First Advisor

Jeslin Hancock

Date of Award

Spring 6-16-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and University Honors






Tattooing -- Research, Psychic trauma -- Treatment, Tattooing -- Psychological aspects, Indigenous peoples




Prior research and literature reviews suggest that there is medicinal value in tattooing for the healing of trauma. However, tattooing is still a burgeoning topic in academic studies and still mostly taboo as a western societal practice, so there are gaps in qualitative and quantitative data that could further validate the healing benefits of tattoos for trauma. This literature review analyzed 30 peer reviewed articles that focus on "contemporary tattoo data," "indigenous traditions and practices," "tattoos and trauma," and other alternative healing such as "MDMA, psilocybin, EMDR" to establish a well-rounded investigation into tattoos as an alternative healing option. The results reveal that for thousands of years many non-western cultures have utilized tattooing for healing. Today there are growing numbers of individuals who seek alternative healing options, such as tattooing, for treatment resistant trauma symptoms. In conclusion, this review provides ample data that shows a positive and effective connection between tattoos and healing trauma.


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