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I have a mantra I repeat in the worst times, which helps me put things into perspective: "Pain is just intense physical stimulation." It's good to remind yourself that pain is okay, you're not going to die, you'll get through it, etc.

As for twitching, hell if I know. I've got one lower leg done in a leg sleeve type design and I was twitching like crazy the whole time. I dread having my other calf done...

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I find that keeping my eyes open helps. When I close my eyes, I sink into my head. I'm a big fan of counting....I'll count anything and everything that I see. I'll also make myself identify every color that I see. I'm normally very fidgety, so staying still is uber hard for me pain or not.

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Best non-drug advice I can give is a relaxation breathing technique I use, which is to breath slowly and deeply, while starting with your toes, concentrate on relaxing your toes, then when that is done, relax your feet, then your ankles, then calves and so on till the top of your head, then reverse from top of head to toes, in a wave-like pattern, up and down, repeat, repeat. Your endorphins get released quicker and get to that happy place faster. I have used this technique while receiving some monster sessions and it works because it gives you something productive to focus on while relaxing your body so you are not clenching up and twitching like your having a seizure. Then there is 'the wall', which is the phycological line you can cross where it is best to tap out because you are out of the stuff it takes to continue, different topic though...

If tattooing becomes painless someday, you will see a divide where it will be a qualifier if you had a painless tattoo or not because at this time and in conceivable history pain has been part of the deal. Looking at a 10,000-year-old mummy's tattoo, you can think to yourself, shit that had to hurt... you get tattoo creds based upon the size and placement of the art, whether consciously or not by other tattooed people, it is part and parcel in the experience. 

Edited by Charles.M

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I get twitches from my meds sometimes, so next tattoo i'm going to practise deep breathing whilst my tattooist does the usual of holding my arm down.

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I was able to sit for 2, 10 hour sessions back to back.  Took the advice of a friend: bring a pillow, blanket, snacks, carbs, iPad w/ movies/distraction and chargers 🙂  Also took Motrin .  Wasn't too awful 

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