Archive for bridge piercing is familiar with the recent debate about piercings as a tool in the management of chronic pain. After receiving several follow up questions to Ann’s March 8 blog post: “Can the Daith Piercing Cure Migraine Headaches?” (which you can check out by clicking here) we wanted to delve deeper into the discussion of piercing in relation to acupuncture. Yay, research!


“I’m an English major, guys. I love this nerd stuff”–Me

In this first segment of “On Pins and Needles,” I’m going to summarize my basic findings. In part two, available next week, we’ll discuss the hard facts available on this complicated subject.


Head to and his “Confessions of a Piercing Nerd” blog for the perspective of a humorous skeptic who happens to be a piercer too!

Available information on acupuncture and pain management through piercing suggest one clear fact: There aren’t many facts. There is, however, lots of discussion. Three main voices emerge in the argument for and against the combined practice:

  • individuals getting pierced: testimonials!
  • piercing professionals
  • acupuncturists studying both

Common discourse today revolves around the daith piercing (shown to the right–>) but further research reveals a more in-depth discussion.

The following bullets contain an initial summary of the established facts and strongly held opinions of individuals and professionals involved with this topic: 

  • Most accredited acupuncture associations are hesitant to take a stance on permanent piercings and acupuncture, claiming insufficient study or that fields like auriculotherapy (a relatively modern evolution specialized at the ear) are too far removed from traditional practice to comment on.
  • Testimonials by piercers as well as people who have gotten their daith and other acupuncture points pierced come in all shapes and sizes. Claims of no effect, partial or completely reduced pain for two weeks to one month, and emotional accounts of total relief from pain are all common.
  • Very few piercers are trained in acupuncture or work closely with acupuncturists. Reputable professional piercers speak on this issue with caution because of laws that restrict offering opinions that could be misunderstood as medical. If your piercer is claiming direct knowledge in this area, follow up. Ask questions! Don’t be fooled by opinions or inexperience.
  • Very few acupuncturists are trained in the art of piercing or work closely with piercers, though they tend to be versed in the effects of interruption of the body’s natural energy flow–Qi–and the effects of scar tissue on frequently used acupuncture points. While this knowledge isn’t specifically based on piercing experience, some of it still applies.

Check back next week to hear more about what I learned about permanent piercings and acupuncture treatments. Click here to reach Ann’s original blog post discussing the Daith and Migraines.

Click here for Part Two of “On Pins and Needles,” (available Friday, July 15th) and here for Part Three (available July 29th) to learn about a few of the related facts and studies that I discovered! Have some experience with our topic? Let us know by leaving your comment!


You asked for it, and we’re answering with even more facial piercings for your viewing pleasure.  So without further ado, let’s get on with facial piercings, part two.

We last left you with this fun little pic labeling the more common piercings that we get on our faces:

 common facial piercing names

So now let’s cover the less common facial piercings, shall we?  We’ll start with the help of our friendly neighborhood piercing model.  For our purposes here, the teardrop piercing, third eye piercing, and cheek piercing are all shown and labeled with dermals (microdermal anchors), which are single point piercings.  All three of these piercing also have the potential to be done as either a surface piercing (third eye and teardrop), or a standard piercing though (a stud pierced through the cheek).

less common facial piercings

The horizontal eyebrow, vertical labret, and high nostril piercing are all exactly what they sound like.  The septril and nasallang however, are both something extra special and fun.  A septril is a piercing that requires a stretched standard septum piercing, which is then pierced through so that the jewelry emerges at the bottom of the nose, and a nasallang is an industrial style piercing in which the nose is pierced from one side all the way through to the other, creating piercings of both nostrils and the nasal septum.  The rhino piercing is also a little fun, though a bit more traditional, being a vertical piercing through the nose tip that (especially when worn with a spike) gives the general look of (you guessed it) a rhino’s nose.

 vertical nose tip piercing

Lastly, we have the jestrum, lowbret, and eyelid piercings.  As you may be able to tell from the picture, a jestrum is simply a vertical medusa, and a lowbret is a labret piercing done lower on the chin.  An eyelid piercing is just what it sounds like, but isn’t it amazing that some of us actually have the guts to pierce our eyelids!?  I think so.

