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Why 'ouch' can be helpful & tools that offer a 'safe' alternative to self harm....    *content trigger warning*

Why 'ouch' can be helpful & tools that offer a 'safe' alternative to self harm.... *content trigger warning*

A little ‘neurospicy’ side share … We thought we got super clever with the name - it's a SPIKEY & its a KEYRING. So spiKEYring... However.... not the easiest to pronounce we have found LOL...

These have been 2 years in the making. It took a number of moulds to get the right amount of ‘ouch’ input and lots of ADHD overwhelm on my part to make the final call on them being ready to manufacture. The simplistic design doesn’t reflect the sheer amount of over thinking that has gone into the creation. I wanted them to be ‘perfect’ as their purpose is important. Sooooooo having these finally arrive is super personal and satisfying.

It has taken me a while to share as it is a tricky topic for me to openly talk about. I very much hope for grace and kindness as I brave this topic. I frequently field questions from individuals & I’m comfortable to do so one on one. I feel privileged that individuals trust me to discuss it. However, it is entirely different to publicly touch on the topic. I hope its ok for you that I am. I genuinely apologise & understand if it is not ok for you. Please feel free not to read on… especially if it will trigger anything personally, as that is not my intention. It is not a warm and fluffy topic I know… It is an IMPORTANT one though, so brave I will be!  I also hope that it helps those who struggle be 'kinder' to themselves & validates the very genuine need for strong sensory input.  

First I’ll share with you a little about our new tool . Then I will unpack a little more about the ‘why’ of these tools from my own perspective…

Our new spiKEYring

The drive to develop this tool specifically has been born out of a need for an ‘on hand’ tool that does not need to be worn on wrist or finger, like our wrist and finger spikeys, due to sensory aversions. We also recognised that having a tool that can double as a ‘picking’ support would be helpful for many. So off to the drawing board we went….

Our spiKEYring has a fidget loop securing 2 detachable double sided sensory supports for tactile input, ‘picking’ support and 'hurt' without harm.

It is a TWIN SET on a secure fidget loop featuring :

  • a double sided textured flexible pad with silicone bristles which is both sensory and a helpful picking support.
  • & a double sided textured pad with PVC 'spikey' bristles providing 'ouch' without harm & also picking support.

Link to product

For many, including myself, strong sensory input (pain) is something that assists with regulation, relieving emotional distress and assists in ‘decompressing’ in an moment of overwhelm. Many have expressed to me the purpose of the NSSI isn’t to harm themselves or cause injury, even though that is often the outcome. Some examples of high sensory input or NSSI that we get asked to find replacements for are skin picking, pinching, scratching & slapping face, digging pen into leg, hair twirl/pulling, eyelash pulling, digging nails into palms, burning, biting, chewing, head hitting and cutting. What can often then follow is shame, risk of infection, injury and distress for both the individual and/or for loved ones. I have certainly found it one of the most challenging things to journey through as a family. For us, it has created a space for open conversations, enabled insight & validation and has gone on to inspire our passionate interest in developing these tools.

Pain causes the central nervous system to release the ‘feel good’ endorphins. Some have shared it “helps divert the emotional pain in their head” and for others that it assists in breaking feelings of numbness or feeling ‘lost’. Also shared is that physical pain can be ‘easier’ to deal with than the emotional pain.

In writing this, I also reached out to Jade, long time Kaiko connection & also the original inspiration for our wrist spikey. This is what they shared about their personal experience. “For me it's mostly about control. Have ASD etc and chronic pain, that is all out of my control. It is incredibly difficult and frustrating to deal with. Having the spiKEYring, for example, gives me chances to express my frustration, my rage and sometimes to inflict pain when I want it, not when my body decides to give it to me. That pain also makes sense to me. When I use these safe self-harming options to cause pain I have a sensory loop of "my hand hurts, it hurts because I used the spiKEYring" and that is relieving. Compared to emotional dysregulation where you feel upset without context at times. I love that these products exist!“ Jade April 2024. (sharing with permission)

Although the ‘why’ behind each individuals’ journey varies, having supports that can ‘safely’ provide high input/ouch can be immensely helpful. Not the only strategy for support of course, but a vital part of the tool kit for many. Finding various ‘safe’ ways to meet this genuine & valid sensory need has therefore become a focus for us and we are thrilled to share with you the latest arrival - the spiKEYing.

So many of our clients vulnerably share with us their journeys navigating this complex sensory need. Our hope is that having tools on hand that are discreet, provide ‘ouch’ without breaking the skin and also some that provide ‘heavy’ work for the body (such as resistance) provide the support needed in those moments. Many also find extreme cold helpful in a similar way. Placing metal fidgets in the fridge is worth trying. Extra minty and/or spicy things also can provide similar benefit. The key is having ‘safe’ options, in addition to partnering with your GP &/or clinical team to identify and navigate additional supports, referrals and resources.

In addition to our new spiKEYring, we have developed a number of other wearable tools. We have a dedicated section on our website for harm minimisation tools.  Watching the video on the product pages regarding ways to use each tool is super helpful as, often, the most effective way is the lest expected or common way of using.  I am also happy to confidentially field questions via email or phone if that is helpful for you. We also have a number in the ‘pipeline’, including a kit specifically created for those that struggle with trichotillomania and a large ‘spikey’ bead that will be used in multiples to create a hand fidget, similar to our galaxy fidget, but with ‘ouch’. We welcome suggestions anytime & love to co-design tools.

Thank you for allowing me to talk about this & I hope this has been helpful in some way. Jo

Some other products that provide we have that provide 'safe ouch' or assist with other forms of NSSI (such as hair pulling) are our...

  • the above new Spikeyring 
  • finger & wrist spikeys - we have a set that has a wrist spikey and both sizes in finger spikeys).  It is important to pick the correct size for these, see the descriptions on product page. Also important to watch the videos on how to use both styles as the most helpful & ouchy ways are the least expected/thought of.  
  • calm buddi (very ouchy)
  • detonator 
  • double sided massage glove
  • amethyst stone
  • pick and peel range
  • resistance bands 
  • spikey massage roller and ball
  • chain maille range 
  • Speks 
  • necklace or hand caterpillar 

& can be found in our harm minimisation section on our website.

If you have specific questions feel free to reach out to me at

Next article Chew Supports … where to start??