Many funeral homes offer a service performed on the body of a loved one who has passed away known as embalming. It is the process of preserving a body after death so as to delay decomposition. It also involves disinfecting the body and making it visually appealing for visitation by applying make-up.
For many years humans have been practicing embalming in various forms. Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians practiced it, and we still continue this today in different cultures and religion, although the forms may vary.
There are two main types of embalming, both differing in process. The first is called arterial embalming, where the blood in the body is replaced with certain embalming fluids or solutions. Blood will be removed through the veins, while the embalming solutions enter the body through the arteries. These solutions are usually a mixture of formaldehyde, ethanol, glutaraldehyde, phenol, ethanol, and water.
The other type of embalming is known as cavity embalming. Here, a small incision is made through which the natural fluids found in the abdomen and chest are drained. The embalming solution replaces the natural fluids, thus preventing early decomposition of the body.
Before the embalming process starts in both cavity and arterial embalming, the body is thoroughly washed with a disinfectant solution. To prevent any stiffness of muscles and joints, the body is also massaged.
Why is embalming done?
There are three main reasons why embalming is done:
The first reason for embalming is to preserve the body of the deceased so that it can be displayed longer for visitation, or if the burial is several days away.
Embalming restores the body of the deceased, making it more visually appealing.
Embalming is done so as to protect anyone coming in contact with the body, as well as to prevent any odor before burial.
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