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The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing Paperback – March 3, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crossing Press; First Edition edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580911935
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580911931
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ELAYNE ANGEL has been a professional piercer for more than 20 years and has performed over 40,000 piercings. She was awarded the President's Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Professional Piercers in 2006 and is a contributing writer for PAIN Magazine. She lives in Merida, Mexico.

THE AUTHOR SCOOP

Have you ever met a famous person?
I was acquainted with a piercing customer from the Gauntlet in West Hollywood, and later we became fast friends. One day he asked me if I'd go "on tour" with him to be his "tour piercer." Not knowing precisely what I was getting into, I agreed; it sounded like fun. I arrived just in time to watch him at work. From my vantage point on the side of a gigantic stage, I saw a stadium full of 50,000 screaming fans. That was the moment I realized that my friend Lenny (Kravitz) was a famous rock star! During my two-week journey with them, everyone got a piercing at his urging: all the members of his band, his bus driver, sound engineer, motorcycle mechanic, and others in his entourage. He is a huge fan and I have performed many piercings on him. After I pierced his nipples, which he clearly enjoyed, Lenny Kravitz announced, "I wish I had ten nipples so I could have you pierce all of them."

What's the history of your last name?
Because of the large angel wings I have tattooed on my back, many people had taken to calling me "Angel." Eventually I started to use the name myself because it was easy for people to remember after they saw my tattoo.

Do you have any unusual or special family traditions?
My mom loves to give multiple birthday cards. This year she gave me one that made me laugh so hard it almost brought tears to my eyes.
Cover image: a punk-rocker gal with tattoos, piercings, and a spiked Mohawk.
Her dialogue bubble: "Know how to tell you're getting older?"
Inside: "Your nipple rings clang against your belt buckle. Happy Birthday."

Any unusual hobbies?
In my first career, I was as a sign language interpreter at a university. It always surprises deaf people when they find I can communicate with them so well–particularly when they remark on my appearance before becoming aware that I can understand what they're signing.

What do you like to make by hand?
I love to crochet–especially in public. It utterly confuses people to see a heavily tattooed and pierced woman engaged in such a grandma-type craft. I once crocheted a round queen-size bedspread that was a stunning replica of a large pizza.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction: Piercing 101

Whether it fascinates or repels, there is something captivating about hard metal worn through tender flesh. Piercing is thrilling. Literally. The word thrill originates from the Middle English word thrillen, "To perforate by a pointed instrument. Hence, to cause a shivering, throbbing, tingling, or exquisite sensation; to pierce; to penetrate."1 By that account, piercing sounds quite exciting. And so it is! Body piercing is among the most ancient and the most contemporary of practices for ornamenting and customizing the human form.

The Art of Modern Body Piercing

In recent times, body piercing has exploded as a form of personal expression nearly anyone may use to enhance their appearance, self-image, and quality of life. The phenomenon is so pervasive that housewives, police officers, and schoolteachers wear tongue, navel, nipple, and other piercings (although you might never know if they don't tell you). Millions of people are already pierced, and countless more are considering body piercings or have pierced family members, students, or patients. Nowadays, piercing involves much more than a ring through an earlobe. Wherever there is a natural fold or flap of skin, there is a piercing waiting to happen. Multiple piercings all over the body are pervasive, and people are taking the art to an extreme never seen before.

The practice of body piercing is part of a group of activities that include tattooing, scarification, branding, and other body art. These practices are often grouped under the term body modification. The number of possible placements on the body; the array of jewelry styles, sizes, and materials; and the necessary aftercare all distinguish piercing from other types of body modification. Piercing breaks the protective barrier of the skin and leaves a foreign object in the body, so there are risks of infection and other potential dangers. If every aspect is not handled appropriately, complications are more likely.

The rise in the popularity of body piercing has resulted in a proliferation of piercers and jewelry. Some of the products and services are good, but unfortunately many are of very poor quality. Piercing establishments range from inexpensive jewelry kiosks at shopping malls to high-end specialty studios staffed with professional piercers, the latest equipment, and top-quality jewelry. There is a big difference between them! Choosing the right piercer and jewelry dramatically increases your chances for uneventful healing. The relative newness of professional body piercing--it has been widely practiced only since the 1990s--has many ramifications for consumers. There are still no standardized regulations, piercer training, or competency requirements in the United States. At most, local laws mandate hygiene requirements or restrict the piercing of minors. In many cities, however, even these simple regulations do not exist; in others, local laws are not enforced.

