Embalming Process Makes the Deceased Body Look more Attractive

January 18, 2016

Nobody sets ou to build a career in embalming the bodies of dead people. Preserving human remains to keep decomposition at bay is not something people relish. However, somebody has to do the job. Indeed, theree are mortuary science training programmes. Here students learn all the techniques that go into preparing a deceased body for a funeral.

They learn how to wash and preserve deceased bodies and how to replace blood with embalming fluid. They learn how to reconstruct tissue using cotton, plaster and wax. And they learn how to apply make-up and perform other grooming techniques. Their apprenticeship is under the supervision of a licensed funeral director.

Making the Deceased Look Presentable

Embalming ProcessThe idea behind embalming is to make the dead body look attractive and at peace for viewing at a funeral.

Nelson Mandela’s body was embalmed in preparation for the thousands of mourners who would file past his body as it lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

With the process, as with President Nelson Mandela, experts remove the body fluids and use chemical solutions in their place.

If rigor mortis has set in, experts massage the body to loosen stiff joints. Stiffness increases extravascular pressure, and this hinders the embalming fluid from going to where it should go.

 Setting the Facial Features Appropriately

Expert embalmers then prepare the body for viewing by setting the facial features. They put cotton in the nose and eye caps below the eyelids. Then they place cotton or gauze is into the throat to absorb fluids. They tie mouth shut with wire before applying make-up. People see how ‘good’ the dead person looks, with eyes peacefully closed.

Embalming takes places as soon as possible after death to prevent further tissue breakdown. It doesn’t preserve the human body forever but just delays decay, with the rate of decomposition varying depending on the strength of the chemicals used. Neil Keight, of Thom Kight & Co, a Johannesburg funeral company specialising in embalming says that an embalmed body can stay preserved for years. He did however say that factors such as the state of the corpse prior to embalming will determine the length of preservation.

Embalming is only Mandatory in some Circumstances

Funeral directors need to inform consumers that embalming is not required by law and that a direct burial, without embalming is also available. Embalming is mandatory in some circumstances such as when a body is flown from one country to another.   but only in certain cases. It is mandated for instance when a body crosses borders by plane.

The trend in funerals is moving toward going green where formaldehyde-free embalming fluids are used. There is even an embalming fluid made entirely of non-toxic and biodegradable essential oils. This embalming fluid even earned the GBC seal of approval.

We’ve Got Lots of Choices

We can be grateful that consumers in the 21st century have many choices when it comes to the way people can choose to decompose. Companies and individuals are coming up with new ideas all the time to meet the demands of people and their wishes. If the embalming process doesn’t appeal to you, there are many alternative forms of disposition worth research and consideration and which are more in keeping with nature.

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All info was correct at time of publishing