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jade's Soapbox

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Bruising
Some Tips on Preventing Bruises
And Ways to Help Them Heal

A Saapbox Speech by jade

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Black and Blue Blues

Another question we've been asked from time to time is "How can I keep from bruising my submissive?  Even very light play leaves tell-tale marks,"

Let's face it.  Our lifestyle can lead to activities that leave marks, mainly bruises.  Some people can play pretty rough and seldom leave behind evidence of their activities but there are others who get up in the morning after even a light session of spanking or a delightful encounter with the softest flogger and find their body covered with bruises of various shades.  This can be a very serious situation if you end up in an emergency room for a non-related injury or illness and the attending physician notices these marks.  More than one dominant and submissive have been questioned by the local authorities concerning possible abuse and stammered their way though an embarrassing explanation of the source of the suspect injuries.  You may not be able to stop bruising completely, but you can reduce the risks and speed up the healing process when it does occur.

What is a bruise and what causes it?

A bruise is a hemorrhage under the skin that occurs as a result of trauma to the skin itself or the underlying tissue.  Small capillaries burst and blood seeps beneath the skin or layers of tissue and cause discoloration.  Most bruises are not serious and look much worse than the actual injury but there can be complications from some.  A bruise the is deep, swells or feels hot might be something more than just a minor black and blue spot.  Heavy bruising can leave clots that can cause some very serious health risks.  If there is swelling, fever or pain, you need to consult a physician.  (Notice I said PAIN and not just minor discomfort.)

In our lifestyle there are several things that tend to produce the worst bruising.  Using narrow implements such as canes, crops or thin paddles greatly increase the possibility of marking the submissive noticeably.   The narrower the object, the greater the risk of bruising or breaking the skin.   Using excessive force, repeatedly striking the same area, striking areas that are tightly bound and the area of the body struck are all factors that lead to serious bruises.  There are also health issues and physical conditions that lend to the intensity of the bruising as well.

Some ways to reduce the chances of bruising.

  • Do not strike areas that are bound Bondage reduces the circulation and aids in producing bruises and marks.  The vessels are usually engorged with blood due to the restriction of the flow of blood and are more likely to burst or leak when injured.  The blood released from a broken vessel cannot dissipate and coagulates in one spot making for some very nasty bruises.  This also contributes to the formation of clots that are a serious risk to the injured person.

  • Use leather restraints, such as cuffs, instead of rope.  Using broad, flat retraints as opposed to rope, narrow straps or chains, reduces the restriction of blood flow and thus reduces the chances of bruising.

  • Do not strike the same area of the body repeatedly.  Scatter your strokes over a wider area and avoid overlapping when possible.  Repeated swats on the same area also leads to a condition known as "leather bottom", where the skin becomes tough and wrinkled like old, weathered leather.  This is caused by the breakdown of the soft tissue beneath the skin and scar tissue builds up a thick, unattractive layer of rough fibers that replace the normally smooth connective tissues.

  • Concentrate the swats to well padded areas.  Skin over well muscled, harder areas of the body, such as thighs and upper arms, tend to bruise more readily than areas that are padded by layers of fat, such as the buttocks.  (Just a reminder: Never strike areas that have bone laying close to the surface, such as the spine, joints, shins or forearms.)

    Health factors that can increase bruising.

There are several things that can raise the potential for bruises.  Certain medications cause the body to bruise much easier, among them are blood thinners, medications for hypertension, certain antidepressants or aspirins, to name just a few.  Anyone who is on any kind of medication and notices that they have more than the usual amount of bruising should make it a point to discuss this with their doctor immediately.  BDSM activities are supposed to be enjoyable, not life threatening.

Drinking and smoking also affect how resistant to bruising your body is.  Smokers and drinkers suffer a much greater incidence of bruising than those who do not partake.  The drugs present in cigarettes and alcohol restrict the circulation and weaken the walls of blood vessels.  If you want to really play rough, you just might have to give up a few other vices.

Undiagnosed illnesses can also cause excessive bruising.  It's a wise idea to have a complete physical before engaging in any heavy BDSM activities and a yearly check up should be part of any concerned person's regular routine.

Other ways to reduce bruising.

There are some medical ways to help prevent or reduce bruises.  One way is to be sure that you are eating a well balanced diet.   Lack of certain vitamins limits the body's natural resistance to bruising.   Bioflavonoids and vitamin C are important to maintain the strength and integrity of blood vessel walls. When there is a deficiency, the smallest blood vessels, capillaries, will break easily and small amounts of blood will leak into the surrounding tissues.   Taking a good multi-vitamin supplement will help and make sure it contains the major B vitamins, like B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6; 300 mg of magnesium, and 1-3 grams of C per day.  Some people opt to take up to 500mg of vitamin C to help reduce bruising and possibly help in preventing colds.  Vitamin K is also very beneficial but be sure to check on the correct dosage for you before taking anything.

Helping the healing process.

OK.  You played too rough and now you've got marks that you'd like to get rid of.  There are things that can help a little but remember that bruises are going to take time to fade, no matter what you do.  Here are a few things that might speed your recovery.

  • Use the R.I.C.E. method. Remember the first letters of RICE....rest, ice,
    compression, and elevation.  Rest the area--No more paddlings for awhile.  Use ice on the site for 20 minutes at at time.  Compress the area with cold compresses.   Elevate the site if possible.  (If the site is your backside, this might prove interesting *eg*)

  • Use lotion on the area. Aloe lotion is excellent.  There's also an ointment available in health stores called "Arnica" that I've heard works wonders.  I personally haven't seen it used so I can't say.  There are several different lotions and balms that are recommended in most "scene" stores and health stores.  Do NOT massage the area.  This could trigger another bleed.  Gently smooth the lotion without adding any pressure.

  • Try Vitamin E or Vitamin K oil. There are lotions available with these vitamins added to them or you can buy the capsules and put the contents directly on the injured site without pressing on the bruise or using excessive rubbing.

  • Soak the area. Long soaks in the tub with bath salts, Epsom salts or oils aid in fading bruises and marks.   Vary the water temperature from cool to warm...but never hot.  The heat could allow the capillaries to begin bleeding again.

Summing it up.

The best treatment is prevention.  Not causing excessive bruising is much easier then trying to get rid of it.  Opt to use soft toys made of leather rather than wooden paddles or canes.  Be aware that certain skin types tend to mark easier than others.  Blondes and redheads seem to be more likely to produce bruises than dark-haired, olive-skinned people.  Keeping fit helps.   Get lots of exercise, enough sleep and limit tobacco, alcohol and stimulants.   Drugs are a NO NO in our lifestyle and for anyone with a brain.  Try mixing activities and not relying to heavily on those that involve damaging the skin or underlying tissue.  Use some restraint when the juices are flowing by reminding ourselves that we don't always make the best decisions when we're sensually charged.   The idea is to enjoy the activity not just endure it.  Play safe!

The Castle Realm's
Soapbox Series
Copyright©1998 Castle Realm
All rights are reserved by the author.





Page created on Jan. 7, 1998