I have had several clients that have endured very long tattoo sessions with very little physical discomfort. I am always really intrigued to see how they are able to deal with the pain so well. Hopefully what I have learned from them will help you also. This is just my a recommendation from what I have learned… You might have an ego that won’t allow you to do any of this because it seems to hokey or too time consuming… If that’s the case I’m truly sorry… luckily most of my clients are very open minded and willing. If you are willing… this can help.
The preparation for your tattoo should begin at least one week before the tattoo. You should begin to think about the pain you will experience. It is a tattoo and it will hurt, but you can deal with the pain very well if you really want the tattoo. Remember that its when you make the conscious decision that you do not want to be getting tattooed any more that the pain will overwhelm you. As long as you maintain the mindset that you really want the tattoo, you will push through the pain with ease. This is what you must begin to prepare yourself for at least a few days before your tattoo.
If possible meditation for at least 10 mins a day before your tattoo will work magic for you… more might work more magic. All this meditation is-is making time to breath deep and give yourself some space. In order to do this just find a quiet space with few distractions. Then set a timer for 10 minutes. Then close your eyes and begin to breath deep full breaths… the breathing is the most important part. Begin by telling yourself you really want your tattoo, then let yourself go and focus on your breath. When you notice yourself thinking of something other than your breath just let that thought go and refocus on your breath. At first this may be hard without criticizing yourself… but in time you will learn that criticizing yourself is just another thought, and that not criticizing yourself gets you back to focusing on breathing more directly. I have a client that is very experienced in meditation and fell sleep through an elbow tattoo… so I know from experience what a huge help this can be.
Also, try to make time to think about what the tattoo means to you. Try to think about the reason that you want it and all the things in your life that have led you to this point in time. The more time you spend doing this the stronger you will be about wanting the tattoo when there is pain involved.
I had one client named Tin who I did a sleeve on tell me about his tattoo… he grew up in Vietnam in the 1960’s and he was the little boy that was born into war running around dead bodies naked. When he was born his grandfather dug a hole and put him in it. Then he laid on top of the hole so no bullets would hit Tin. He had a very close relationship with his grandfather, and the tattoo was partially a memorial for his grandfather. As I was tattooing an area that is normally very painful for most people I looked up to see how he was handling the pain… he was completely asleep. When he woke up I asked him what he did to reach that place. He told me that he is so busy with his life that he doesn’t have much time to think about his grandfather. He said that he just started thinking about his grandfather and all the wonderful things they did together. He cherished the opportunity to have time to think, and he wanted the tattoo so much that he was able to let go of the pain completely. He said the tattoo did hurt in some spots, but he wanted it so bad he let go of the pain.
There is an amazing thing that I have seen time and time again in tattoos that is scientifically unexplained Its the fact that people who have decided they do not want the tattoo stop taking ink as well. If the client maintains the mindset that they want to be getting tattooed, the ink goes in the skin better… don’t know why that is… it just is.
The preparation before the tattoo is the most important part you can do.
The night before, make sure you take time to meditate and think about your tattoo session. Try to get a good nights sleep and stay hydrated. Partying will not help in any way.
The day of your tattoo make sure to drink water and eat food before coming in. I once heard that fear is just excitement without the breath. When your afraid you have a tendency to hold your breath. If you start getting nervous and afraid… just breath deep, and you fear has no choice but to turn to excitement.
While your getting tattooed the most important part is to breath and maintain the mindset that you want the tattoo. Feel free to just breath and let your mind wander. Try to be at peace and understand that any pain is temporary, but don’t wish the time away or you will contract from time, and Einsteins theory of relativity will kick in. Einstein said when you sit next to a pretty girl for one hour it feels like an minute, as opposed to when you sit on a hot stove for one minute and it feels like an hour.Accepting the pain, breathing, and embracing that you need the pain for what you want will make time flow more smoothly, contracting and telling yourself you don’t want it will make time drag on. Tattoos are earned, and this is part of what makes them so amazing… Another unexplained fact about tattooing is that the people who seem to want their tattoos the most, end up getting the best tattoos. So just breath, and think about how much you want it, and accept the pain and right when it is supposed to be it its over, and you’ve earned something amazing!