Pain management is any process by which pain is brought to a level which is controllable and bearable for the individual. Because of the legal encumbrances surrounding anesthetics in most parts of the West, more natural methods of pain management are usually employed by body modification practitioners.
- Distraction: For very quick procedures (such as a piercing), the pain is of such short duration, that little is needed beyond simply being distracted from the pain for a moment. Many piercers will tell a joke, make an odd noise, or simply say "Wow" as they perform the actual piercing, distracting the piercee for just long enough for the pain to be over before it even registers. This is the most common form of pain management for piercings.
- Breathing: By consciously controlling your breathing, it is possible to simply "ignore" pain by giving your mind something else to pay attention to. Furthermore, conscious breathing generally results in deeper breathing, which in turn supplies more oxygen to the bloodstream. This oxygen allows the brain to more calmly cope with its surroundings. This method is the most commonly used method for longer procedures, such as tattooing and scarification.
- Meditation: Often used by those with some skill in it already, meditation can allow a person to truly block pain, consciously recognizing its existence, and then ignoring it. While this is an extremely effective method of pain management, it requires considerable practice to perfect, and so is used significantly less often than the methods listed above.
- Mind games: While probably a subset of meditation, mind games (for lack of a better term) involve consciously readjusting one's mind to change the context of the pain being experienced. Instead of attempting to block it, the pain is embraced and accepted as a part of the sensual experience of the moment. The idea is to turn what biologically feels like a negative thing into a mentally positive one. While this method seems the most difficult to use, it tends to develop subconsciously as one's experience in body mod increases.