Risk vs Reward

When it comes to modifications, there is always an element of risk involved.  Obviously with some there is more risk than others.  Piercings can reject, tattoos can fallout, scars can get infected, the list goes on.  These of course are all “what ifs”, but the potential for problems are present with every one.  When it comes to the world of suspensions, the risks are higher, but the rewards can be greater.  With people pushing the limits of suspensions all over the world, it’s important to remember to be safe.  There are a number of resources and organizations dedicated to promoting safe practices when it comes to all types of suspensions.

Now with that all said, there are times when things may be set up safely, but if the suspension is inherently a risky one the potential for something to go wrong is still heightened.  Heck, even when everything is set up perfectly for a suspension that would be considered “easy” by practitioners, that doesn’t mean the element of danger isn’t present and things should be monitored closely.

In the following pictures you’ll see The J-3-D performing one of the riskiest suspensions, the single point elbow suspension.  I’ve gotten in touch with members of the suspension community that assured me that while everything is good with the rigging, this type of suspension is extremely dangerous to do, and should not be attempted unless there are a number of experts present.  So have a look at these images to see exactly why this suspension is so risky.


The rest of the images you can see by clicking the “read more” button.



As you can see, everything was set up correctly, although I was told the placement of the hook could have been a little better.  From my understanding the suspension lasted around 1 minute, before he needed to come down.

This is where the risk element comes into play.  While the reward for performing a dangerous suspension that not a lot of people have done is high, the risk is also very high.  As you can see by this last image, with everything set up within safe standards, bad things can still happen.


If you can’t make out the details, what has happened is he has suffered a complete tear through his arm.  You can see the full sized image by clicking on the picture, but if you’re squeamish, you may not want to.  Then again, this is ModBlog, I don’t think we have too many readers who are squeamish.

You can get a better look at these images, and the rest of the photos from the suspension in the ritual galleries under “other suspensions“.

I want to mention again, that this type of suspension is extremely risky and should only be performed under the direct supervision of an experienced practitioner.

36 thoughts on “Risk vs Reward

  1. I want to suspend, but this scares the hell out of me. I always wondered if this could happen, and now that I’ve seen that it can, it scares me even more.

  2. @Taylor, the risk of this happening during a more traditional suspension (suicide, superman, coma, etc) is extremely minimal. Not to say it can’t happen, but that it doesn’t happen often at all. More extreme suspensions like this, and many other one hook suspensions are when the risk of tearing and requiring sutures become much more common.

  3. @Taylor: Please don’t think of these photos as a typical scenario when it comes to suspensions. Like I mentioned, while there is risk involved in all suspensions, the chances of this happening during the most common types is fairly minimal (provided you’re going to a safe practitioner). The reason that this turned out the way it did was because this is an extremely difficult and dangerous suspension, not something someone would try for their first time.

  4. I hope that with this risky placement for an already risky setup (single point suspensions) they had someone on hand who knew how to suture.

  5. No pain no game… In all things there are risks. But some risks U just have to take to experience something amazing.

  6. That sucks that it ended up the way that it did. But seeing this got me wondering. I can’t remember exactly the specifics, but I did a research paper on the history of bodily modification in my senior year that exceeded the max number of pages he wanted. But one thing that I remember is that with the origins of suspension, one of the rituals was to set up a pull with your hooks, and pull at them until they ripped out.

    Now I know from speaking with some folks on here at different points in time, that they try to separate the origins of suspension from where we’ve come with it today, but despite as people may try, I know there’s got to be someone out there interested in performing something of the same caliber, weather or not they were trying to replicate this or not. I for one, am sort of interested in it myself personally for having only just now talking about it.

  7. Today I was watching a TV show called medical incredible and they had a little segment on suspension. (4-point knee) I thought they portrayed it really well and fairly unbiased. (I’m sure there’s a youtube video somewhere…)

    Anyway… that tear looks pretty freaky. I always wondered what that injury looked like… His poor arm though… x.x

  8. @MoseZ
    I am just pulling this from memory so I could be totally wrong and am not bothered to search but i think what you are referring to is part of a sun dance ritual of a (or various) native american tribe(s).

  9. don’t let this discourage you! I’m still new to suspensions, with this month hitting my two year mark. worst thing to ever happen to me was very minimal tearing on one knee and one side of the chest. and I mean it’s tiny. my knee had two sutures in it and my chest was left to heal without. but on the other hand, I haven’t done an uncommon suspension.

    but yeah, before even scrolling down and seeing the placement, I knew something bad was going to happen. I want to see the scar when it’s all healed up (if not already).

  10. @MoseZ, in regards to tearing out, I believe you are referring to an aspect of some Sundance Rituals which involves a quill or thorn being pierced into the person and then tied to a tree and they dance/pull on it until it comes out. I’ve not heard of any other rituals which involve intentionally suspending until the flesh tears.

    One of the main concerns with tearing out is the subsequent fall, which is where the major damage comes from. Yes, the rip is gnarly looking, but assuming the hooks were inserted properly, the damage is to the skin and not to the underlying tissue, so some sutures and proper aftercare should heal that up decently, albeit with a scar.

