Rope Tightness and Knot Position

There are certain tests you can do to make sure there are no nerve problems while you are in the middle of a session.

  1. Ask the person being tied to squeeze your finger, wrap your hand around theirs and ask them to open their hand. This allows you to check for strength and movement
  2. As the person being tied, in order to do a self check, feel the back of your thumb with your fingers, and then, using your thumb push up into those fingers. Make sure you can put your finger in the position of a thumbs up.

If there is anything off, move your knot to a more comfortable position. If something is still off, untie your partner completely. If the symptoms continue for more than 2 hours, go to the hospital. Nerve injuries happen instantly, this is why you must communicate immediately if you feel something is off so the person tying can act quickly and reduce potential damage.

Some of the most common injury sites are the following:

  1. Around your wrists, right where your forearm meets your wrists. Make sure that when you are doing handcuffs you tie them above this area and that they are loose enough that when they slide down they slide all the way to the top of the hand. A good way to estimate this tightness is if you can stick a finger under the cuff when tying.
  2. Keep rope pressure off your knees, elbows, and armpits.
  3. Your upper arm, just below the deltoid muscle is also a site of potential injury all the way to the elbow. Be careful when doing box ties.

Loss of circulation can also be a problem during a shibari session. Granted, not as dangerous as nerve problems, but important nonetheless. You can identify loss of circulation by a change in the skin color to blue or purple. Some people’s skin color can change very quickly but they remain comfortable. As the person being tied this is something that you want to tell your partner. Another symptom is that your entire limb begins to tingle or go numb.

In order to relieve these symptoms, the person being tied can flex their muscles, clench and unclench their hands or adjust their position. When untied, these symptoms should disappear immediately. Circulations problems do not mean that there are nerve problems, but they can mask the symptoms of nerve problems. If your hand is numb because of a lack of circulation, there is no way of knowing if there is nerve injury. If you are unsure about the symptoms, its time to be untied.

Remember to take these considerations into account and you are sure to have a safe shibari session.

Have fun tying


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