What is Firewalking?
Firewalking is considered as being the supreme discipline in the mental coaching area not without reason. It has indeed a long tradition and historical background to look back at. The first written records originate from the Iron Age in India around 1200 BC, where Firewalks were celebrated as initiation rituals. Topics such as mental strength, healing, courage and faith were usually the centre of attention.
Nowadays, Firewalks are successfully used in many areas such as motivational seminars and self-awareness courses. The outstanding characteristic that makes this tool so unique, is its rapid transformative force, which challenges the very foundations of our existence. The fear and respect of fire are ancient instincts – we know that if we touch flames, embers or a hot stove, we burn ourselves.
However, if we are aware of the fact that we can still walk barefoot over 400°C to 600°C hot embers – unharmed, then this leads to a shift of paradigms of what is possible and what is not. In this way, a Firewalk opens completely new perspectives.
So what do we actually do at a Firewalk?
As the name already suggests, we walk over fire, or more precisely, over a carpet of hot embers.
In order to get the people into the right mindset, to feel safe and familiar with the situation, to literally take the steps over the hot coals, it requires an in-depth preparation by trained personnel.
How is Firewalking possible?
There are many aspects, which help to ensure that we can walk unharmed over the hot embers. There are several physical approaches that demonstrate and explain this phenomenon. The most important aspect is that – as commonly known – coal and ash are both very poor heat conductors. Nature shows us everyday that different materials warm up and cool down at different rates, or in the physical jargon, have a different heating capacity.
If we for example want to warm up a pot of water, it will take a long time until the water boils. However, the pan itself is already hot after a few seconds.
Another good example is when You open a pre-heated oven to put Your gratin or homemade lasagna inside. Although the air in the oven has a temperature of around 250°C, we can without hesitation put our hands in it without burning ourselves. This works because the air is a very poor conductor of heat.
Now, if we think back to our first example with the water in the pot and knowing that the human body consists of about 2/3 of water, then a great part of the „magic“ behind Firewalking is already explained.
There are also other important factors that enable us to do a Firewalk, such as the correct shifting of weight, the speed at which we go over the coals and the cooling down below the flashpoint of the hot embers.
At this point we have to mention that we do not under any circumstance recommend to anybody to do a Firewalk without professionally trained personnel. Although there are physical explanations for this phenomenon, the risks are highly increased in a scenario without professional trainers or with unexperienced personnel and must be avoided.
Perhaps You have now arrived at a point where You ask Yourself: „So if Firewalking is physically possible, why would I still do it then? And why would I expose myself to the minimal risk of walking over hot embers, which after all still exists?“
If You would like to find out the answer to these exciting questions, we encourage You to continue reading here.