    Single point elbow suspensions have been performed successfully and in general involve some tearing, but not always all the way through. These are the sorts of suspensions which require well trained practitioners who know how to minimize the risks and have the experience and knowledge of what to do when things go wrong.

  11. @Taylor
    I’ve performed multiple four-points and a two-points, and I’m 6’3″ and was 215+ at the time of the two-point and have never had issues with tearing. That isn’t to say it couldn’t happen, but don’t allow the idea of a tear to prevent you from suspending. As long as you are with people you trust who are professionals, they will do their best to put you in a suspension that will minimize risk and will be able to recognize and stop the suspension before any major tearing like this could occur.

  12. owww fuck…makes me wanna cuddle my elbows now *cuddles elbows* lol

    seriously you have to have some balls to do a single point especially from around the elbow, for me it just seems like there will ALWAYS be a high risk round that area due to how the skin pulls naturally taught anyway.

    but shiiiit that is one mean looking bit of gore…thank fuck I had breakfast over an hour ago cos if I was eating right now there would be bits of egg spat on the laptop screen lol

  13. @Crazy Face

    Maybe because it kind of looks like fried egg covered in tomato sauce?

    @MoseZ and jason

    okay this going to sound tripe due to the shit quality of my memory, but when I was at the Ripley’s in SF last year, one of their displays was about a tribe (can’t remember the location) who one of their coming of age rituals was for boys to suspend from two points in their chest with the aim being you didn’t come down unless you fell down. they could be up their for days, and i think it was a “fail” to pass out.

  14. I thought the placement was weird/hadn’t seen it before too. Also, the hook right on the carabiner.
    Yep, that’s a big risk with putting all your weight onto one point. =( I guess the skin is thicker on that part of your arm instead of the forearm but as we can still it can still tear out.

  15. @Everyone who answered me lol
    Yeah, I think that was it. Although I am in your boat with being too lazy to go and look it up. But what I had found to be interesting after reading and seeing this Modblog, was if there has been any experiences where that would be the intention, the end goal, to rip them out of your skin, similarly to this ancient rite of passage that was performed. I know that they didn’t hang, and that is where a lot of the risk comes from with this hypothetically discussed situation, but if one were to be pulling? I mean, I know that I said I was interested in it, but that’s one thing from actually going about it (not to say I never will, but you know.) And yeah, that’s where I’ll end this because I am too sick to try and make it sound smart anymore…

  16. I just thought of a question. Someone above mentioned their weight and I was wondering what effect body size has on suspensions. Obviously, if someone is heavier, there is more force pulling down on hooks making it more likely that there will be tearing. However, I am wondering if having a thicker layer of fatty tissue would make the skin stronger. Or, do the hooks not go in that far?

  17. Was that a risky suspension?
    I say no. Risky itis, whan youcan think, it shuld work, but with some chance it doesn’t.
    1 Pt ellbow, or better – 1 Pt arm simply tears out after a few seconds. Stop it in time and a stretched /bit teared hole will remain. Go for long and the body weight rips the hook out of the skin. That’s not the skin to withstand 140, 150 pounds, pulling on a small hook.
    Thats not a risk, that’s happening for sure, and thus a kind of payment for the sensation.

  18. Rob, Im curious who you contacted as that rigging is far from “good” Hes shackled directly to the biner, contaminating it, theres nonstop metal on metal contact but the most glaringly aspect is that the biner is unlocked. This leads me to believe the the practitioner was NOT a capable practitioner (well the poor rigging coupled with the placement) and that probably attributed greatly towards the outcome.

  19. Mosez, ive hooked a few people with tearing being the desired end goal. Not many, just 3 or 4, but yes, people do sometimes desire that.

  20. Ouch, that’s got “bad news” written all over it.. and ended really badly..
    I don’t know a lot about rigging, but that just looks horribly wrong..
    I hope someone had half a brain to suture that..

    I’ve never suspended wanting to tear, but sometimes it happens (chest and knees), I’ve never torn completely out, needed a few sutures here and there, which I didn’t mind. Scarring is minimal. I knew the risks of tearing before attempting those suspensions though..

    My biggest concern is that person falling, and possibly going into shock.

  21. @Botexty Could you by any chance find out what tribe/group that was? I’ve “heard” a lot about suspending until tearing out but haven’t seen any proper citations in regards to it, so I’d love to see it!

    @Cere, the rigging is terrible and good eye catching that the carabiner wasn’t locked. Ugh…

    I’ve talked to several people who wish to tear out but I’ve never facilitated or been around for an intentional tear out. Usually the hook will fail before the skin does, at least the way suspensions are generally rigged, as it’s usually preferred for the hook to fail so the skin doesn’t.

  22. I know, that I wanted
    I knew that as a result it will turn out.
    SO 3 persons on a planet hung only
    And at all of us hands have torn
    All has been spent ideally
    On sinner team anything it is not necessary to hang up
    Forgive for clumsy english language :D

  23. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » Worst case scenario

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