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Firewalking: psychological benefits of walking on the embers (the new fashion of Coaching)

Firewalking: psychological benefits of walking on the embers (the new fashion of Coaching)

June 24, 2021

Recently, practices such as "Firewalking "(Walk on the embers) or the"Glasswalking "(to walk on broken glass), since they seem to have a high impact to overcome the fears and help people to learn how to transcend the limits that our own mind imposes on us.

The benefits of Firewalking (walking on the embers)

We have all faced problems and obstacles that have arisen in our lives, and in front of which many times we are paralyzed. Sometimes these problems seem unsolvable or too complicated to find the right solution. Coaching is a discipline that helps overcome limiting beliefs that prevent us from facing those challenges or obstacles that are presented to us both on a personal and business level.


Coaching: Firewalking as an impact technique

Firewalking is a technique that has been imported from the United States, where it has been done for more than three decades. It is used as life metaphor that allows to unblock people and empower them to face the difficult situations of day to day. In this way, individuals become more resilient and gain self-confidence. In addition, it helps them to test their limiting beliefs, to overcome their fears and to increase their motivation.

Psychology has long been investigating the relationship between the mind, emotions and pain. In the article "The Phantom Member: Mirror Box Therapy" we already echoed the studies of Ronald Melzack, a researcher and professor of psychology at McGill University in Canada, which led to the Theory of the Neuromatrix .


This theory attributes the diffusion of pain and the transmission of this by the organism to a complex system. Different areas intervene in the system (of the central and peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous system and endocrine system) directly influenced by various psychological, emotional, genetic and social factors. But in addition to the influence of the mind when it comes to enduring physical pain or firewalking, it seems that, according to this coaching technique, dealing with physical pain can bring benefits at the psychological level.

Overcoming fears with Firewalking

In the business field, firewalking has also had a great impact. According to experts who use the technique, walking on the embers is a challenge that enhances the entrepreneurial empowerment, the leadership ability, the courage or other virtues that so often influence success. In the personal field, this attitude of facing fears and commitment to oneself, makes the person aware, commits and increases their perspective and their options, enhancing their resources to achieve the goals that have been set.


No one can deny that there are states of mind and attitudes (confidence, inner strength, joy, etc.) that motivate us and push us to action, and there are paralyzing moods or attitudes (anxiety, fear, confusion, sadness, etc.) that they make us impotent It is possible that the firewalking, as coaching technique , help increase self-confidence.

The metaphors in coaching

Already from small and as we grow, stories and stories teach us values, principles and social norms . The stories we hear are modeling our lives, and in turn, the stories we begin to explain define who we are, our experiences, perceptions, and the perspective we have of the world.

Coaching uses metaphors as positive belief-enhancing techniques, since the symbolic language of the narrative defines us and our perspective of the world, providing learning. Acts on our subconscious in a much more empowering way than any suggestion or advice, and mobilizes our creative capacity in the inner search for new options.

Since coaching, it is stated that people have all the answers , you just have to accompany them to become aware. The generation of new options through metaphors leads the coachee (client of the coach) to relate and to understand reality from another perspective.

The effectiveness of metaphors

But for the metaphors to be effective for the coachee, the coach must elaborate a story that facilitates the identification by his client and helps him look for more adaptive options. Therefore, the coachee must feel that the metaphor covers their needs and offers meaning. The metaphor can also help to deepen the understanding and resolution of problems , and it is an important tool for change if they are used well.

For example, during the coaching process, an overly extroverted client showed little ability for self-observation and to question their own attitudes. The client, passionate about mountaineering, finally improved his introspection ability, as the coach made him reflect when he said: "Now you have to climb the inner mountain".

In the firewalking sessions the metaphors can be several. For example, "both in life and in firewalking, taking the first step is the hardest, the one that costs the most" or "you have to walk through life as if over the embers, otherwise you may end up burning yourself. You have to step firmly and keep going no matter what happens. "

Experiential learning: testing empowering beliefs

The metaphors will facilitate the path for the acquisition of more adaptive and beneficial beliefs, but in order to anchor these new beliefs they have to be put to the test. To eliminate a limiting belief it is highly advisable to replace it with an empowering belief. This is not a new concept of coaching, but has been applied for decades in psychology, for example, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

The experiential learning it is based on the fact that knowledge is created through the transformation provoked by experience. The concrete experience is transferred to an abstract conceptualization which is actively tested through new experiences.

Firewalking and self-confidence

These experiences of failure or success will affect our mental programming (values ​​and beliefs), which will have consequences in our self-efficacy beliefs (also called self-confidence). The experiences constitute the most important source of information for the perception of self-confidence, since they will facilitate the verification of whether these beliefs are going to be effective or not. Repeating success in certain tasks increases positive evaluations of self-confidence beliefs, while repeated failures decrease them, especially when failures can not be attributed to external circumstances.

To read more about this topic in our article "The Self-efficacy of Albert Bandura: do you believe in yourself?".

In short, by testing the new empowering belief and observing its positive effect, it will facilitate its anchoring. This will provide a new vision of life. When you are aware that you yourself are the writer of your own novel You can change the course of things to improve your wellbeing and face the challenges of life in a different way.

Then we leave you a story in which they explain the operation of the Firewalking seminars. Check it out:


MythBusters - Water Stun Gun (June 2021).


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