What's the first place a Leicester person thinks of when you say 'piercing'?
People have been having their bodies pierced for thousands of years. Piercings are depicted in ancient artefacts from 5,000 years ago and in famous paintings such as 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' painted around 1665.
Reasons for piercing ones body are varied throughout history and across cultures, ranging from fashion through to preventing demons from entering the brain.
Three of us at Niche Magazine weren't too bothered about the demons, but we were interested in piercings for health and fashion reasons.
Becci Houlston and Katie Brennan wanted their ears pierced to prevent migraines, and Kerry Smith wanted a nose ring 'just because'.
And where would we go for these piercings? The first place that springs to most Leicester citizen's minds when you mention piercings, of course: Kazbah.
What we wanted
I took the plunge to get a new piercing after hearing that one spot on your ear can act as acupuncture for reducing the pain and frequency of migraines.
My migraines tend to hit me once a month. The only method that currently works to get rid of them is to sleep it off, which isn’t always helpful when trying to go about day-to-day life.
Recently, I have felt that “migraine pending” feeling for weeks at a time so after hearing about this method of pain relief, I wanted to see for myself how well it works.
My migraines also tend to fall on the left side of my head, so my left ear was ready to be put to the pain test.
I have been suffering from migraines since I was a child. I have tried to pinpoint why they happen but I just can’t seem to find what triggers them.
I’m lucky in that they are few and far between but when they strike, I am completely useless for the rest of the day. If I don’t go straight to sleep in a dark, quiet room with a cold wet cloth on my forehead, I will end up being violently sick.
The pain is so intense it makes me cry because it feels like a drill in my brain and it gets worse and worse.
I have had MRI scans, eyes tests, the works and the doctors can’t find anything wrong. I’ve done my research on migraines and found that they are a kind of feedback loop of chemicals in the brain, which is why they start off as light and not too bad but get worse and worse as the feedback loop goes on. I’ve found the only way to cut this loop off is with sleep and paracetamol.
I’m hoping that the piercing will stop my migraines from starting at all or at least lessen the severity of them.
As I get the migraines in different places, I’ve decided to have both ears pierced at the same time.
I had never considered a piercing before until I spotted my boss with a nose ring one day late last year.
I've only ever had my ears pierced and that was when I was a child so I can't remember it.
When I saw my boss with her nose ring, it struck me that I too could do what I want with my body and my money. So, why wouldn't I have a piercing? I deliberated with other places on my body to get a piercing but stuck with the nose because I am actually quite conscious about my nose and in some twisted way, thought drawing attention to it in this way might help with my confidence.
I wanted a cute and tiny stud, but that's not what I ended up with...
Our experience at Kazbah
As we approached the popular piercing parlour in 'The Lanes'. there was a bunch of cool-looking people gathered outside and we suddenly felt a bit nervous.
We went to walk in but a very polite and super friendly employee called Anil approached us and discussed our needs with us before entering. They're very serious about Covid safety so all the staff were wearing gloves and face shields or masks.
We felt supported and educated within seconds with not only the real name of the ear piercing two of us wanted being revealed (daith; which we thought at first was a 'Dave'), but also a free KitKat each to help boost the sugar levels of us non-breakfast eaters.
It's a cash-only system so we went away to scoff our KitKats and get some cash out.
The daith piercings were £30 each and the nose piercing was £25.
Upstairs, we were greeted upstairs by Painless Pete who was cool, calm and collected. He completely put our minds at ease by telling us everything we needed to know.
Becci’s nervous soul wanted to go first to get it out of the way and reduce the risk of getting cold feet. Katie had to look away out of fear of needles while Kerry watched so she knew what she was in for.
Within seconds each, our piercings were complete. Luckily, Pete waited until after things were done to tell us that the daith is one of the most painful piercings you can get.
Pete also informed us on how many customers he’s had that have come into the studio with a headache or a migraine and left the building without one after having their daiths pierced.
Becci was told a few times that hers was “right on the pressure point” and that this will “definitely help you out” - so we can’t wait to see the results!
Kerry's nose piercing was over and done with painlessly. It just felt like the nostril was being squeezed very tightly for a split second. Pete warned that most of the pain comes after with nose piercings.
Wanting just a small stud, Kerry was taken aback when Pete highly recommended a ring due to lower risk of infection and quicker healing time. Afterall, she wanted this piercing to be seen so she agreed to the hoop.
Painless Pete took the time to talk to us afterwards too and made sure we were all ok. He even took a picture for us under the famous Kazbah neon pink sign.
As we left, Anil and the owner of the shop were extremely reassuring and told us not to hesitate in coming back or calling about any issues.
Kerry asked if she could buy some more studs and they pointed us in the direction of their sister shop in the Malcolm Arcade Shopping Centre across the street.
Five days later...
How it's going for Becci
So far, I have had little to no pain from the new piercing, with only a little discomfort when it comes to cleaning or sleeping on that side of my head.
I also haven’t had a headache (which I usually have daily). However, time will tell if the procedure has solved or reduced the pain of my migraines.
This is my second visit to Kazbah, and both times the team has left me feeling confident, safe, and smiling from ear to ear.
What's new with Katie
It’s been about a week, and so far so good. I’m a terribly squeamish person, for instance when I had my covid jabs, I couldn’t touch my arm for a week so having to clean and move the piercings has been hard.
I also can’t see one of them at all so I’m just guessing where the wound is. My lovely boyfriend has been checking that they are all clean and not infected for me and, thankfully, I sleep on my back so have not had to worry about getting them caught on my pillow.
They are a bit tender but I think that’s to be expected as I’ve basically been stabbed... but in a professional way.
I’ve not noticed any headaches or migraines but as mine are far apart we will have to wait a month or two for the full results.
The team at the Kazbah were absolutely amazing! I mean, free kitkats! They were all very friendly and very informative. 10/10 would recommend Kazbah!
How Kerry's doing
After asking friends which side I should have my nose piercing on and getting a pretty much 50/50 result, I let Pete decide. He said I had a 'nice dimple' on the left side so that's where it went and I've been very happy with it since.
I've very much enjoyed waiting to see how long it takes before people notice.
I was worried about it after day three because it felt slightly inflamed, but by washing with warm water only (as advised), it's gone back to normal. It's quite tender to the touch and I have caught it a couple of times but it is very much on the mend.
We finished our trip with a shopping spree around the independent shops around The Lanes. We went into Wardrobe, The Very Bazaar, Out of Joint Records, and Button Boutique.
Check back with us in a couple of months' time to see if Becci and Katie's migraines have improved.
Written by Becci Houlston, Katie Brennan, and Kerry Smith