Pain Control: It’s All In Your Head

Tim Cridland - Zamora the Torture King

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The power of disbelief is as strong as the power of belief.

On this episode of Remarkably Human Radio, I chat with living sideshow legend and pain control expert Tim Cridland (aka Zamora the Torture King) about the extreme demonstrations of pain control that he performs on-stage, how and why he does it, and what the rest of us can learn from his experience.

Tim Cridland is known worldwide for his demonstrations, which involve pushing large skewers through his body – directly through deep muscle tissue – with no pain, no blood and extremely rapid healing.  His many feats have made him a regular subject of documentaries and medical studies, and he travels the world lecturing and performing for a wide variety of clients.

It gets real weird, real quick as we discuss everything from the mystical traditions of the Sufi dervishes to modern medical pain control techniques – we even weigh in on the paranormal, biofeedback and how Tim caused trouble in his home economics class as a kid.

It’s strange.  It’s fun.  It’s a great conversation with a truly remarkable human.

I’m not in the business of hurting myself.  I’m in the business of healing myself.


  • Who is Tim Cridland, and why is he called The Torture King?
  • How physical pain and emotional pain are similar, and can be controlled the same way.
  • What medical monitoring tells us about really going on in Tim’s body.
  • How pain is a learned response.
  • How Tim’s extraordinary ability is the result of training, not some unique gift or genetic talent.
  • The very unusual traditions that Tim takes part in in order to control his pain.
  • Autogenics, self-hypnosis and other techniques of controlling pain.
  • The nitty-gritty of Tim’s on-stage demonstrations, including the challenge of scar tissue, nicked arteries, hitting nerve bundles and how he stays safe.
  • The power of directed attention.
  • Tim’s brain on pain in an fMRI

If you can diminish your ego you can diminish your pain.



FIND TIM CRIDLAND (Zamora the Torture King) ONLINE

Tim’s websites: &

Pain is a learned response.


Weird Las Vegas
Circus of the Scars



Each week I bring you the story of a remarkable human, a powerful technique that you can use, or something amazing from the edge of human experience.  I love sharing this stuff with you.

If you enjoy the show and want to give back, the best thing that you can do right now is to subscribe to the show in iTunes, rate the show and leave a review.  I really can’t thank you enough for helping out in that way!

Of course, any social sharing that you can do always helps out as well!  If you think that your friends on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or anywhere else would enjoy the show, share away!

And if you want to continue discussing this episode in particular, leave a comment below.  Have you seen Zamora perform live?  What did you think?  Do you have more questions about his techniques?  Ask about them right here on the show notes page!

Once again, thanks for tuning in.  I hope to see you next week!

feature image photo credit:  andy hartmark, via and tim cridland


  • Dan Ingraham

    This is fascinating! Thanks for the interviews. I really enjoy your podcasts.

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  • ru4mj12 (@ru4mj12)

    It was mentioned about monitoring heart rate variability on stage.. I’ve been interested in this, what equipment do you recommend? There seems to be many options.. emwave2, ithlete, stresseraser, resperate, omegawave, mbraining, bioforcehrv, etc.

    I love the idea that the mind can dictate how you experience pain. Jo Marchant has a great book (The Cure) on how placebos can actually cure one of diseases. Chris Kresser did a good podcast with her.

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