And there you have it.  For those who may have missed our chart of the common double and quad lip piercings (otherwise known as “bites”) the first time around, here’s a quick refresher:

 double and quad lip piercing styles

Didn’t see what you were looking for?  Submit requests for profiles of your fave piercings below in the comments. 

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It comes as no surprise that many of the piercings which have grown in mass popularity recently are entirely contemporary in origin.  With the first piercing parlor in the United States not even opening it’s doors until the late 1970s, it’s natural that many of our advances in body mod have happened within the past twenty five years.  But did you know that many of the piercings we’ve grown to know and love are actually named after people instead of body parts?  That’s just one way that modernization has molded the piercing industry through media.  For example:

 piercism for nose bridge piercing

Many of us call it a “bridge piercing,” but it’s also known by the simple name “Erl.”  And as you may have guessed, Erl is more of a who than a what.  That who is character actor Erl Van Aken, first pierced at the bridge of the nose in 1989 by an artist from Gauntlet, the first body piercing parlor in the U.S.

 piercism for neck piercing

Then there’s the Madison.  Madison piercings, as you can tell, are named after a woman.  Not just any woman though: Madison Stone.  Ms. Stone was a film star in the late eighties and early nineties, and the first person ever publicly associated with piercing of the throat (just above the center of the clavicle).  Although the piercing that she leant her name to has evolved over the years with the advent of microdermal implants and surface bar jewelry, her name remains attached to any and all forms of it.

 piercism for inverted vertical labret

There’s also the enigmatic Ashley piercing.  The Ashley is an inverse vertical labret, meaning that it goes through the lip from the inside, so that the only visible portion is a bead or gem seen “floating” in the center of the bottom lip.  Though it’s difficult to determine exactly when the Ashley was incepted, regular vertical labrets began popping up around the mid 1990s, so the Ashley variation is certainly even younger.

There are also several piercings that have been named not after certain artists or celebrities, but by them, creating interesting monikers that have meaning to those who first coined them.  Some of these include the nasallang, the daith, and the septril.

Categories : Piercisms
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Location: Anywhere feasible along the nose bridge, though normally at the upper portion of the bridge of the nose, directly between the eyes or slightly above.

 Erl Piercing

Alternate Names: Nose bridge piercing, Erl piercing, Earl piercing, and when performed vertically as a surface piercing or single dermal piercing, “vertical bridge” or “third eye.”

Piercing: The piercing itself is done in a variety of ways including horizontally, vertically, in multiples, or as a single microdermal or skin diver style piercing.  When performed as a dermal, a device called a dermal punch may be used and then a dermal anchor or skin diver inserted.  For standard bridge piercings, a hollow piercing needle will be the implement, sometimes along with a needle receiving tube, cork, or cannula.  Surgical pen is often used to mark the entrance and exit points to ensure straightness and proper depth, and depending on preference the piercing may be performed while the recipient is either laying down or sitting up.

 standard vertical and third eye bridge piercings

Aftercare: There are many misconceptions regarding outrageously high rates of rejection and strange brain infections due to bridge piercing, and most of them are entirely false.  One risk agreed upon by most piercers is the possibility in many individuals of an Erl piercing healing slightly crooked (via migration or otherwise), which can be drastically reduced by choosing an experienced piercer.  For those who wear glasses, the bridge piercing is to be treated with extra care, as knocking by the glasses when being put on and off can prolong healing and germs left on the glasses may increase the likelihood of infection due to proximity.  Vigilant aftercare including cleanses and soaks will also reduce the risk of migration in a properly placed Erl.

Jewelry: A standard bridge piercing may be done with a curved barbell, standard or flexible straight barbell, or a surface bar, while vertical bridge piercings will almost exclusively use a surface bar only.  For dermal or “third eye” style bridge piercings, a titanium microdermal anchor with decorative ball or a single piece skin diver will normally be seen.  After fully healed, some who have shallower piercings may be able to use circular jewelry like captive rings and horseshoe barbells.

 standard straight barbell body jewelry

Prevalence: Bridge piercing has grown substantially in popularity over the past five years alone, becoming a staple of facial piercing in youth culture, particularly amongst scene and emo groups.  This type of piercing is entirely unisex, and will be called by the same names and pierced in the same places regardless of gender.  It’s also worth noting that like many contemporary piercings, the first recipient of a bridge piercing was famous: body mod proponent and character actor Erl Van Aken (hence the moniker “Erl piercing”).

