Imagine sticking a needle repeatedly into your skin, powered by a machine that resembles a dental drill.
This machine moves the needle up and down, puncturing the skin many times.
Sounds painful. But this, essentially, is what getting a tattoo is like.
If you're thinking of getting a tattoo but you're not too keen on the pain, Newcastle tattoo artist Chel King may be able to help.
Chel combines tattooing with reiki.
"Reiki is an energy healing technique that originated in Japan in the early 1900s. It works on our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional bodies using either the hands on or hands off method," she said.
Western medicine, of course, gives short shrift to alternative health techniques like reiki. So what does the research say about reiki? Well, a University of Toronto study conducted a systematic review of the therapeutic effects of reiki.
It found the evidence of reiki's effectiveness was "scarce and conflicting", adding that high-quality randomised controlled trials were needed to examine its effectiveness compared to placebo.
A University of Texas study found reiki produced "biochemical and physiological changes" in people, helping them relax.
And a study at the Cross Cancer Institute in Canada found reiki may help cancer patients with pain control.
Chel says her clients often opt for a reiki session before getting a tattoo.
"Reiki can be incredibly healing for everybody, as it helps with easing muscle tension, headaches, stress, anxiety, allowing a safe release for pent-up emotions and a deeper connection to self," she said.
"There is a magnetism and warmth that you feel when you channel reiki, a peaceful and beautiful phenomenon. By giving reiki healing during the tattooing process, clients can experience less physical pain, a sense of calm and relaxation, quick recovery time and vibrant healed tattoos."
For Chel, tattooing was a "natural progression from painting and drawing".
"There is something beautiful about using our body as a canvas for the stories that have touched us. For most of my clients, it's a spiritual, emotional or memorial story that they want to capture on their skin," she said.
"Being able to bring ritual and a sacredness back to body art feels like where I'm meant to be. These important moments in our lives are more than just an image, they're part of us."
Some people believe in the no pain, no gain mantra. Others might go by the idea that pleasure means reducing pain and pain means reducing pleasure.
Ken Scott attended a graduation ceremony at University of Newcastle this week.
He was amused to see the way modern technology competes with "old tried and true methods". "An attendant trying to keep a door open at the great hall finally had to resort to using a rock." Ken dubbed this the "Fred Flintstone method".
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