The art of body piercing is still evolving, and its practitioners continue to experiment with its limits and possibilities. Debates persist among professional piercers themselves about basic aspects of the craft, such as the use of tools and regimens for aftercare. The information in this book is intended to distill the most sensible piercing advice available. By educating yourself, you can get a great first--or twentieth--piercing or find the information you need to deal with a bungled job.

How to Use This Book

The Piercing Bible
is primarily directed toward piercees, but it also contains a wealth of information for the parents of children who want to get pierced or are already pierced, teachers who work with pierced students, health-care professionals who deal with pierced patients (whether treating problem piercings or performing unrelated medical procedures), and piercers who want an authoritative reference work or an educational tool for clients.

Part 1 touches on the ancient and modern history of this art form and contains general information about who is getting pierced and what commonly motivates them. The novice piercee should carefully read parts 2 and 3, which provide a rundown on everything that should be taken into consideration when making a decision to get pierced. Part 4 describes each of the most common piercings in detail. Piercees can use it as a reference, and piercers will also find pointers here. This part includes information about jewelry sizes, styles, and piercing placements as well as the techniques I normally use to perform each piercing. Next, part 5 describes basic and alternative aftercare and provides information on troubleshooting healing complications. Part 6 explains the maintenance of healed piercings, describes special situations encountered when living with piercings, and explores advanced practices for healed piercings, including stretching. Finally, part 7 takes a look at the future of body piercing and includes a section on becoming a piercer.

The appendices include "A Piercee's Bill of Rights," a chart of minimum healing times for popular piercings, and a chart for jewelry size conversions (gauge and millimeter). There's also a handy fill-in chart to help you to keep track of your own piercings and jewelry, and a glossary of piercing-related terms.

Why This Book?

Piercing can be dangerous, and it is far more complicated than most people realize. The hazards range from tearing, scarring, migration, and rejection to localized bacterial infections and, though rare, serious infections. Consumers need facts about the risks, choices, and best practices involved. People who interact with piercees also need to be informed about various aspects of piercing. Many myths have persisted, even in academic and medical literature; they are finally dispelled here, too.

Body piercings are often associated with tattoos, and they are frequently performed in the same establishments. However, tattoos are comparatively straightforward; healing is rapid, and there are seldom complications. The same is not true of body piercings. Piercings require special attention during a prolonged period of healing plus regular maintenance once they are healed. There is a baffling array of options for where to pierce, what jewelry to put in the perforation, and how to care for the wound. Many people get the bulk of their "facts" about piercing from the Internet; unfortunately, the Web can be unreliable, offering contradictory information from questionable sources. Countless piercees have experienced needless pain, healing problems, and undesirable outcomes from a lack of sound information.

Will your pierced body part turn green and fall off if you don't follow every rule and guideline in the book? Probably not, but by educating yourself and being conscientious, you will have a much greater chance of having a healthy piercing that heals well, gives you a minimum of trouble, and provides the greatest enjoyment. Admittedly, not every piercee who fails to adhere to sound practices has a terrible catastrophe--but some of them do. This book takes a cautionary tone because the risks are real.

Disclaimers and Sound Advice

The Piercing Bible is deliberately limited in scope to provide detailed, useful information about the most common body piercings. Related subjects such as "play" (temporary) piercings, implants, and suspensions, which are all part of the broader piercing scene, will be touched on only in passing. Tattoos and more extreme forms of body modification, such as scarification, branding, tongue splitting, and so on, will not be addressed.

This book is not an instructional manual on how to perform body piercings on yourself or others. Visit a competent professional piercer for all permanent piercings. If you are interested in becoming a piercer, I urge you to seek out appropriate training under the guidance of an experienced mentor before attempting to do any piercings.

Some piercers exercise poor judgment and lack ethics, so you must maintain your own: never request that a piercing be performed on an animal, anyone who is intoxicated, or any other unsuitable candidate. Read more about the ethics of piercing in "Infant and Child Ear Piercing," page 251.

The Piercing Bible does not cover every possible situation, but it deals with all the areas I'm most frequently asked about. Popular terminology and names for piercings vary by region and change over time. The modern piercing industry is a new and growing field: changes are fast, frequent, and sometimes drastic. I can only present information that is current at the time of publication.

Substantive research studies, statistical analyses, and other definitive resource materials related to modern piercing are in short supply; therefore, the information, practices, and procedures described in this book are largely based on my own extensive, clinical experience. I've integrated industry standards where they exist, but there is still precious little that is truly standard, so my opinions are a primary component of many chapters.

There are few absolutes when it comes to body piercing since each individual is unique. For the sake of accuracy, words such as "frequently," "commonly," "generally," and so on are used throughout.

