Ink positive: how tattoos can heal the mind as well as adorn the body

Forget the stereotypes – getting inked can be a powerful means of reclaiming your body and processing grief or trauma

If one factor has grow to be apparent in the summertime warmth and the inevitable baring of flesh, it’s the diploma to which physique artwork is now the norm. On the pool, the park, or the pub beer backyard, you’ll discover an unlimited number of designs inked on the pores and skin representing the breadth of human creativity.

About 20% of adults in the UK now have a minimum of one tattoo, and that proportion is more likely to develop. Cynics would possibly argue that the elevated uptake is a superficial fad, primarily based purely on the aesthetic attraction of tattoos. On this view, they may be the results of a momentary impulse to observe a passing pattern adopted by years of remorse, slightly than one thing that holds deep that means.

Prof Viren Swami, a psychologist at Anglia Ruskin College who research physique picture, thinks that these superficial explanations are extremely unlikely. “Given their permanence, and the ache that’s concerned, and the planning that usually goes into getting a tattoo, it’s very troublesome to conceptualise tattooing as a trend accent,” he says.

In his opinion, it’s way more attention-grabbing to look at the ways in which individuals use physique artwork for self-realisation, as creative endeavours which are expressions of id, physique possession, and private development. Many are actually discovering that tattoos are a very apt means of marking a bereavement – a way of holding the beloved one shut after demise.

Like several artwork kind, tattooing ought to be understood in its historic and cultural context. Our ancestors appear to have recognised the pores and skin as a canvas since time immemorial. The oldest definitive proof of physique artwork comes from Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old body of a man who remained frozen in a glacier close to Bolzano, Italy, till it was found by two hikers in 1991. He bore 61 tattoos of geometric designs throughout his left wrist, decrease legs, decrease again, and his torso. Historical physique artwork – courting from a minimum of 3,000 years in the past – has additionally been present in human stays from Egypt, Russia, China and Chile.



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