I had my first tattoo over my left ovary when I was just 14 years old at a place called the Lion's Den in Trenton NJ. The tattoo artist had a cigarette in one hand and a Zima in the other and told me to stay the F still. That day still haunts me! Around the same time I decided to pierce my own belly button, gosh I was a handful. It turns out it was the left ovary that used to give me the most endometriosis-related problems since I was 14. My second and third tattoos are on my lower back, directly on top of my adrenal glands. My ears are not pierced anymore because as a little girl I would never allow my mom to put earrings through after the initial stud was removed. Intuitively something told me not to wear earrings. My ears were pierced so many times as a kid that my pediatrician told my mom that they caused scar tissue to form and to stop piercing me. Back in 2014 I visited a Scandinavian healer for adenomyosis pain and she mentioned my tattoos being the possible cause of physical pain in my body because of the meridian points they were affecting. She placed mud packs on each tattoo to draw out the toxins. Tattoos are filled with toxic heavy metals and removing them is actually far worse than keeping them because the ink is reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
Tattoos and piercings trace back thousands of years. In fact, Ötzi The Iceman was found frozen on the Similaun Glacier in the Tirolean Ötztal Alps in 1991 and had both pierced ears and tattoos. He is believed to have lived 5,300 years ago. Tattoos are a way to express ourselves, our pain, our protection, our style or in my case it was a way to rebel. But how much thought goes into the long term effects that tattoos and piercings can have on our bodies? There’s a lot to think about when it comes to ink choice and placement of piercings and tattoos.
Let’s Talk Tattoo Ink
When most people get tattoos, the last thing on their mind is the ingredients that make up the ink. Pigments is what gives tattoos the vivid colors. In Ancient times, tribes used the soot from charred wood and ground-up carbon or ash to create a black ink to make tattoo ink. A lot has changed since then and the reality is that most tattoo ink contains harmful ingredients that can have long-term effects on our bodies. Since tattoo ink isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, heavy metals make up a large portion of the ingredients. By now its widely known that heavy metals in the body are toxic to us and can lead to a wide range of sicknesses and diseases. Due to the world we live in, these toxins are in our food, air, vaccines, water and tattoo ink. We have to remember that our skin is our largest organ and really our first line of defense when it comes to the world itself. Tattoos go directly into this precious organ so it is important to research the ink your artist uses. Not only is the ink in our skin but it is also absorbed throughout the body according the the British Journal of Dermatology, which also found that tattoo ink has carcinogenic particles that can cause nerve damage and toxic effects in the brain.
So What’s In The Ink?
When there’s a demand, mass production sometimes causes formulas to change, meaning cheaper ingredients are sourced. Most tattoo ink manufacturers mix heavy metal pigments with lightening agents to make their production cost cheaper. There are pigments that are approved for cosmetic use, but there are also some that were approved for industrial uses like car paint or printer ink that are used for tattoo ink! The heavy metals that can be found in the ink are lead, titanium, calcium, beryllium, sulfur, cobalt, chromium, nickel, iron, copper, arsenic, and even mercury. A 2010 study found that most tattoo ink contained the known carcinogenic Polycyclin Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAH.
Health effects related to these heavy metals range from allergies to organ malfunction in the liver, bones and reproductive system and can also include damage to the nervous and cardiovascular system. According to PETA, aside from harsh, toxic ingredients, there’s also animal products in the ink that include bone char, glycerin from animal fat, gelatin from hooves, or shellac from beetles.
In 2017 German and French researchers wanted to learn the effects of tattoo ink so they collected tissue samples from six bodies that had been donated to science. Four of the six bodies had tattoos. The researches found that two of the four tattooed bodies had ink in their lymph nodes. This is highly concerning because the lymph nodes play a significant role in regulating immune system health. Not only that, but the four inked bodies had elevated amounts of aluminum, chromium, iron, nickel, copper and titanium.
There ARE ink alternatives that are marketed as “non-toxic” that are definitely worth looking into if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo. If you’re reading this and getting scared about the ink already on your body, don’t stress! There are different ways to detox from heavy metals in our bodies and this includes tattoo ink. You can use a bentonite clay drink or a zeolite supplement. Bentonite clay and water create a negative electrical charge that attracts and binds with heavy metals and other toxins so that your body can get rid of them through urine and bowel movements. Zeolite is a natural occurring mineral that draws out heavy metals.
Piercings In The Modern World
Most of us have piercings, be it our ears, face or belly buttons. In many cultures, you’re basically born with pierced ears…well it basically feels like it when you get your ears pierced when you are just days old like in my case! It’s actually more taboo to NOT have your ears pierced like Jena. I have never thought about how having piercings affect our bodies until recently. Piercings are a way to express ourselves but there are different things to keep in mind.
Electromagnetic radiation is all around us thanks to our modern, connected world. We are constantly being exposed to EMRs because of our phones and wifi signals all around us. This makes wearing metal jewelry and piercings risky because metal is a conductor of electricity and attracts the EMRs to our bodies. EMRs affect the body’s tissues by inhibiting our DNA repair process and they can also interfere with our melatonin production.
Acupuncture is actually a traditional Chinese practice that has been around for thousands of years. In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted into the body on acupuncture points to help the flow of qi, which is also known as vital force. Placement of these needles is based on the bodies meridian lines. Think of these meridian lines like the energy network of the body. Our body’s energy flows throughout these lines.
Placement does matter when it comes to piercings, for better or worse. Metal is known to alter the energy in our bodies, and this is no exception when it comes to piercings. The effect on our heath will be greatly impacted if the metal is located near a meridian. This has been studied by scientist and doctors. Piercings can also stop the flow of our energy through the meridians which can cause pain and make us feel stagnant. When our energy is imbalanced, we can experience low immunity which can eventualy lead to chronic disorders.
Piercings in certain areas like the belly button, chin, tongue (among other parts) have been found to have negative effects. Belly button piercings wreak havoc on the entire central nervous system because they are located on the ren meridian channel. This piercing location has been linked to MS, infertility, cervical dysplasia and even endometriosis. Chin piercings can affect our hormones, cause us to grind our teeth and interfere with our salivary gland. These issues can lead to digestion problems. The most common issues reported by people with tongue piercings are increased acne, acid reflux and constipation.
If piercings are on an actual meridian point, it can affect the energy in the body each acupressure point is connected to an emotion, mental state and metabolic function. Piercing a point disturbs the balance of each of these.
This is particularly true for the ear piercings because the ears contain about 300 acupressure points and each of those connect to an organ. Ear lobes are connected to the eyes. Look at the chart: you will see which organ is connected to your piercings.
The same is true for the meridians. Each meridian regulates an organ. It takes only one misplaced point to disturb the whole meridian. Make sure your piercings are in safe locations if you're thinking about getting another, or if you're thinking about piercing your child.