone any significant training before opening shop.

In addition to various infections, hepatitis C can result from improper piercing procedure, poor care of pierced area, or the use of non-sterile piercing tools. More than just a "cool new look" any non-traditional piercing of the body should be viewed as an important decision and a major responsibility.

If you are considering your first body piercing, or if you are the parent of a teen who is begging for permission to get a bellybutton ring, you need to be aware of certain serious risks that are involved. Recent medical journals have chronicled literally hundreds of cases where people have been injured, become ill, and even died due to errors and complications with body piercing procedures!

Perhaps a foremost concern is the great responsibility of ongoing care. Unlike the earlobes, which lend themselves to a near painless piercing, resistance to easy infection, and great simplicity in care and cleaning after a procedure, many other areas of the body are less than ideal for housing foreign metal objects.

For instance, the nose, bellybutton, and nipples are particularly sensitive to penetration. Severe swelling is common, and infection will set in quickly if proper cleaning is not performed on a tight schedule.

While body piercing has become immensely popular in the U.S., especially in larger urban areas, the phenomenon has been called "relatively new" in Canada. The Canadian piercing market did not see a major surge until the turn of the century, with estimated retail activity significantly lower than U.S. numbers as late as 2007.

Many enthusiasts claim piercing rose to great popularity in Europe many years prior to the North American mainstream acceptance. However, media interest in the practice and global mass-market appeal were not evident until late in the last century when the piercing craze officially hit the states.

To date, there has been no clear timeline showing when and how this aggressive form of body art made the leap from obscure tribal cultures to the youth of the developed world. But one thing is certain: body piercing is likely to continue the current rise in acceptance and popularity for at least another decade, and could even lead to new developments in off-center fashion and neo-tribal culture.
About the Author
Body piercing can be a really cool statement but there are risks. Knowledge is power. Discover the secrets to safe, clean body piercings at Body Piercing Risks .
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