More People Undergoing Extreme Body Modifications
CHARLOTTE, NC- Forget tattoos and nose piercings - more people are taking body modifications to the extreme.
"Once you are heavily modified or extremely modified... you find a whole community who are doing the same thing," said Michael Ridenhour, a Plaza Midwood resident.
For Ridenhour, it's scarification. To some, the ancient form of tribal art signifies courage or warding off evil.
"It was kind of like a walking on hot coals moment where once I sat through it, everything else becomes a little bit easier," said Ridenhour.
But pain is inevitable in procedures like corset piercings when metal rings are inserted and joined with ribbon. It's considered decorative and personal.
"It's a spirtual piercing for a woman that needed to let go of some negativity," said Corinna Arlington, owner of SADU Body Piercings & Body Modifications.
For some who get their skin stretched or get other body modifications, it's about standing out and being different. But for others, it's beyond skin deep.
"People hang from hooks, and when you're hanging from that hook, you reach a higher level of consciousness. You almost go into a transcendental state," said Arlington.
Other extreme modifications include saline injections, forked tongues, implanted horns and elf shaped ears.
"You bring in ancient rituals with body modification into modern day American audiences so they can see things that are going on that they would have never been exposed to," said Collette Ellis.
While the underground trends grows, doctors warn the procedures can be dangerous.
"When you do this to your body, it something that potentially becomes irreversible and in a different phase of your life, that may become hurtful or very painful," said Dr. Felmont Eaves, a plastic surgeon at Charlotte Plastic Surgery.
"It's going to continue to grow and it's going to be more accepted. You're going to see more and more people in years to come," said Arlington.
Some of the extreme body modifications are illegal in North Carolina.
People often travel to other states that allow procedures with scalpels or razors to alter deeper layers of the skin.