Frequently Asked Questions

Suspension.org is a website for those interested in the art and technical aspects of body suspension and the responsible disseminationof information pertaining to such. It is not designed to encourage people to attempt any dangerous activities.
The act of suspension is hanging the human body from (or partially from) hooks pierced through the flesh in various places around the body.
There are many different reasons to suspend, from pure adrenaline or endorphin rush, to conquering ones fears, to trying to reach a new level of spiritual consciousness and everything in between. In general, people suspend to attain some sort of “experience”.
Some people are seeking the opportunity to discover a deeper sense of themselves and to challenge pre-determined belief systems which may not be true. Some are seeking a rite of passage or a spiritual encounter to let go of the fear of not being whole or complete inside their body.
Others are looking for control over their body, or seek to prove to themselves that they are more than their bodies, or are not their bodies at all. Others simply seek to explore the unknown.
Old FAQ
This FAQ was originally compiled by and copyright (c) 2002 BMEZINE.COM Inc. For more on suspension and other ritual, visit http://www.bmezine.com/
Please note that this is/was an entirely preliminary version of this FAQ. As of July 2009, a team of people has begun rewritting the FAQ. If you would like to help please drop an email to isa@suspension.org
Version: 0.01
Date: 01-15-2002

INTRODUCTION

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

STYLES OF SUSPENSIONS

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

HOOKS AND THEIR APPLICATION

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

ROPES AND RIGGING

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

PREPARATION AND AFTERCARE: MENTAL, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

RISKS AND SAFETY

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

PULLING

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.

SUPPLIERS

Hooks can be sharpened to a point and forced through the skin, although this is unnecessarily painful and traumatic. The most common and practical means of insertion is to first make the hole with a standard piercing needle and follow that through with the hook.Needle and hook are usually in the same size, but that is entirely optional. If a larger needle is used (for example, a 6ga piercing needle followed by an 8ga hook) there will be additional bleeding. If a smaller needle is used, the hooks may be tighter and be a bit sorer prior to suspension.

It is essential to maintain a proper set up to avoid risks of contamination of the fresh piercings and of the equipment - this should be a top priority. Many suspension crews choose to set up an assembly line where one person pierces and inserts the hooks, and another preps the rigging system so that it's more difficult to contaminate the framework.

This would depend first on the material of the hooks. Most stainless fishhooks are certainly not implant grade stainless, and therefore should be removed after suspending. There are some custom made hooks on the market made from implant grade materials and that are specifically designed for suspension. These hooks could, at least from a materials point of view, be left in for very extended times.Once the hooks are put in and the person is prepped for suspension, they have roughly an hour to chill with the hooks in. However, the longer they wait, the less endorphins will be flowing, and, additionally, drying fluids around the piercings will make them more painful - it is best to suspend as soon as possible after the piercings are done.

Once down after a suspension it is best to remove the hooks and burp out the air as soon as possible.

Flexible materials are not a suitable substitute for hooks or other rigid structures. Materials such as rope will tighten around the piercing, causing the skin to be pulled to one point and rip. More rigid items such as hooks are definitely better choices unless the goal is to tear free (for example in a ball dance or Sundance-type ceremony).In addition, doing this would result in major contamination of the rigging system, on top of the fact that there isn't really any way to sterilize rope. Stick to hooks!

NO! Skin is very resilient, holds a lot of weight and heals very quickly. Muscle on the other hand is a very fragile tissue that tears easily and does not always heal correctly. In addition, if hooks tear out, damage to skin is easy to heal and not particularly dangerous, whereas healing torn muscle is much more significant.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact science to hook placement. It depends a lot on individuals. Generally hooks are placed into regions of the body where the skin is soft and stretches easily. There are some fairly common placement points and normal "sweet" spots on most people. Some of the placements are chest, upper to middle back, hips, calves, knees and forearms. Of these most have sweet spots, although the chest and many points in the legs can still be very uncomfortable.In addition, hook placement should be varied slightly taking into account any suspensions done recently to minimize damage. Other small variations occur due to skin irritations, fresh tattoos, and body piercings.

18ga to 14: Used primarily for ball dancing or similar activity. These are too small for suspension unless a very large number of hooks are used.
12ga to 10ga: Sometimes used for horizontal suspension, but usually too small for vertical suspensions.
9ga: Common size for horizontal suspension, sometimes used for vertical suspensions as well.
8ga: This is the most common size for most suspensions and can be used for almost anything.
6ga and larger: Normally used for two- or one-point suspensions, or in vertical suspensions for larger individuals.

Sometimes, especially for beginners, not all of the points of suspension are held using hooks. For example, in a superman suspension, the legs or head might be supported using a strap of rope rather than with hooks through the skin.

Vertical suspensions are usually done with four to six hooks (with extra hooks for the arms in the case of a crucifix suspension), and horizontal suspensions are generally done with eight to twelve hooks, but are not uncommonly done with as many as 24 hooks.The amount of hooks used per suspension depends on two factors, the experience level of suspendee experience and weight of the suspendee. A good rule of thumb is as follows:

15-20 pounds per hook for beginners (ie. 8 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
20-40 pounds per hook for intermediate (ie. 4 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
40-80 pounds per hook for advanced (ie. 2 hooks for a 140 pound guy)
Experienced individuals only should attempt 80+ pounds per hook

As for determining the amount of hooks for each style of suspension, this depends a lot on physical geometry. The vertical suspension really only has one central weight apex, so the least amount of hooks can be used for these. The horizontal suspensions however have four basic areas of weight: chest, hips, legs and arms. Facing upward (in a coma suspension) each point must be held by hooks or by the some other means (such as strapping). Facing downward, (in a superman suspension) the chest and hips are combined into one variable due to the fact that the hips do not bend forward.

This question is almost impossible to answer as each kind hook has a different load capacity. The most common 10ga through 8ga gauge stainless fishhooks normally hold about 80 pounds static weight with little or no flexing. If the suspendee swings during a suspension the force on the hook can change dramatically (the dynamic load generated will be much more than the static weight of the person and the rig). Hooks are always a crucial variable that must be tested.As for skin, different areas of the body handle weight differently. For example the back can hold over 250 pounds from one point, where knees seem to rip at around 100 pounds. Depth of the piercing can also play a dramatic role in tearing. The hook needs to be placed where the body's weight is evenly distributed over the hook. If the hook is placed too deep, the skin will bunch up causing the entire pressure to be placed on the entrance and exit points, conversely, if the piercing is too shallow, the force is focused on one point.

Making hooks from scratch is a difficult task that requires many of the same skills and tools required making body jewelry. However, the metals used in body jewelry are quite soft and the hooks you make will take less force to straighten than the tempered steel used in mass manufactured hooks. For most, the easiest route is to purchase stainless steel fishhooks and grind off the barbs.

First it should be noted that the "gauge" system for hooks is not the same as for body jewelry. The larger the number, the bigger the hook. To name a few examples commonly used in suspension, a 7/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 10ga jewelry, and a 9/0 salmon hook is roughly the same size as 8ga jewelry.It is important that stainless steel hooks are used -- most fishhooks are made of a high carbon coated steel which will quickly rust when autoclaved. Mustad salmon hooks (available in 10ga through 8ga) as well as Mustad octopus hooks (available in 8ga through 4ga) are some of the more commonly used (and easy to find) hooks.

Finishing is as simple as cutting off the barb, grinding it smooth, and polishing. Power tools will of course make this process go dramatically faster, but there is no reason this couldn't be done entirely with hand tools. 

There are two basic types of hooks, on-locking (standard) and locking. Locking hooks are fairly new and there are several designs out there. The primary purpose for the locking mechanism is to increase the amount of weight a hook can hold (the lock keeps the hook from opening) and to prevent the hooks from coming out (for example, if suspending from great heights).Standard hooks (fishing hooks) are definitely the most commonly used design for suspension. They are cheap, easy to find, and quite durable. These hooks normally come in two forms: open and closed eye (the top opening where the rope is connected). Closed eye hooks are probably the most common in that the rope it less likely to come detached, although open eye are useful in situations where rigging quickly is a concern.