There are many firewalkers in many countries of the world, and no protective
chemicals are ever used to accomplish the feat. What is necessary to walk over hot
coals more than 1,200°F? What happens physiologically to prevent any bodily
damage to firewalkers? When temperature-sensitive paint was dubbed onto the feet
of one firewalker, it was found that his feet did not go over 150°F, while the hot coals
registered over 1200°F.
Some firewalkers maintain that their weight seems less and that they are "lifted"
over the hot coals. Others speak of how their legs and feet feel cold when walking
over fire. There is evidence to indicate that the body's vascular system constricts to
reduce blood circulation in the feet. Also, the activity of a substance called
bradykinin, which plays a role in the inflammation process, is suppressed. It seems
that physiological changes, brought about by the faith and belief that you can do the
feat, prevent any bodily damage. Some researchers have found that many firewalkers
experience short bursts of theta rhythm when walking over the coals.
Preparation in a psychological way is necessary prior to the event. Tolly Burkan
and others have lectured and given workshops in the U.S. on the power of courage &
positive thinking, and thus far thousands of people have walked over a 6-foot trench
of fiery coals stoked to over 1,200°F as a result. Tolly explains, "You're not walking
over hot coals, you're walking on fear!"
In other exercises, we have discussed the physiological changes that occur in the
body when fear and negative emotions are generated. The body has a natural ability
to heal, repair and protect itself from harm. That process is interrupted and inhibited
by fear and negative emotions. When you eliminate fear from the firewalking pro-
cess, you automatically allow courage, faith and belief to alter the body’s physiology
All firewalkers seem to achieve a certain altered state of consciousness. In many
countries, they prepare themselves with one or two weeks of fasting, prayer,
meditation and devotional chants. U.S. firewalking leaders usually prepare their
participants with pep talks & positive programming designed to change preconceived
belief systems about the dangers of fire so they can get in touch with their inner
courage and eliminate their fear. Nobody is forced to do anything against his or her
own will. Participation is purely voluntary.
As an exercise, firewalking should only be initiated with an experienced leader that
has done it before. You should first master "Exercise -- Meditation," "Exercise --
Concentration To Relieve Stress," and all the breathing exercises. If you have any
reservations about entering the fire, make a list of them on paper. By transcribing
your prior programming and fears onto paper, you get them out of the mind for direct
confrontation and examination. Understand that the burning coals are very hot --
over 1,200°F. When you step onto the coals, they may even feel hot. If your brain
starts screaming, "I'm burning myself," ignore it and SHIFT YOUR ATTENTION.
If you shift your conscious awareness away from your feet, you will hardly notice
the heat being any more intense than walking barefoot across hot sand on a summer
day. Your flesh is not being charred. Simply don't panic and disrupt the even
pressure of your soles on the coals as you walk evenly along. By concentrating your
conscious awareness to an inner visualization or connection, you're NOT attending to
the feeling in your feet. Shifting your conscious awareness away from your feet
allows a vascular constriction to be achieved (review "Exercise -- Shifting Your
Conscious Awareness"). Some people even reiterate, "Cool, moss, cool moss," as
they walk across the hot coals. After the firewalk, maintain your shift of attention
through positive discussion and distraction. By continuing this focused shift, your
body/mind will maintain its control over any after-sensations as well.
Hypnosis is an altered state that can eliminate doubt. If you were told under
hypnosis a piece of ice was a hot iron, a blister would form because you believed it
would. Your belief programming in life is similar. The simple act of stepping onto
glowing coals demonstrates to yourself that you will NOT be harmed, and your body
alters itself physiologically to accommodate that positive thought process and protects
itself. Some people reinforce the process by reiterating, "My body will do whatever
it takes to protect itself while I'm firewalking." Obviously, if you thought that you
would burn yourself, you wouldn't have taken the first step! The first step is all it
takes to firewalk. Remember, trust your inner self and be aware of your true
connection to God ("...when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned"
Isa. 43:2). Thousands of people have successfully firewalked before you, and they
did so without hesitation.
After firewalking, the success of such a feat leads to exhilaration. A special
camaraderie is established with the participants, and you become more open and
honest in a sharing way.