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Fire Massage application techniques, by Echo's Fire

As with everything on our website and in our classes, unless specified otherwise, all information is intended to be used with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol only. Any change in concentration or fuel will directly and potentially indirectly affect the flame and how it reacts.

What this blog does not cover:

  • Proper form in general nor proper form associated with each technique.
  • Combining application techniques.
  • How to perform each technique.
  • Burn stages in relation to each technique.
  • Extinguishment theory in relation to each technique.
  • How application techniques are affected by bodyscapes.
  • What this blog does cover:

  • The basic overall concepts of the Fire Massage/Play techniques.
  • Recommended torches to use with each technique based on safety, efficacy, and ease of use.
  • Enjoy!

    Contact Techniques

    There are six contact techniques. Contact techniques are defined as any application of fire to the skin which requires contact to be made between a torch head and the skin.

    Palming

    The palming technique is the process of sliding a lit torch across the surface of your extinguishing hand. This results in leaving a thin layer of ignited alcohol on the palm, which is then applied to the body, thus extinguishing the flame.

    Recommended Torch: Standard torch with a large torch head or an RTH handle with a large torch head.

    Sliding

    The sliding technique is the process of maintaining contact between a lit torch head and the skin, with a continuous motion in a linear or nonlinear direction.

    Recommended Torch: A Standard torch with a medium torch head or an RTH handle with a medium torch head.

    Pressing

    The pressing technique is the process of applying a lit torch to the skin while administering pressure into the body’s tissue.

    Recommended Torch: A Mini torch or RTH handle with a small torch head.

    Layering

    The layering technique is the process of applying an unlit torch to the skin with the intent of leaving behind a layer of unlit alcohol. The alcohol is then ignited by utilizing a lit fire torch.

    Recommended Torch: A Doppleganger torch, an RTH Handle (Double Thread) with a lit medium torch at the top and an unlit xlarge torch at the bottom, or a V-style torch with a lit medium and unlit xlarge torch head.

    Bouncing

    The bouncing technique is the process of lightly tapping the skin repeatedly, with a continuous motion in a linear or nonlinear direction with a lit fire torch.

    Recommended Torch: A Standard torch with a medium torch head or an RTH handle with a medium torch head.

    Striking

    The striking technique is the process of intensely hitting the skin in one-off strokes with a lit fire torch.

    Recommended Torch: A Horseshoe torch or an RTH handle with a horseshoe torch head.

    Non-Contact Techniques

    There are three non-contact techniques. Non-contact techniques are defined as any application of fire to the skin which does not require contact to be made between a torch head and the skin.

    Hovering

    The hovering technique is the process of holding a lit torch just above the skin’s surface, while maintaining a continuous motion in a linear or nonlinear direction. This radiates heat to the body and can be applied either vertically on the sides or horizontally above.

    Recommended Torch: A Standard torch with an xlarge torch head or and RTH handle with an xlarge torch head.

    Blowing

    The blowing technique is the process of using ones breath to blow heat to the body by forcing the flame downwards toward the skin, either vertically on the sides or horizontally above.

    Recommended Torch: A Standard torch with an xlarge torch head or an RTH handle with an xlarge torch head.

    Wavering

    The wavering technique is the process of radiating heat to the body by allowing the flame to break away from its source (a lit torch head) and rise to meet the skin above it.

    Recommended Torch: A Standard torch with an xlarge torch head or an RTH handle with an xlarge torch head.

    Designing a Fire Torch: The Process

    When we decide to create a new torch design, our first thought is why? Is there a reason this new torch is needed? Is the current process for an application technique too dangerous? Could it be safer? Should it be safer? How safe should something be before it loses practicality? Lets take a look at some of our older designs…

    The Doppelganger: This torch design came about simply because we felt wielding 2 torches in one hand was cumbersome. Although wielding 2 torches is not inherently dangerous when used by a skilled practitioner, for an inexperienced practitioner it could present some serious issues, such as the dropping of a lit torch.

    Lets backtrack- the Doppelganger is used primarily for the layering application: (the process of applying unlit alcohol to the skin and subsequently igniting it). Even if the fire practitioner held one torch in each hand (one torch lit in one and one unlit torch in the other, which hand would extinguish the fire on the bottom?) For an experienced practitioner, they could simply use the wrist/arm of the hand, holding the unlit torch – but for an inexperienced practitioner, this may be outside their skillset).

    So we though having a double-ended fire torch would solve this problem. One end lit, one end unlit, which would in turn leave an entirely free hand to act as the extinguishing hand. And so we got to work. Long story short- the Doppelganger was born.

    The Horseshoe Torch: The horseshoe torch came about after trying to solve an age-old problem- how do we do impact with fire safely? Everybody has seen it, a huge fire torch wrapped endlessly with cotton; so much so that it’s fluffier than it is dense And holds enough alcohol that it sprays everywhere upon impact. This means some potentially hazardous scenarios. We wanted to offer a product that hurt (in the good way) while avoiding the issue of excess fuel. The result: the horseshoe torch.

    We took to the theory of caning: the slimmer an object, the more concentrated the impact. The larger the object, the more spread out the impact. So we created a thin, U shaped torch, which allows for more oxygen to feed the flame, resulting in more heat output and the ability to apply serious impact for fire play without the unnecessary expulsion of fuel.

    We can go on forever for all of the products we designed. So why stop here? Because like we said, we can go on forever. And nobody has forever to spare.

    We are constantly designing new torches and new products that are changing the way we all view fire play & fire massage. Some are still top secret, but we are working hard during the design, prototype, and testing phases to get these cool new items to you a.s.a.p. Just take a look at our newest products we are unveiling this month at EchosFire.com

    The V Style Torch: This torch is a modified Doppelganger design, created specifically for the layering application as well. It can also be harnessed for a more effective palming application, as well as a variety of other techniques.

    (Each torch head size can be chosen upon purchase. We recommend an x-large torch and medium torch. Reason being: The X-large torch should act as the unlit torch providing a plentiful amount of fuel for use during the layering application; the other torch a medium because all you need is a small flame to ignite a trail of alcohol. And the medium torch is a standard among most fire practitioners.)

    The Dual Torch: This design hits on the same points we mentioned earlier. Which hand/arm will put out the trail of alcohol left behind after using a lit torch in each hand? This torch was designed for that specific purpose. The long unlit torch that is prepped by dousing it in water and ringing it out will actually put out the trail the medium size lit torch leaves in its wake. By using two of these torches at once, you can be more effective in your technique. This is an advanced torch, and should only be used by a skilled practitioner. If the elongated wick does not fully surpass the trail of alcohol on both sides as well as maintain direct contact on the skin, the flame may be able to travel past any opening, thus igniting the entire trail. Always be prepared for emergencies.

    There are an infinite amount of possibilities when it comes to the fire play & fire massage. We are always looking to designs a new torch with safety, efficiency, and practicality in mind. Stay tuned to see our latest products coming out in the near future.

    Replaceable Torch Head

    The Birth of the Fire Cane

    Many kinksters has been asking…. How do I use a Fire Cane? Why 90% isopropyl alcohol only?

    When designing the Fire Cane, many factors played a key role in the final design. We knew it was vital that the Fire Cane was practical, durable, and most all, safe! So let’s break down the Fire Cane.

    The design:

    The Fire Cane comes in all of our wood handle types. (with a new wood this month! Limited Edition: Birdseye Maple). We chose to stick with a stainless steel stem, as all our other torches feature. The torch head is made of a cotton base with a kevlar overlay. The kevlar overlay extends the torches lifespan much longer than its cotton counterpart. Keeping a cotton base, allows us to offer the Fire Cane at an affordable price. In addition, the kevlar overlay protects the cotton base from any damage the 90% alcohol would cause due to the increased temperature. The overall length is 28.5”. If you would like a custom length, contact us for details!

    Why 90% isopropyl alcohol?

    During testing, we noticed that 70% was making the Fire Cane impractical. The Burn time of the flame was extremely minimal and would go out much too quickly. So we decided to use 90%, which in turn inspired the kevlar overlay to maintain a durable and safe Fire Cane.

    How do I use it?

    The Fire Cane is designed to be used in the same manner a typical cane would be used, with minor adjustments (to accommodate the build up heat on the skin). The Fire Cane just adds a touch of fire. The Fire cane can be used on a bottom in a vertical or horizontal stance in the same way typical caning is achieved. The Fire cane is designed for use on St Andrews crosses, spanking benches, etc. It is NOT designed to be used on a massage table for typical Fire Play or Fire Massage. If you have no experience with Fire Play, seek out a skilled practitioner in your area for proper training. Or book a private lesson with Echo.

    The Pyrolosis of Hair Mousse: How safe is it?

    Hair Mousse can make a fun addition to any fire practitioners arsenal of devious devices. One can draw neat patterns on the skin and watch as the fire traces the outline. But burning any fuel has its dangers. Have you ever wondered what happens during the pyrolosis of Hair Mousse?

    "Thermal degradation may produce oxides of carbon and nitrogen, various hydrocarbons and derivatives.” (Source: Southlandmed.com).

    Let’s take a look at the oxides of carbon. Although, there are numerous oxides of carbon, many are rarely encountered and through limited research, it appears unlikely that we will encounter the more uncommon oxides of carbon through the pyrolosis of Isopriophyl alcohol. The most common; carbon Dioxide and carbon monoxide are of primary concern.

    Carbon dioxide:

    Depending on the volume percent of carbon dioxide in air, toxicity can range from drowsiness to unconsciousness. *Adequate ventilation is a vital aspect of safety when burning any fuel* Most effects of Carbon dioxide are not serious or life threatening, however, caution should always be taken, with the appropriate safety measures in effect. (such as proper ventilation.)

    Carbon Monoxide:

    Carbon monoxide is extremely life threatening. Inhalation of carbon monoxide can cause damage to the Central Nervous System and heart, to name a few. Typical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are: headache, fatigue, vomiting, dizziness, and nausea. Utilizing proper form and technique, along with following proper safety guidelines (for example: adequate ventilation) will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Avoidable dangers and burning potentially dangerous chemicals are two different things. Isoprophyl alcohol is the safest fuel to date, insofar as my research has shown. The dangers associated with the pyrolosis of isopropyl alcohol are avoidable and can very easily be avoided with proper training. Hair mousse may be a different story…

    In the pyrolosis of Hair mousse, oxides of carbon are released. We have discussed the dangers of said oxides. But what else is released? According to various MSDS; oxides of nitrogen, various hydrocarbons and derivatives.

    Lets take a look at the oxides of Nitrogen:

    "Nitrogen oxides (NOx) consist of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) and are formed when nitrogen (N2) combines with oxygen (O2).” (Source-www.dwb.unl.edu). ***It should be noted that the nitrogen combines with oxygen through the pyrolosis of hair mousse.***

    Some oxides of nitrogen by themselves pose no danger to humans (such as Nitric Oxide). Nitric Oxide (NOx) is non-toxic. Though when exposed to air is converted into Nitrogen Dioxide. (NO2) Other forms such as Nitrogen Dioxide are toxic.

    Although no fuels are 100% safe and they all have their dangers, some are more dangerous than others. It is important to play RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). We should all be aware of these dangers.

    Alcohol only releases oxides of carbon which are dangerous but can be avoided, whereas hair burning hair mousse is a more complex process. It releases oxides of nitrogen, some of which are safe by themselves but when they bond with oxygen molecules, they can become toxic.

    It is important to consider all of the ingredients in anything you are burning as harmful chemicals and preservatives are used in many products. There is no need for a manufacturer to warn you of the risks of inhaling smoke and fumes for a product that was not designed to be set on fire. Always read and research the ingredients and put safety and health first. Always work in a well ventilated area and during your pre-play safety discussion (you of course do this, too, right?) inform all those who are present that they need to tell you if they experience any symptoms such as headaches, dizziness or nausea. If this happens, it's time to get some fresh air.

    And remember, we are here to help! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Echo via phone or e-mail, and if he doesn't know, he will find out for you.

    Understanding your fire torches

    Your fire torch is like any other tool in your arsenal of devious devices. But most importantly, it takes time to learn to wield each new toy properly. Most of us are attuned to our personal floggers, canes, paddles, etc. When it comes to our friends toys, we can use them but they never feel the same. The same can be said for a fire torch. One trick to an efficient and consistent technique is continuity amount your torches.

    Let's dismantle what a torch is.....

    A quality fire torch will have 3 sections. A handle, a stem, and a head. Each of the three parts should be proportionate to each other.

    The Handle:

    The handle can be made from almost any material, however, it is key that the handle be thicker than the stem, while maintaining a light weight to ensure the fire torch is not handle heavy.

    The Stem:

    The stem must be chosen carefully to ensure your fire torch doesn't react violently with your fuel or hold excessive heat. Although all metal will hold heat to a degree, not all metals are made equally. The thickness of the metal plays a key role is the weight distribution of the torch. Some clients desire custom made torches with a thicker or thinner stem, all of which we offer here at EchosFire.com.

    The Head:

    The torch head can be made from a variety of materials such as cotton, Nomex, or Kevlar. Cotton is recommended for fire play torches due to a variety of factors mentioned in a previous blog.

    The head can take many shapes; all of which play a key role in alcohol retention, burn time, and flame temperature. For instance, the Horse Shoe torch's shape allows more oxygen to feed the fire which yields a hotter flame.

    When purchasing your first fire torch or a new on to add to your arsenal, be sure it exceeds in quality, durability, and efficiency. EchosFire.com offers free consultations to discuss your fire play needs. We are here to answer any questions you may have or direct you to those who can if we can't help.

    Extending the Life of Your Torches

    When it comes to safety, no one wants to cut corners. So naturally when investing in a torch or other kink related items, we look for quality. We all want to take every precaution to care for our investments. There must be some steps we can take to get the most out of our torches. Right? Of course there are. Here is the down low on caring for your torches.

    But first, lets back up. Most torches are wrapped in cotton, which is ideal because it's a natural, readily available material. It's absorbent, soft, but still durable. But 70% isopropyl alcohol is a powerful solvent, so naturally the fibers will slowly degrade. If you keep this is mind, logically, minimizing the amount of exposure to the alcohol will go a long way.

    Firstly, always protect your skin by wearing gloves whenever you handle 70% isopropyl alcohol. It can be hard on your skin, as well as natural fibres. When you are finished using the torch, even if for a relatively short time, put on your gloves and wring out as much of the alcohol as you can.

    When you aren't at home, you'll need to store your torches temporarily in your kit until you can properly care for them. Bring a cotton towel to wrap them in the meantime. You can also use paper towel in a pinch.

    At your earliest opportunity, thoroughly rinse yor torches in running water. Squeeze the water out and repeat this process several times to get as much of the alcohol out of the torch head as possible. Remember, the less exposure to alcohol, the longer your torches will last. So if you have a chance to rinse them before transporting, this is better. Do not rinse them until you are finished using them, though. A wet torch will not absorb fuel.

    After washing and removing as much water as you can, leave them out to dry. Usually overnight is sufficient, but in a humid climate it can take 24 hours to completely dry.

    Put them back in your kit or protective casing to keep them clean and dry, ready for your next play partner... or victim.

    Setting Up Your Kink

    Getting Started: How to choose your tools and what to expect

    Echos Fire, fire play match burning, newbie intro, Photo by: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nkzs

    Investing in a new kink can be a daunting task for anyone. You may not know which selection to choose from, whether or not to make a toy on your own, or which supplier to speak with. Anyone can make a flogger out of shoe string and tape but the quality and practicality won't be comparable to your local flogger designer. With a fire torch, there's no difference. You want something quality made, that will hold up over time, that is affordable and most importantly, safe.

    A torch should feel as if it was made for you; like your own personal Excalibur. It should be well balanced with the majority of the weight at the head to allow for fluid use of the torch. The stem should be constructed of quality stainless steel to ensure the torch shouldn't bend on you during use. The head can be made out of several fabrics, the most common & practical being cotton. However, not all cotton fabrics are the same. Aspects such as the weave count or thickness can significantly affect the quality of the head. A softer cotton will allow for a higher absorption of alcohol, while allowing for ease of wringing out water so that each subsequent burn time will be optimized. Other perks of using cotton, is the affordability. Considering everything gets dirty over time, you'll want to re-wrap every so often, especially if you have many play partners. It's nice to be able to re-wrap for the cost of a trip to Starbucks (or two) if you deem it necessary.

    But even if everyone is squeaky clean, you'll want your torch head re-wrapped due to other factors, such as "degradation of the cotton from the alcohol". So how often is that?

    Each time we pull out our torches for the night, we are diminishing their lifespan. Each time we soak out torches in alcohol, which is a powerful solvent - it begins to break down the cotton. Even if we only dip once, the soaking and drying of our torches will shorten their lifespan, much like washing your hands dries out your skin. So every dip and every light of the torch during every session shortens the torches lifespan further (due to the torch head being exposed to more alcohol and the heat from the fire itself).

    So over time, the torch head will lose its aesthetic value as it picks up dirt off the skin. A good way to reduce this buildup of dirt is to simply have your play partner shower before each session. When you notice your burn times shortening and a grittiness to the cotton or a looseness to the wrap, it's time to have your fire torch re-wrapped.

    Okay, next! So you've read our blog about safety, talked to Echo about shipping to your area, convinced one of your friends to let you wave fire around near them. Now for the serious decision "Which torch do I start with?!"

    Well, there are four basic torches offered. Let's start with the most simplistic and work our way up.

    The Mini-Torch.

    This torch has a number of purposes, but let's start with the most simple. A mini is $15. It's handmade by Echo himself. The stem of the torch is made from high quality stainless steel and will not bend or break during use. The cotton is hand wrapped, secured and sewn tightly so that torch head is not going anywhere. This goes for ALL of the torches you see on the website. We are playing with fire. Literally. Quality is not something we are willing to graze over.

    That aside, if you are reading this, a Mini might be a good choice for you because not only is it small and therefore easy to handle, but the small torch head means a smaller flame and a shorter burn time. This is ideal if you are not quite confident. But if you are the type who likes to throw caution to the wind and jump in - starting here is a good idea as well.

    The small size of the Mini also makes it ideal for fire cupping. When fire cupping, your attention is divided among not only the flame and the status of your sub, but you also need to focus on the cups themselves. It's not difficult, as long as everything goes smoothly. When one of the cards begins to topple, we suggest having as few things on fire as possible. Why have a larger flame than necessary? Stay in control.

    The Standard Torch.

    What more can we say? This torch is, well, standard. Let's call it 'traditional'. If you are familiar with fireplay and looking to invest then this is a solid option. If you are the kind of person who appreciates a good, heavy pen, then you might appreciate a full sized torch. The larger, heavier torch makes it quite clear that it has been balanced carefully and belongs in your hands. If you are pretty sure you are going to be using it more than once or twice, this is a good starting point, too.

    The Doppleganger.

    If you are a total fireplay alien then you might look at this torch and think, "Woah. I hope I can one day achieve the skill level to wield this thing!". Well, good news. This torch is not just for advanced fireplayers. Two torch heads should mean it's meant to be lit on both ends, right? Look more closely, notice that the handle is off center. The Doppelganger has one end for laying down fuel and the other end is meant to be lit. Believe it or not, this is actually safer than wielding two torches at once for the layering application. If you need instruction, check out our events page to see if there are any classes or seminars near you. Otherwise, hang tight. We plan to make some videos and set up webinars so that you wont be excluded if you can't make it out.

    And last but not least...

    The Dual Torch- For experienced players looking for a hotter, longer, bigger flame.

    This torch is intended for slightly more advanced users. When fire just isn't enough on it's own... Add impact! The horseshoe shaped torch holds a lot of fluid, meaning it burns for a long time. The shape of it makes it burn hotter than other torches and lastly, it's designed for impact.

    How We Burn: 3 Major Misconceptions about Fire Play Safety

    Echo's Fire Blog first entry, image of Echo from Echos fire holding out a lit torch

    Over the years, I've heard numerous myths told regarding Fire Manipulation. Whether it's a flat out lie or misinformation, the result is the same; people don't know the truth. Well, it's time to set the record straight. Since there are numerous myths out there, I've decided to chose my three favorite.

    "Avoid All Plastics"

    Why is it we avoid mixing plastics with Fire Play? I remember being informed in more or less words, "plastics melt and they'll burn you.". While it is accurate that plastics do melt, we can say the same for any metals. Yet, we use metal in our Fire Torches. It can't be safe if it melts... Can it? The reality here is that when using 70% Isoprophyl Alcohol for Fire Manipulation, were never going to reach temperatures high enough to melt stainless steel, the same can be said more a majority of plastics. This is not the opportunity to rush out and pick up plastic based clothing or toys for Fire Manipulation! What I am saying is that not all plastic react the same when coming into contact with heat or fire. Numerous factors play into how a plastic based object reacts to heat or fire. Some of which being its dimensions, molecular structure, amount of heat or fire involved, and so forth. Since there are almost an infinite amount of pallastics in exsistence, my research into fire and its reaction to plastics is limited. In order to progress further in my Fire Manipulation skills, i am beginning this research. Until then, we stick to the motto... "Avoid all plastics, not because they will melt & burn you. But because they may potentially melt & burn you if the right conditions are met."

    "Body hair & Fire don't mix" or "I have hair... I can never bottom to fire."

    I've done Fire Massage on bears. *waves hand across chest* they're still bears when they're done. How? Because using the correct Fire Massage techniques Allows the hair to singe at the tips rather than completely burn off. There will always be minor hair loss, however when done correctly, it can easily be minimized. Any technique that allows the hair to be soaked with alcohol prior to the flame being administered should work efficiently. Hair is thickest at its base and thinnest at its tip. Since less water can be absorbed at the tip of follicle verses the base, the tip is the first to be stripped of its saturation, therefore allowing the fire to singe the tip of the follicle resulting in minor hair loss. Since the majority of the hair follicle is safely attached to your body, it provides the appearance that no hair was ever even lost. The tip of the follicle will be rough and there may be an unpleasant smell but still have your hair. Unrelated note: there are people out there who cut hair utilizing fire. Its argued to be healthier for you hair since each individual hair follicle fuzes together any split ends.

    "Never play on carpet!"

    Why not? Aren't all carpets today made in the U.S. manufactured with fire retardant fibers? Lets take a look at what dangers were dealing with in relation to accidental fires resulting from our play. The main danger is our fuel bowl. If the fuel bowl gets knocked over, its just fuel. Clean it up. If you accidentally light the fuel in your fuel bowl on fire. Put it out. IT IS THE COMBINATION OF SPILLING YOUR FUEL BOWL AND THE FUEL IGNITING THAT IS GOING TO CAUSE A FIRE!

    Next, lets examine our floor... If you're playing on a solid surface such as concrete, hardwood, laminate, etc. the fuel will have nothing to contain it and the fire will spread as far as your fuel travels. If you're giving a fire massage in your living room, are you confident enough that you will be able to move your furniture in time? Or put the fire out before your cough goes up in flames?

    Next, lets take a look at carpet. If you're playing on a carpeted surface, the fuel is going to stay exactly where it falls. Depending on you're style carpet and the fibers of which it is made from, the amount of time you have to put the fire out before it damages your carpet will vary. Going back to what we know about carpets made in the U.S., can we not speculate that it is much safer to administer a fire massage in relation to the spreading of a potential fire than that of a hardwood floor?

    Conclusion... Know your floor space. Research what type of carpet you have. Know your surroundings and how they are affected by fire.