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If you’ve been mulling it over, now is definitely the time to start fresh by changing your look with that piercing that you’ve been pining over, and to drive this 2012 fashion decision home, we’re here to help with a brief overview of some popular piercings and the data that you’ll need to make an informed decision.  Let’s continue.


If you’ve been thinking about a bridge piercing: The bridge piercing is great for those who are looking for a fresher alternative to eyebrow or standard nose piercings.

Piercings of the Upper Nose Bridge

Tid Bit: This piercing will naturally draw attention to your eyes, so if you’re looking to show off beautiful baby blues, browns, or greens, this one’s just the ticket.

What you should know: The bridge is technically a surface piercing, although much of the time it’s done using a flexible bioplast barbell rather than a surface bar.  As a surface piercing, there’s slightly higher risk of rejection, but if properly cared for, initial healing should take about 12 weeks.  Using makeup around a new bridge piercing is not recommended as it may cause infection.

Pros: If you’re worried about pain, the bridge piercing is nice, because due to its placement, there’s minimal risk of swiping, jostling, catching, or otherwise bumping the jewelry during healing.

Hold off if: You prefer glasses to contacts.  For those who need vision correction and prefer a pair of glasses, the placement of this piercing creates a less than comfortable situation.  It’s best to trade in your specs for a set of softies for at least the first month.

Flexible Straight Bioplast Barbells

If you’re thinking about a tongue web piercing: Tongue web piercing, also called a Marley, is like a neat little secret that no one will know, and when you do show it off it’s definitely a conversation starter.

Piercings of the Tongue Frenulum

Tid Bit: The “tongue web”, or frenulum linguae, is the part of our oral anatomy that allows humans to speak.  For this reason, some spiritualists believe that piercing it will cause the wearer to think more about what they say and aid them in self expression.

What you should know: Tongue web piercings carry a higher risk of rejection than standard tongue piercings, but aftercare includes the same components (rinses with salt water or special mouthwash), and healing time is relatively quick at about four to six weeks.  Horseshoes, captive rings, and curved barbells can all be worn in a tongue web piercing.

Pros: The Marley is literally completely hidden, so if you like piercings but aren’t allowed to have them visible at work, it’s the perfect option.

Hold off if: You’re a smoker.  Smoking significantly raises the risk of infection for this type of piercing, so it’s recommended to use electronic cigarettes for the first few weeks after getting one because they deliver nicotine through harmless vapor instead.

Curved Barbell Body Jewelry

Stay tuned for more informational overviews of popular piercings that you might just take the plunge for in 2012.  Bye for now!

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As piercing of the face, ears, and just about anywhere becomes more popular, shopping for jewelry for ourselves or as gifts for others may be more confusing.  One surefire way to be certain you’re shopping for the right kind of jewelry for a piercing?  By knowing the name and location of popular body piercings and what jewelry can be worn there.  And like always, we’re here to help with a quick reference guide and study session.  Today we’ll cover facial piercings!

Piercings of facial skin or cartilage

Piercings of the face

There are few basic facial piercings that everyone should know before doing holiday shopping for pierced family members.  They are the eyebrow piercing, anti-eyebrow piercing, labret, monroe, medusa, dimples, nostril (commonly referred to as just nose piercing), septum, and bridge.

Names and Locations of Facial Piercings

As shown here, eyebrow piercings are generally worn with an eyebrow ring, which is a small curved barbell, while anti-eyebrow or “cheek piercings” tend to be worn with a surface bar.  Similarly with nose piercings, septum jewelry is usually a circular barbell like a horseshoe or BCR, while piercings of the nostril will always be referred to as a “nose ring” and come in five basic styles.

5 Basic Nose Ring Styles

The monroe and medusa are above the upper lip, and are almost always decorated with stud style jewelry, while the labret is below or on the bottom lip, and has a wider selection of jewelry styles due to location.  Hoop or “ring” type jewelry is generally the most popular amongst youth culture for piercings of the bottom lip.  Other styles of multiple lip piercing are shown below, and are pictured with the type of jewelry most often worn in each piercing.

Styles of Multiple Lip Piercings

For surface piercings of the face like the bridge, anti-eyebrow, and piercings of the eyelids, preference is key to picking the right piece.  While some have been pierced with a surface bar and continue to wear only this style jewelry, others will prefer to use flexible bioplast barbells or even regular straight or curved barbell items.  Or, in the case of rarer piercings like the “third eye” piercing, dermal jewelry may be needed.

Surface and Dermal Facial Piercings

Dermal piercings are done with a large gauge needle or what’s called a dermal punch, and go through the skin with a single hole instead of having both an entry point and an exit point.  The jewelry consists of two parts: one underneath the skin called an anchor, and some type of decoration that is visible and screws into the anchor.  This allows for the look of a single jewel or spike embedded in or “growing out of” the skin.  For types of microdermal or transdermal piercing in which jewelry can be changed, only the visible portion may be switched out or removed, and is usually referred to as a “dermal top.”

Microdermal Jewelry

Stay tuned for our next reference guide, and happy holiday shopping!


Hot New Trends in Body Piercing

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There are a lot of fun, new, and interesting piercings popping up all over the world these days, and some of them really caught our eye.  So here’s a list of some of the coolest, sweetest, most controversial new body piercing trends that left us in awe or just wishing we had the guts.

1. Bridge Piercing

 Piercing of the upper nose bridge

Just when everyone thought that nose piercing had reached the peak of its modification credit, piercings (sometimes multiple ones on the same nose) started popping up on the upper bridge of noses.  This trend is extremely fun.  It’s cute, edgy, and full of possibilities; everything you could want from a new type of piercing.

2. Third Eye Piercing

 Dermal Third Eye

Called the third eye because of its placement, this piercing can be done with a surface bar (which would also be called a vertical bridge piercing), or a dermal anchor.  While piercing the skin right over your third eye chakra might not realign your chi, it’s definitely a bold modification statement, especially when accompanied by tattooing or wild colored hairstyles.

3. Anti Eyebrow

 Piercing of the Upper Cheek or "Anti Eyebrow"

We’re not sure how it got its name, but the anti eyebrow piercing is an interesting surface piercing that is running away with itself.  Usually pierced on the upper cheek where the cheekbone meets the outer corner of the eye, this piercing is a sweet alternative nod to Japanese style facial piercing; piercings in unique and often untouched places that accent the largeness of the eyes or petiteness of the mouth.

4. Collar Bone Piercing

 Piercing of the Collar Bone

Admittedly a piercing of the collar bone area sounds a little hard core and maybe a tad painful, but as surface piercings go, they’re said to heal surprisingly well and offer a very interesting accent to any look that involves a bare clavicle. 

5. Vampire’s Kiss

 Neck Piercing

The Vampire’s Kiss piercing is becoming a new favorite amongst romantic gothic types and it’s easy to see why.  This surface piercing, sometimes tipped with red gemstones to emulate blood droplets, is located near the base of the neck and unmistakably references a vampire bite (hence the interesting name).  With movies and books like the Vampire Series from Anne Rice, the Underworld Trilogy, and most recently the Twilight Saga popularizing the dark beauty of vampires and the forbidden nature of their relationships with humans, the image of a blatant ‘bite” begins to have a whole different appeal.

6. Snake Eyes

 Horizontal Tongue Piercing

This is a neat, if slightly impractical modification to the standard tongue piercing: a barbell that goes through the tongue horizontally instead of vertically.  The resemblance to actual snake eyes is loose, but the piercing certainly needed a name that lives up to its rock and roll style edge, so who are we to argue?  The only thing that makes this a little less appetizing; it’s harder to speak and eat with a horizontal barbell at the tip of your tongue.

7. Corset Piercings

 Corset Surface Piercings

A fairly recent exploding trend, and still in its development, corset piercings are fast becoming the most controversial piercing around.  They started as a set of two rows of surface piercings in the back that would be wound through with ribbon to mimic corset lacing, but now you can find them on arms and legs, hands and feet, sides, bellies, necks, chests, and even fingers and cheeks.  Extreme?  Definitely.  ….but if you’re like me you can’t help but look at it and want one of your own.  Maybe in a few years.