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Trying to zone out

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While I am not averse to using herbs (not the herb that most folks will think of when I say herbs), I do find that breath-work and focusing on being relaxed (as @Bongasu said) makes a huge difference. Sometimes it is hard to get over that, and having the distraction of good shop music makes a big difference. I still remember, during my first tattoo, on my ribs, my tattoo artist saying to not fight it, and to use my breath as a way to breathe the pain out. It definitely helped, and now I make sure to breathe in when my tattoo artist is not tattooing me and breathe out when my tattoo artist is needling me. Takes a while to find the right rhythm, and if I get off that rhythm I really feel it. I think this is why I like tebori so much: it's easier for me to get into the rhythm and go with the flow of the artist's pace.

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I just had my second session done on my chest piece. 10 solid hours of actual tattoo time in two days. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, since the first session (8hours in two days) turned out to be painful as hell. From minute one 'till the end. (a cursed like a madman when he went over my nipple)

This time however, and for the first time, I really got 'in the zone'. I was laying in the chair, eyes closed and completely at ease while the tattoo artist drilled away for 5 hours straight. We only took two 15min breaks. What worked for me was telling myself the whole time: 'I am completely relaxed, I can't feel pain. If I could feel pain, I wouldn't be relaxed'. A bit of reversed psychology. After 45min I was in a sort of trance. I could accept the feeling of getting my skin punctured a zillion times as something that wasn't pain but something I wanted. It sounds stupid, but it worked like hell.

On the really painful parts, like sternum and nipples it was all about breathing. Deep and slow breaths. Accepting the pain, not as 'pain' - with all the negative associations, but as a sensation I could control.

Anyway, it did the trick for me.

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I just had my second session done on my chest piece. 10 solid hours of actual tattoo time in two days. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, since the first session (8hours in two days) turned out to be painful as hell. From minute one 'till the end. (a cursed like a madman when he went over my nipple)

This time however, and for the first time, I really got 'in the zone'. I was laying in the chair, eyes closed and completely at ease while the tattoo artist drilled away for 5 hours straight. We only took two 15min breaks. What worked for me was telling myself the whole time: 'I am completely relaxed, I can't feel pain. If I could feel pain, I wouldn't be relaxed'. A bit of reversed psychology. After 45min I was in a sort of trance. I could accept the feeling of getting my skin punctured a zillion times as something that wasn't pain but something I wanted. It sounds stupid, but it worked like hell.

On the really painful parts, like sternum and nipples it was all about breathing. Deep and slow breaths. Accepting the pain, not as 'pain' - with all the negative associations, but as a sensation I could control.

Anyway, it did the trick for me.

Thank you for sharing your experience!

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Hubbs avoids caffeine before and during.

Caffeine is bad before tattoos?!?! That explains why I died yesterday.

- - - Updated - - -

I can't do headphones either, like some people have said. Like @CABS said, I just kinda chat and zone out as best I can with that.

The minute I read this, I was in the middle of asking for my first tattoo break ever. I then proceeded to grab headphones for the first time ever (thank god for bad rap music, OT Genesis saves the day). I felt like such a traitor to my own beliefs!

Ribs are no fucking joke.

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I take prescription painkillers every day, so they're part of my daily routine. I usually save up a few extra just for tattoo work. I take one when I walk in the door and one at the 1/2 way point and I'm fine.

I talk to the artist and people that walk in, but I run out of things to say after a while. I also have little tolerance for music that is too loud as my pain level goes up. We actually had some classical music on one time and it was relaxing.

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You just gotta let it happen. Trying to zone out is probably the worst way to do it in my experience...

And if it gets rough, remember: you're not really getting hurt. There's no serious damage. People do it everyday and they're fine.

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I traveled to SF for my first significant work. I did 5 1/2 hours one day and 4 more the next. My artist was guesting at the opening of Analog in the tenderloin district. We were in a loft overlooking the street. Observing street life of the Tenderloin kept me entertained for 90% of the time. Drug deals,hookers, homeless, insane. Even two women beating up some guy. IDK if it was me reaching the end of my rope but the last hour of each day was pretty tough. Seemed like my guy just had to edge into the armpit area from the front one day and from the backside the next. Both times right at the end of the session. I was pretty tense. All I could do then was tell myself "get through to the next time he goes to the ink".

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Caffeine is bad before tattoos?!?! That explains why I died yesterday.

- - - Updated - - -

The minute I read this, I was in the middle of asking for my first tattoo break ever. I then proceeded to grab headphones for the first time ever (thank god for bad rap music, OT Genesis saves the day). I felt like such a traitor to my own beliefs!

Ribs are no fucking joke.

I've never noticed any effects from caffeine while being tattooed, but I'm sure everyone is different.

I feel like the ribs are a different ballgame and it's almost about survival. It's also harder to talk or laugh or anything because you don't want to move around too much. Like you with headphones, that was the only time I used any numbing stuff. I didn't plan on it, but my artist had just gotten some and wanted to test it out. He'd tattooed me a bunch and figured I'd be as good a guinea pig as anyone. Haha. I remember the worst part of my ribs being laying with my arm stretched out awkwardly.

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Like you with headphones, that was the only time I used any numbing stuff. I didn't plan on it, but my artist had just gotten some and wanted to test it out.

If you don't mind a lightning round of questions: How long did your rib piece take, what kind of numbing agent was it, how long did it last, and how did it affect the healing process?

