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The History of Piercing

By Adam Lopez




Body piercing, which is a form of body modification, is the practice of puncturing or cutting a part of the human body, creating an opening in which jewelry may be worn, or where an implant could be inserted.


The word "piercing "can refer to the act or practice of body piercing, or to an opening in the body created by this act or practice. It can also, by metonymy, refer to the resulting decoration, or to the decorative jewelry used. Piercing implants alter body and/or skin profile and appearance (e.g. golden threads installed subdermal, platinum, titanium, or medical-grade steel subdermal implants).


Although the history of body piercing is obscured by popular misinformation and by a lack of scholarly reference, ample evidence exists to document that it has been practiced in various forms by multiple sexes since ancient times throughout the world. Body piercing can be performed on people of all ages -- controversial, particularly when applied to youth. The display or placement of piercings have been restricted by schools, employers, and religious groups.


In spite of the controversy, some people have practiced extreme forms of body piercing, with Guinness bestowing World Records on individuals with hundreds and even thousands of permanent and temporary piercings.


Contemporary body piercing practices emphasize the use of safe body piercing materials, frequently utilizing specialized tools developed for the purpose. Body piercing is an invasive procedure with some risks, including allergic reaction, infection, excessive scarring, and unanticipated physical injuries, but such precautions as sanitary piercing procedures and careful aftercare are emphasized to minimize the likelihood of encountering serious problems. The healing time required for a body piercing may vary widely according to placement, from as little as a month for some genital piercings.

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