Whilst in essence you can put rope just about anywhere on a human body there are a few key areas to be aware of to avoid discomfort and injury.
- Wrists can be safely used as anchor points but take care to tie loosely and preferably above the radial styloid process (the lumpy bit). Avoid pressure at the base of the thumb where the main blood vessels and nerves pass through
- Avoid putting knots in the antecubital fossa (inner elbow) as these may compress the brachial artery, median & radial nerve.
- Avoid knots in the supraclavicular fossa (the dip above the collar bone) as these can compress a multitude of arteries, ligaments and can feel as though they are compressing the windpipe.
- Do not place knots in the axillae (armpits) as these will be uncomfortable for most people and may compress the brachial plexus. People with larger arms are more susceptible to this and may even get intolerable discomfort by simply putting their arms behind their back.
- Take care with running ropes between the legs and around the genital area. Small amounts of pressure can become intolerable quite quickly.
- Take care with any rope running over the front of the lower leg as most people have an acutely sensitive boney area here. It is slightly different for each person.
- Take care with knots or pressure at the back of the skull or extreme extension of the neck (head tipping backwards). This may cause Vertebrobasilar insufficiency in susceptible people which can cause anything from slight dizziness to stroke. This also gets nicknamed Beauty Parlour Stroke as it has been described in a number of people having their hair washed at a hairdressing salon sink.
- Most people have a bony prominence at the base of the neck. Don’t put knots on this as it can be very sore to lie on
- Similarly avoid knots on the shoulder blades.
- Avoid putting pressure or knots on the outside of the elbow joints as you may put pressure on the ulnar nerve
- Don’t put knots in the popliteal fossa (back of the knee) as these may compress arteries, nerves and veins in this area.
- Avoid placing knots on the bony prominences of the ankles. It hurts.
- When placing large amounts of pressure on the upper arms care is needed to avoid placing pressure on the radial, median and ulnar nerves. This becomes very important in suspensions or when lying someone on the floor on top of bands of rope. Each individual has a “sweet spot” where the nerves are more exposed. If you ever gave someone (or were given) a “dead arm” in a school playground then that’s the same spot. Some people will be very sensitive. Others won’t have any bother at all. Get to know your partner and go with which positions feel best to them.
- See combination of 2 & 10
- See 6