I would like a large rib piece one day and while I accept pain as part of earning a tattoo, I'm no glutton for punishment.

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I feel like the ribs are a different ballgame and it's almost about survival. It's also harder to talk or laugh or anything because you don't want to move around too much. Like you with headphones, that was the only time I used any numbing stuff. I didn't plan on it, but my artist had just gotten some and wanted to test it out. He'd tattooed me a bunch and figured I'd be as good a guinea pig as anyone. Haha. I remember the worst part of my ribs being laying with my arm stretched out awkwardly.

Thanks man. I don't feel like a traitor to my beliefs as much anymore, haha. @cltattooing came by and made me laugh during this, hahaha. Good times. Yeah, my arm was stretched out super awkwardly. While doing this, it totally stretches out the tattoo in a weird distorted shape.

I'm ready for my next rib tattoo now, not gonna lie. I just want to get it over with.

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Thanks man. I don't feel like a traitor to my beliefs as much anymore, haha. @cltattooing came by and made me laugh during this, hahaha. Good times. Yeah, my arm was stretched out super awkwardly. While doing this, it totally stretches out the tattoo in a weird distorted shape.

I'm ready for my next rib tattoo now, not gonna lie. I just want to get it over with.

good for you man - i'm going back to my other rib next month too - like its gonna hurt - it'll be another 3 to 3.5 hours on it - but...meh - who cares - you just deal

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I just try to talk to my tattooer. Or tattooers that are working next to my tattooer. Or that tattooer's customers. If not, I just keep to my self and look tough. Keyword: look.

Still have not gone the route of headphones, and I don't think I will.

No painkillers, au natural!

i subscribe to same plan, joke around if possible or just die silently

you one tough sun ofa beech crying drake

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If you don't mind a lightning round of questions: How long did your rib piece take, what kind of numbing agent was it, how long did it last, and how did it affect the healing process?

I would like a large rib piece one day and while I accept pain as part of earning a tattoo, I'm no glutton for punishment.

@Kimmie I texted my artist and he said it was Emla cream. It was the only time I've used it. I don't remember much about it though, to be honest. It lasted for a bit, but not crazy long if I recall. No adverse healing issues.

Sorry I'm not more help, but it was a few years ago. Like I said, what I hated most about ribs was the way I had to lay with my arm stretched across my body and my hand kept falling asleep. Hahaha. My piece isn't gigantic, but decent sized I suppose. I believe there is a thread somewhere else on here about numbing agents.

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As a bunch of other people here have already said, breathing really makes a difference. Or at least for me it did. I try to get into a rhythm with slow, deep breaths. I have about 13 hrs worth of work on my ribs/hip, and I kept on telling myself that if I drew a sharp breath, or if I wasn't breathing in a predictable way, it would screw my artist up. I'm not really sure how true that was, but the fear was enough to keep me breathing steadily pretty much the whole time. And when it got pretty painful, that thought kept me concentrating on my breath, which distracted me from the pain. It was less of a "zoning out" and more of a zoning in - thinking about how even I can make my breath, and how smooth I can make the expansion and contraction of my ribs with my breath so that there were no "rough edges" in my breath cycle.

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I go into a deep mediation, think I've said this somewhere before. But, I find getting tattooed relaxing and mix that with mediation I fall asleep. But, I'm not normal :p

Though breathing is key. Regular, controlled breathing.

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On my rib piece its hard to ignore the pain, but my tattoo artist talks me through it and is good at predicting a possible jump or wince. A few times in the session I nearly crawled off the table trying to avoid the pain, but he didn't seem to notice too much lol. Having a friend there to grip their arm/hand during the worst parts is extremely helpful. I'm sure my friend doesn't appreciate the bruises I've left on him, but he's dealt with it pretty well so far!

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Well just reporting back my experience....

Breathing did work! I also found that relaxing the area works a ton as well... Now when I was getting down to the 4th and 5th hours concentration was not there any more.... TV's where loud and I was unable to focus away from the pain....

I had no clue that the back was so sensitive.

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My last session was 7 hours. I took a break when the artist took a break. I take an antihistamine right before I go in and a tylenol. This last time it was very manageable until the 6 hour mark, then I was gritting my teeth a bit, but music does help. I always imagine that it must be more difficult for the artist than for me, after all, I just sitting, he's the one working. My butt hurt from sitting bothered my more than the tattooing.

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Well just reporting back my experience....

Breathing did work! I also found that relaxing the area works a ton as well... Now when I was getting down to the 4th and 5th hours concentration was not there any more.... TV's where loud and I was unable to focus away from the pain....

I had no clue that the back was so sensitive.

This is how I get after a few hours. Nothing was really working for me to control the pain, but I never flinched. And it still hurts today after my 3.5 hours last night. The music was too loud and not what I would listen to anyway. The area was on the back side of my upper arm going into the armpit.

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This is how I get after a few hours. Nothing was really working for me to control the pain, but I never flinched. And it still hurts today after my 3.5 hours last night. The music was too loud and not what I would listen to anyway. The area was on the back side of my upper arm going into the armpit.

The more I get tattooed the more I find out that I really don't care for my surroundings while I am getting ink... Unless the artists talk to me I just want to zone out and block everything around me. Music helps me accomplish this.

I know exactly what you are talking about.... Very painful area... I cant begin to describe so many parts of the back that are just way sensitive. :eek:

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