Needle Physics Illustrated

In my teaching experience, one of the hardest concepts to explain is "needle drift".  Needle physics can be a difficult concept for piercers to fully wrap their heads around.  I attempted to address this in a previous blog entry, but I believe the following animations are more likely to be helpful to a piercer than my initial entry on the subject was.

My brother was kind enough to make animated .GIF files for me.  These .GIFs demonstrate, simply, the way needles drift through surfaces.

This demonstrates needle drift.  This is the direction a needle faced "straight" at a surface would naturally go if there wasn't a piercer forcing it to go directly forward.   "I can push a needle straight!  That never happens to me!" you may say.  That is absolutely true. What happens when a piercer forces the needle forward is the bevel of the needle damages the tissue, sometimes visibly leaving a "flap" behind.  This means a more challenging healing process, and a more uncomfortable procedure.

This is a needle that is actually being pushed straight, along the cutting surface of the needle.  (excuse the seemingly upward motion, it is unintentional)  By using the cutting surface of the needle appropriately, the piercer minimizes the amount of damage done by the needle, and allows the cutting surface to do its job.

My suggestion to piercers who are viewing this and still having trouble with it is to use a large gauge needle on a piece of foam board or a thin piece of flexible silicone.  You will feel the difference, and this will influence your bevel orientation on every piercing.

My hope is that the visual learners in the piercing community are helped by these animations.  My sincere thanks to my brother, Chris Saunders, for producing these for me!
As of 2017 I now pierce full time at Gamma Piercing in Ann Arbor, Michigan! Please visit our website or stop by and say hello!