Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How To Fire Walk Safely

Fire walking is no witchcraft or supernatural ability or deep religious faith or belief system. It is simply a matter of finding the courage to take that first step.

Fire walking paths are made of wood, left to burn into embers. These embers can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The type of wood used is the secret to a safe walk. Incense cedar and white birch are two such woods that produce the best coal beds. Some woods, after burning, produce sharp edges on the coals which may pose as a danger during fire walking. Some exude sap and gums that can stick to the walker's feet.

As we all know, wood is a lousy conductor of heat versus metals. Have you ever heard of people doing fire walking on metal? No. This is because metal is a good conductor of heat. They store a lot more heat than wood and it gets across to your body very quickly thus making it a painful path for the walkers. Wood on the other hand have very low heat capacity. They store very little heat relative to other materials. Coupled with a layer of ash on top of the flaming path, it helps further insulate the heat of the coals.

Keeping a steady brisk pace also keeps the blisters away. Never run across the path. At the end of the walk, dip your feet into a bucket of water to take the heat away and to remove any coals that may have got stuck on your feet. When I came off the path, I had a piece of coal stuck in between my second last and last toe of my right foot. Remember - do not stop and pose for the camera.

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