How to prepare yourself for a long tattoo session

How to prepare yourself for a long tattoo session

After reading this article you will have learned some methods to prepare yourself for a tattoo session. With the information below you will feel the pain of getting tattooed less, the time will go by faster and also the healing process of your tattoo will be improved.

Getting tattooed does hurt! there is no way around that. The real question is: “can you outlast the discomfort of pain.”  In the following section you can learn a few ways to prepare yourself physically and mentally to outlast the discomfort of pain.

Can you make the pain of tattooing go away?

No, you can not make the pain go away. It is there for a reason, our survival of the human race depends on instincts like pain. When we prepare for a long tattoo session we are not focusing on making the pain go away, rather trying to balance our body and mind so it will be easier to have control of our thoughts and emotions while under the needle.

When your body and mind are in their optimal performance, you will be able to “block out” the thoughts of discomfort that come while experiencing pain..
I strongly believe that any person that has no medical or mental conditions can outlast 3 hours of tattooing with relative ease. I do not recommend passing the 6 hour mark in most situations, not only is your body exhausted and a large portion of skin will need to heal (which is rough on your immune system) but your artist is also not at the best performance due to the accumulated time fatigue of the session.

Tips to Reduce the pain of being tattooed:

In most situations, you will not be able to fulfill all the bullets points on the list, with that said, I believe that you can do the first 7 bullet points if you put in the required preparation and effort. I can assure you that you will be able to manage your pain better and for longer durations if you perform the following: 

  1. Drink 1.5L of water per day – Hydration of the body and skin is essential to combat the pain. Start fully hydrating yourself 3 days prior to the session so that your body will have all the essential minerals and amino to effectively treat the trauma inflicted while getting tattooed. 
  2. Take a Hot shower the morning of the session – It has been proven that hot water helps your body’s central nerve system to relax and relieve pain. Starting the day with a hot shower will also open your skin pores and remove dirt and bacteria. Both the nervous system and your skin will benefit from the heat, I strongly recommend doing so
  3. Eating Breakfast and drinking tea on the day of the session – You will need all the energy you can get on the day of the session. Burning calories will help your body create the required energy to tolerate the pain. Drinking Mint tea or any other hot beverage (not coffee) on the morning of the session will also contribute to relaxing your central nervous system.
  4. Sleep a full night’s rest 2 days before the session – Medical studies have shown that our brains have a natural neurological mechanism for relieving pain. This mechanism is directly affected by insufficient sleep. The explanation for this is that the brain assesses pain differently when sleep deprived, therefore the brain actually amplifies the pain sensing regions. You can read more about this on an article from Medical News Today: Why sleep is the best painkiller
  5. Practice Meditation – Meditation can help your brain release endorphins (Which are natural pain relievers). With merely 5 minutes of meditation you can make your Muscles and tissues around your joints to be more relaxed, and your brain will be in a calmer state so you’ll feel less pain. Developing a frequent habit of practicing meditation will help you be in control of your thoughts in stressful moments
  6. Moisturizing the skin 5 days prior to the session – With any natural body lotion (paraben-free). As always I recommend using hustle butter for anything that is tattoo related. Apply a thin layer x2 times in a day to the area. You can start the treatment 5 days before the session for good results. Your skin will be moist and you will not suffer from increased pain due to dry skin. 
  7. Take Multi-Vitamins 1 week prior to the session – If you are not taking daily multi vitamins, I recommend doing so. While statistics are a bit sketchy on the subject I believe that most of us lack a vitamin or mineral inside our system. Taking a vitamin surely wont hurt you and will provide you the required substances to assure a better physical condition and immune system.
  8. Being in good physical condition – A healthy body will most definitely help you when trying to block out discomfort from your thoughts. A healthy body contributes to your capability to tolerate pain, reduces inflammation in the body and assists in the healing process. Frequent exercise and a balanced diet are part of the core elements to maintain good physical condition, a combination of cardio, stretching and strength exercises along with a nutritional low-sugar diet will get you a long way (not only at the session, but also at life in general 😃🥕) 

How to deal with pain while getting tattooed:

In the section above I explained what to do prior to the session, in the following section I will share 2 good tips (out of many) that will help you keep your mind off the feeling of discomfort while being tattooed. 

  1. Controlled Cycled Breathing techniques – Maintaining a constant flow of air is my #1 way to help combat the pain. I have tried many breathing techniques to find the combination that feels the best for me. You can quickly research on YouTube some breathing techniques to reduce pain or anxiety, you can search for Female Birth and Labor breathing techniques or Wim Hof “The Iceman” breathing techniques and so on… Practice a few of these methods at home so when you are under the needle, you can utilize your practice. 
  2. Bring your music and headphones – I have noticed from personal experience that it is easier for me to fall into a day dream with music when I am familiar with the melody, lyrics and beat. Bring your own music source and headphones, it will help you relax and slip into a “bubble” state of mind.

Your preparation for the long tattoo session is what counts!

I truly doubt that not more than a small fraction of humanity, “enjoys” the pain of getting tattooed. For me personally it is the worst physical pain I have ever endured, especially after 5 hours, every wipe with that paper towel feels like molten lava cat claws scraping against your skin. I don’t think the majority of people really enjoy the pain, but rather learn how to endure it and deal with the discomfort that comes with it. I hope my tips above will help you out on your next tattoo session, Here are some last pointers that I wanted to mention, if you have any questions or if these tips actually helped you please leave me some feedback on the comment section below. ✌️

  • The more breaks the harder it will be. I recommend taking a 5-15 minute break every 90-120 minutes.
  • Hydration is a key factor not only for easing your pain but also for the healing results.
  • Bring some snacks and a sugary drink with you to the session.
  • Please ask your tattoo artist before applying independently numbing creams to your skin. Personally, I do not mind if a customer uses numbing cream. With that said in some situations it is not possible due to the stencil location and other requirements of the project. Consult with your artist before using cream, better safe the sorry! 
  • Come with a positive approach to the session, Smile as much as you can!
    If you find yourself in the moment of truth, still struggling with the feeling of discomfort – remember, all you need to do is…. Breath in….. Breath out…. Breath in…. Breath out…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *