Once I decided to have the experience of walking on hot embers. In France, where I live, such events are impossible, because insurance companies refuse to insure it, and the organizers will never take such a risk to pay compensation to the burned participants. So I searched on the Internet in Russian-speaking countries, where the organizers and participants are accustomed to risk, and of course I found one. Without hesitation, I signed up for a "training", which was to be held the next day in the Ukraine, peaceful during that time . I bought tickets and decided , just in case, to try to prepare myself for the experience, even though I only had a little time. I created and recorded a hypnosis session on my dictaphone to avoid burning and to anesthetize my feet while walking on embers.
I would like to note that I read how they prepare to walk on hot embers in wild tribes and what explains the absence of a burn. Volunteers are put into a trance state, which is a prerequisite. Later other techniques in addition to inducing trance were created. They include suggestions of anesthesia of the feet and transforming negative connotations associated with fire into positive ones. The fact is that a burn typically occurs due to high temperatures (hot embers' temperature varies from 650º to 1200º C). Besides this the fear of being burned causes a reaction of perspiration and tension of the feet and of the whole body. In its turn, this increases the thermal conductivity of the skin, which reduces natural self-cooling mechanism and increases the likelihood of burns. Walking on hot embers by untrained people causes a third degree burns and charring of the feet. Trance state, on the contrary, is able to anesthetize any part of the body, as well as to block the fear response, allowing your feet stay dry and relaxed, letting them naturally self-cool. Sending of the information about the temperature of embers to the nerve endings stops or does not reach the brain, or this information about the temperature is analyzed, as being cold. The thermal conductivity of the skin is reduced (in the experiments the skin surface temperature was about 80 ° C). Respectively, the skin does not respond to the heat of fire, but to a cool surface, such as grass or the ground, depending on suggested associations. Of course, an induction of trance state with appropriate suggestions should be done by the organizer of this walk on embers, who should have the necessary skills.
Coming back to my experience, the next day I got on the plane and during my flight listened to my session of self-hypnosis. As they say, "from the ship to the ball", directly from the airport, I went to the center, which organizes the event, and with the other three participants and the shaman-organizer we went directly to the forest. I hadn't previously known the the fact that the event would be a shamanic version."Why not. It may even be exotic" - I said to myself. We were sent to collect branches for a fire. And when everything was ready, our Ukrainian shaman dressed in shamanic clothes told us that we needed to perform some rituals and lit the fire. We were following him and all his instructions, trying to imitate all his movements and the sounds he made, dancing like him around the fire. I must say that the exotic sounds that escaped from his larynx were really very impressive and impossible to repeat, no matter how we tried. Nevertheless, I felt uncomfortable, somehow I did not fit into this strange shamanistic dance without a clear rhythm around the fire. Everything that was happening to me seemed alien and absurd, even comical. And the most important was the fact that my state was far from trance, ( I can say it because I have by the nature of my work lots of experience with trance states). Despite his impressive voice, our Ukrainian shaman had no idea how to induce the trance. When he accidentally succeeded, he immediately interrupted the process by some theoretic explanation which immediately leaded me out of the trance. The introduction of a trance has nothing to do with sorcery or magic, or with the charisma of the shaman, but is subject to certain rules that must be respected. Of course, each person has his or her own innate degree of ease of entering a trance. A person is able to enter spontaneously into trance state (as it was the case of one member). This can happen if the person is predisposed to it due to a special functioning of his or her brain, or has a strong suggestibility or many years of experience of meditation. In other cases, the person should be guided into trance state, observing all the rules that our shaman probably did not know. However, as time went on, I started to think more about how to walk on these embers without being in a trance. Listening to my self-hypnosis in the middle of the shamanic singing and dancing was somehow uncomfortable. I had some hope that the session I listened to in the airplane would however give me the results I expected. Finally, our walking around the fire was over, and our organizer walked first on the embers (as to him, he had been in a trance for a long time), inviting us to follow him. No suggestions of anesthesia were said at all. I let other participants go first, they walked silent on the embers. "Well, if they were able to do it, I will be able too," I told myself. I had no choice, I paid too much for the flight to go back on my decision. I went, repeating in my mind self-suggestions and imagining that I was walking on the cold ground with red lights. Not to say that I felt absolutely nothing, but it was pretty bearable with the impression of something stinging. Further, we were invited to go a second time, then a third .. During the fourth, I asked myself whether or not I was burned, as this stinging intrigued me, taking ino account that the next day I had to return to France and continue to work, so keeping my feet in good health was important. But then our shaman, invited us to go for the fifth time thinking that by walking on embers we go towards a new life, leaving the past behind. Although I already decided to stop, for the sake of a new life, I chose to go for the last time. And I walked. Immediately after I made the self-suggestion of the cold and anesthesia. We sat around the fire drinking tea which was heated on the same embers, and discussing our impressions. I asked others if I was the only one who felt something . They told me that they felt much more than they showed, and their feet seemed to be burned. As for me, I had a burning sensation only in three points on my right foot. Our shaman said that if there were blisters (which indicated a real burn), this was normal ... In the darkness we could not see clearly what had happened to our feet. When I returned to the hotel late at night and washed my feet black with coal, it turned out that they were safe and sound, and only my right foot was showing three small red spots. No blisters. But a lot of burst capillaries. My self-hypnosis and self-suggestions worked. The next day, I quietly returned to France, unfortunately without any euphoria after this experience, perhaps because I knew how it worked.