Will Firewalking Burn My Feet?

When it comes to my work there are two questions that I get asked most frequently. One is ‘what do you wear in a sweat lodge?’ and the second is ‘will firewalking burn my feet?’. So, I guess it’s about time I addressed the issue of smouldering feet, which is a bit more complex than you might expect! Let me break it down to make it easy…

What does firewalking feel like on your feet?

Firewalking can feel different at different times, this is partly because different woods burn at different temperatures, and also form different types of coals. So sometimes a firewalk can feel quite hard, more like a gravel path. Sometimes it can feel pretty darn hot – I call it spicy. Sometimes it can feel quite tingly too.

The most common experience of a firewalk is nothing uncomfortable, but a tingly buzz that lasts for a while afterwards.

When you get the opportunity, stand up, and spread your arms out to your sides. Count 3, 2, 1, and clap your hands together as hard as you can. You’ll notice for a while afterwards that your hands have a buzz to them, but don’t hurt. This is the easiest way to experience a similar thing to the feeling of firewalking on your feet.

Is Firewalking a trick?

Nope. It’s a real fire. A really, really hot, real fire.
So I guess the next question has to be….

How hot is a firewalk?

I don’t really like working with numbers, I think that as soon as you start going into that area when you are firewalking you are at risk of slipping into ego, so I never measure my  firewalks. Temperature or length…. It’s all a bit freudian when you get that way 😉

I tend to just tell people that the coals they are about to walk would melt a car engine block if you sat it on top. But those that do measure the temperatures have recorded anything up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but, to be honest, I personally doubt that the majority of fires are quite that hot.

Numbers aside, once the fire has burned down, and the coals are ready to walk, they’re seriously really really hot! So this brings us right back where we started….

Will firewalking burn?

“My feet are very soft”… “I can’t walk very quickly”…. “I’m told I have a heavy gait”… “I only have short legs”.. I’ve probably heard all the worries about walking hot coals there are to hear over the years.

If a firewalk is that hot, how come it doesn’t burn your feet?

Well the truth is that sometimes it does… but before you run and hide and swear not to firewalk EVER, please read on.

As a firewalk facilitator trainer, it’s my job to make sure Wild Soul Firewalk Facilitators  get everyone across the coals safely and enjoyably, but the reason I call them  facilitators, not instructors is that, when we get down to the real nitty-gritty of firewalking, the fire is the teacher.

What this means is that I trust that the fire will give everyone what they need, or what they are truly looking for. I equip people to be able to attain the right level of energy and focus to firewalk, respect for the fire and maintaining that level of focus and energy makes firewalking a hugely impactful and empowering experience for everyone involved. This doesn’t mean thatyou need to be in a ‘hippie, or hypnotic state’ it means you have to approach the fire with respect and an open heart.

At Wild Soul firewalks people regularly get the opportunity to walk more than once. I have often seen people walk once, and their feet are fine. They walk again, and their feet are still absolutely fine. Then maybe on their third or fourth time crossing the coals they start to get a little blasé, maybe even a little bit cocky. As they stop respecting the fire, it can sometimes give a wee blister, just to remind people that this is not a game.

We call this type of blister a Fire Kiss. In reality, it is nothing worse than when a new pair of shoes rubs a wee blister on your foot. If you don’t focus on it, the blister will be gone in a few days, and will not cause any problems in the meantime.

And just like a bit of toast that’s been in the toaster too long, just underneath it’s soft and fresh and as good as new.

What does this mean for a firewalker?

On the other end of the scale, I’ve walked 108 fires in one evening. Twice. Without even the weeniest of blisters on my feet. In fact, hundreds, probably thousands, of people firewalk every year around the world, safely and enjoyably.

It’s important to walk with a qualified facilitator who has trained with an Internationally Accredited Firewalking School (don’t be afraid to ask for credentials if you don’t see anything on their website) preferably with a qualified fire tender too.

Pay attention during the pre-walk talk. When your mind is on the firewalk it may well be that you’ll have forgotten a lot of what was said just a few days later, but on the day take the time to listen to what’s going on.

And most importantly, trust the process. Trust the fire. Set your intentions for a really fulfilling and magical experience – take my word for it that the facilitator will have done this, and probably asked their whole tribe to do the same for the event too. I know for certain here at the Wild Soul Tribe facilitators always post in our alumni group when they have Firewalks coming up, to enable the whole tribe to lend good wishes and support to their events.

When your moment comes, stop worrying ‘will firewalking burn my feet?’ and enjoy all that the fire brings!

could training as a firewalk instructor be for you?

Firewalking definitely isn’t for everyone, but if this post has tweaked your interest why not click through to take my 2 minute quiz to find out if training as a Wild Soul Firewalk Facilitator could be a good fit for you.