How to Walk on Hot Coals without getting burnt
Walking on fire is nothing new. It was practiced thousands of
years ago with records dating as far back as 1200BC. Walking on hot coals was akin to a form of worship in many countries.
People choose to walk on coals as an expresssion of faith, as rites of passage and for healing. I recall walking in the footsteps of my mom who never used an oven mitt for removing hot pans from the oven, I found out that if you removed the hot pan quickly, you never really felt the burn.
A similar theory exists for firewalking; the longer you stay on the coals the greater the chance of being burned. When a person steps on hot coals, the hotter body would cool down while the cooler one heat up. This results only lasts until the body is removed from the heat or when both temperatures align in between. Read more about the mechanics of this here.
There are several ways to prevent burning when walking on hot coals. Here are some:
1) Walking over hot coals with wet feet works as an insulation against the heat. Water is said to have a high specific heat capacity
2) Firewalking generally occurs on coal that that is around 1000 degrees F or 500 degrees C, even though there are unsubstantiated reports of people walking on coals that were much hotter
2) Because coal has a lower thermal conductivity, the hottest pars are the ones closer to the surface
3) Keep moving. While walking on the coals there is little time for hesitation. Just do it.
4) Don’t run. You understandably, want to exit the burning coals as soon as possible. However, if you run over the coals there is a chance that you can burn your feet as a result of the increased impact and penetration below the surface of the coals.
5) Allow the water contained in coals to evaporate prior to
walking on them since the water increases the thermal capacity.
Fire walking Festival
6) Be mentally prepared. Mind over matter is essential to being a successful firewalker
7) Do not attempt unless you are mentally and physically prepared, have done your research and have acquired the requisite skills and confidence.
8) Start with a short distance, say a few feet and work your way up as you acquire more skill and expertise.
9) What do you aim to accomplish by walking on hot coals? This should be number 1 question you ask yourself.
10) Register for a workshop on firewalking
It is important that you take some time to understand the physics behind firewalking so that you can perform the act fairly safely and minimize burns.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as a definitive guide to firewalking nor does it encourage the practice.
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