Finally, and importantly, I am a professional in the field of piercing, not medicine; this book is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. There is no substitute for a hands-on consultation with an experienced piercer or, when needed, the counsel of a health-care provider. This book is intended to support--not replace--the relationships that exist between piercee and piercer or doctor.

More About the Author

Since the 1980s Angel has been a driving force to professionalize and promote body piercing. She became Manager of Gauntlet, Inc., the first piercing specialty business in the United States, when it was still the only piercing studio in the country.

Within the professional piercing industry Elayne Angel is known as a pioneer for developing piercing techniques, formulating after care guidelines, and innovating a variety of new piercing placements. She is credited with popularizing tongue and triangle piercings, naming the lorum, and inventing the fourchette and Princess Diana piercings.

Angel was founder and President of Rings of Desire, Inc., in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where she pierced for over twelve years. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, she closed her business and relocated to the Yucatan in Mexico.

She writes the monthly "Ask Angel" column for body art industry publication, Pain Magazine. She is currently serving as President on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Piercers, and "guest pierces" at fine studios around the U.S.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to ALL who have an interest and who are piercing!
Sandra Dee
Her first hand knowledge regarding the history and future of body piercing practices is unequaled and this is evident throughout this book.
ER Nurse Since Dirt
Well written and illustrated, the book is written in very easy to understand terms- no hyper technical language.
Ann M. Boyd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By ER Nurse Since Dirt on May 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am in a unique position to write a review of this book as I am emergency/flight nurse, but also a non-pierced, non-tattooed medical consultant for the Association of Professional Piercers. Starting several years ago when I first began researching the medical myths vs. research realities regarding body mods, Elayne has been an invaluable resource. Her first hand knowledge regarding the history and future of body piercing practices is unequaled and this is evident throughout this book. The Piercing Bible is an excellent summary of body art jewelry, piercing options, and aftercare, as well as confirming/disputing several urban legends regarding body art. For those with body art, contemplating acquiring body art, or those caring for those with body art, I highly recommend this unparalled resource.
Scott DeBoer RN,MSN
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sweetshortz on November 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally ordered this product because im interested in becoming a professional piercer and on all the official piercer websites everyone recommended The Piercing Bible so i figured it was a must have. Like a lot of people have said i thought it was going to be a manual type book with how-to directions but its much more. It explains placements, it has important sanitation information and it gives the authors accounts and experiences with different piercings which i found to be very helpful and also neat to read. Overall i think its a great book to have for anyone who is interested in body mod.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suzannah B. Troy on June 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Elayne Angel came to my rescue because her book was not an available resource at the time when here in NYC, I made the mistake of getting a bad piercing and the wrong jewelry as well and it was a painful experience on many levels. At the time Elayne was still in New Orleans and she was able to help me. I did remove the piercing but thanks to her educating me I was able to get the piercing and jewelry that was right for me.

If you are considering getting a piercing or want to learn more because you are a piercer please buy this book and read it. The Piercing Bible is the definitive book on safety and piercing. Thank and gratitude to Elayne Angel with New York attitude from Suzannah B. Troy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dawn from Metro on April 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book to professionals in the body modification industry, medical professionals, and piercing clients. Love it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aces And Eights Tattoo on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Thank you Elayne Angel for writing this book. I have already used it to help my clients become better informed about the piercing they want to receive from me. Although 13 years in the business has left me very well informed, I did learn many new things about the sociology of piercing and body modification. Also Elayne's years of experience was so well documented that it was like attending a convention of the A.P.P. only a lot less costly!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne M. Wheeler on April 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is not only informative but enjoyable to read as well. Elayne Angel has created a masterpiece work that brings the mystique of piercing to the masses. No matter if you are a serious body modification devotee or a single mother deciding on a getting a first piercing you will enjoy this book. It is an approachable, candid, and friendly source for all a piercee should know before stepping foot into a studio.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Matsko on April 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elayne's advice and information is perfect for anyone considering getting a piercing. She tells you everything you need to know before you get pierced. Being able to email her after you have been pierced before reading her book is very profesional of her. She will guide you in the right direction and help you avoid making a mistake. I wish I had read this before getting my first piercing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy F. Winstead on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, must-have book for any person who has piercings, plans to get pierced, or has any interest in piercing. The book describes everything you need to know to pick out a piercing, choose proper jewelry, find a skilled piercer, prepare for your piercing, aftercare during healing, troubleshooting problem piercings, and living with your healed piercings.

Contains *VITAL* information for your health as a piercee, such as safe vs. unsafe piercing placements, wearing oral piercings while preserving your oral and dental health, safer sex information and general infection prevention, and piercing contraindications.

DON'T GET PIERCED WITHOUT IT!
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