Body suspension

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Body suspension refers to a form of body art, or body modification , in which a person is suspended from temporary piercings , usually in the form of hooks.

The procedure can be traced back historically to the ancient Indian ritual of the sun dance.


Depending on the part of the body to which the hooks are attached, a distinction is made between different forms of suspension. Basically, a distinction is made between horizontal and vertical suspensions:

Vertical suspensions

Suicide suspension

Suicide suspension

If the hooks are stuck in the upper part of the back near the shoulder blades, it is called a suicide suspension. Usually four to six hooks are used. This form of suspension is the most commonly practiced and is mainly chosen by beginners, since relatively few hooks are sufficient and the body retains a relatively large amount of freedom of movement.
If the arms are held up with hooks in the position of a crucifixion, one speaks of a crucifix suspension. The burden of the hanging person still rests on the hook in the back, the suicide suspension.

Chest suspension

With the Chest Suspension, the hooks are placed in the upper chest area. Since the skin is relatively thin at this point, this variation is a more stressful suspension. The more difficult lifting and lowering of the chest can lead to slight breathing problems, especially after a long period of hanging.
The designation of this suspension as O-Kee-Pa is misleading because the O-Kee-Pa describes a ritual of the Mandan Indians that lasts several days , so much more than “just” a chest suspension.

Knee suspension

Introduction of the hook for a knee suspension

With the knee suspension, the hooks are on the side of the knees. The knees are up. Feet and head droop. Long hanging times are difficult due to the hanging of the head.

Lotus suspension

The lotus suspension is modeled on the lotus seat. The hooks are placed on the back and on the legs.

Horizontal suspensions

Coma suspension

Coma suspension

The hooks are pierced from the upper body to the shins through the skin on the front of the body. The person hangs horizontally with the face up. The name of the suspension comes from a corresponding scene in the film Coma .

Superman suspension

Superman suspension

In the case of the Superman suspension, the hooks are attached to the back of the body, analogous to the Coma suspension, so that the person hangs horizontally with the face down.

Resurrection suspension

The hooks are placed on the front upper body, i.e. the stomach and chest. The person hangs crooked, legs and head point downwards.


The hooks are usually inserted with lubricant , which makes the process easier and less painful. After they have been pierced through the skin, they are attached to ropes and these in turn are knotted with a so-called suspension bar to compensate for the tensile force of the various hooks. A pulley block is used to put some tension on the ropes and then slowly pull the person up. The transition between standing firmly and hanging freely is considered the most uncomfortable time. How long the hanging person can be attached to the ropes in a free-floating manner varies greatly according to personal resilience and motivation and depends on the parts of the body to which the hooks were attached. After the suspension, blood clots are removed from the wounds before the hooks are removed and, before the wound is treated, they are massaged extensively in order to remove air that has accumulated under the skin and to loosen the muscles.


The hooks used are either custom-made, which are often also equipped with a safety device that prevents the hook from slipping out of the skin, or modified and barbed hooks from deep sea fishing. The latter are usually characterized by better stability and a lower price. Those with an average material thickness of four to five millimeters are used. There are different opinions about the optimal number of hooks used. A larger number can lead to increased blood loss and a greater risk of infection in addition to the additional pain when stabbing. On the other hand, the weight is better distributed as a result, which makes the suspension much more comfortable and reduces the risk of the connective tissue tearing out.


Inadequate hygiene measures can quickly lead to infections and the transmission of diseases with the piercings. While the person is hanging, circulatory problems and even unconsciousness can occur. Although the fabric is very resilient, it can still tear out due to incorrect placement of the hooks, insufficient wire strength or weak connective tissue. A suspension puts a lot of stress on the body. Back pain often occurs afterwards. Long-term damage cannot be ruled out for people with back problems.


Inserted hooks

The procedure is associated with different types of pain. However, through mental preparation, relaxation and a trance-like state, the pain can be consciously controlled and minimized. The sensation when piercing the skin is similar to that of a normal piercing, but with a lot more pressure being exerted. A burning sensation arises due to the tension generated when pulling it up. While hanging, the pain is described as relatively constant and far more bearable than assumed. However, the leakage of the accumulated air from the branch duct during the subsequent massage can be perceived as particularly unpleasant. Often, especially after a suicide suspension, there is also severe muscle soreness.


Body suspensions were mainly adapted from the modern primitive movement based on the Indian sun dance ritual. The implementation of a suspension can be based on a wide variety of reasons. It can be a challenge as well as being motivated by the thrill and increased adrenaline release, which is also given in extreme sports. Most of the time, however, the motivation lies in the associated body experience , based on resilience testing and awareness-raising . People often go into a meditative state. The feeling of floating freely may also be a motivation for some.


Indian associations reject the appropriation of traditional rituals by Western subcultures and distance themselves from suspensions that - contrary to their original religious meaning - serve entertainment or personal experiences.

Suspension bondage

In suspension bondage (also known as suspension bondage ) piercing with hooks or the like is dispensed with. Instead, the body is handcuffed and hung from the handcuff. Typical risks of the body suspension, such as the risk of infection, possible tearing of hooks or dangerous injuries due to incorrectly placed hooks, are eliminated.

However, hanging bondage is not necessarily free of risk and pain. If the restraint is too tight, parts of the body can be pinched off, which can be reinforced by the pull when hanging. Damage can occur as a result of insufficient blood supply, nerve, muscle or skin bruises or internal organs. Overstretching of tendons and ligaments can also occur. If the load is incorrect, joints can become dislocated. Hanging by the neck is particularly risky, as there is a risk of suffocation and a broken neck. If the bondage is not tear-resistant enough, it can also lead to falls. Particularly complex or too tight restraints can mean that the restraint cannot be released quickly enough in an emergency.

In contrast to normal bondage, the loads that arise from hanging must therefore always be taken into account. The restraints should be stable and not contract under stress. Shackled people should never be left alone if they cannot free themselves. Emergency tools should be ready.


  • Matthias TJ Grimme: The bondage manual. 7., completely revised. and updates Output. Charon Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-931406-71-4 .

Web links

Commons : Body-Suspension  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. wildcat abc: suspension ( Memento of the original from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ( Memento from April 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  3. wildcat piercing abc ( Memento from December 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Suspensions and Firewalking ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF)
  5. ^ Anne Schinke: Piercing in Germany. A historical-analytical view. Grin, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-638-69180-2 .

Web link: