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Related Terms

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  • Piercing is the process of inserting a needle into some part of the body's skin or cartilage in order to create a hole for the insertion of jewelry. The word piercing also applies to the jewelry that is put into these openings in the skin.
  • The origin of piercing is not known. However, the practice has been documented in many cultures at different periods of time and has been practiced prehistorically as well.
  • The most popular form of piercing in the United States is ear piercing. However, other parts of the body may be pierced as well, including the lips, eyebrows, tongue, breasts, and genital areas. Some individuals also pierce the skin surrounding the belly button. Piercing is available at many shopping malls and businesses specializing in the practice. Some doctor's offices may also offer piercing services.
  • Piercing is generally regarded as safe in body areas with few nerve endings, assuming that proper standards of cleanliness, such as using sterile and single use needles, are maintained. The risk of nerve damage, undesired tissue damage, and infection is greater in certain areas of the body including the tongue, breasts, and genital areas.
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Author Information

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Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.