How does classical death look Hollywood? A person has a peaceful face, his eyes are covered, as if he is sleeping. In fact, the faces of the deceased are usually distorted by a grimace, as if a dreamer had a nightmare. The work of the embalmer is to make of the unattractive image of a fabulous and beautiful. The procedure itself is secretive, viewers are usually not allowed to it.

The embalming profession is surrounded by myths and facts. This person has to deal with dead clients, which makes his work even more terrible. Embalmans are afraid and shunned, it is believed that they are doing something terrible with the bodies for the sake of giving them beauty. And is such a profession even necessary? We will try to debunk some myths about it.


When embalming, all organs are removed.

Some fear that after the embalming procedure, their relatives will lose their heart or brain. When it comes to embalming, many usually imagine the ancient Egyptians. It is believed that there specialists managed to remove the brain through the nose, and the organs to store in containers. But these were the first attempts at embalming, since then science has come a long way. The Egyptians had their own, the only goal – the preservation of appearance. Today she is one of many. Conservation has to be balanced along with recovery. Removal of organs could help the corpse to become more beautiful, but modern embalming usually does not go so far.

If embalming were surgery, then it would be considered fairly sparing.

All the embalmer needs is access to the artery, and there is a cut of just a couple of centimeters. Do not confuse embalming with opening, when the organs are removed, weighed, studied, and sometimes sent for study. This work is conducted by a pathologist, not an embalmer. After opening, the organs are placed back into the body, and the embalmer is already taking the case. The modern approach is such that this specialist does not deal with the removal of organs, and this is not necessary for his work.

Dead people can move.

Those who occasionally have to deal with corpses (unfortunately, military conflicts still happen) are told that they have met with dead people who suddenly assume a sitting position of the body. Is it possible? You can check with a simple experiment. It is necessary to lie flat on the floor, and then with the help of one only the abdominal muscles try to quickly sit. It turns out that this is not easy! In order for this movement to occur, it is necessary to use several muscles, their joint work and provide such a position of the body. Now we must imagine how the dead man can do it. Any movement of the muscles after death is already a miracle in itself, what can we say about their coordinated work? To relax the muscles requires energy. There is nothing new in this, it is in any book on physiology. After the death of the muscle, which did not have time to relax, this energy does not get and they can not change their state, being “locked”. Even more energy would have to be put in motion by bending the body. That’s why it can take a hard pose after death, but it will not be able to move. It is worth saying that the moment of death is still a mystery. Correlation of the work of the heart and death of the brain can be fuzzy. A fraction of a second after death, the brain can give up its last signals, which lead to a slight short twitching of the body.

Embalmers sew their open lips.

This myth appeared, thanks to horror films. Zombies climbing from under the ground can not talk until they cut their sewn lips with a knife. In fact, we all can feel relaxed even with a closed mouth. But this is the result of the work of the muscles that keep the jaw closed. It is worth it to relax, as the mouth immediately opens. The sight of a dead person with an open mouth is not the most pleasant, so embalmers have to work on this.And there are several ways to achieve the goal. The most common method is to use small sharp needles. They are fixed between the bones of the upper and lower jaw, one on each side. Then they are connected with each other by invisible threads. It may seem unpleasant, but the dead man does not feel anything. We at the dentist have to endure much more painful sensations. If the structure of the bone does not allow such a solution, the embalmer resorts to the needle and seams. But it works not with the lips, but over the muscle, which is responsible for the closed lips. And in this case, the idea is the same – the top is connected to the bottom with the help of a node.

Embalmers suck up human blood like vampires.

The blood really needs to be removed from the body in order to slow the decomposition. But embalmers do not suck out the liquid, but push it out. The structure of our cardiovascular system, which is built on the circulation of the liquid, helps in this. The specialist introduces a special solution, which in a natural way and replaces the blood. However, in the body there is not only blood, it also stores other liquids and gases. Bacteria by their work can increase the volume of the corpse. Any excess liquid or gas left after arterial embalming is removed by aspiration. For this, a long tool, a trocar, is used. It removes liquids and gases from the organs and cavities through a single penetration site in the navel area. The operation resembles laparoscopy. The accumulated gases can create pressure on some interesting parts of the body. Usually, when the body moves, you can get rid of the gases with the throat or anus. In the case of a corpse, it can turn into a gurgling, a screech, a small moan or a posthumous unpleasant odor.


Hair and nails continue to grow after death.

Some people think that buried people in coffins for a few years grow hair and nails. But if this were so, then every mummy found should have surprised us with a magnificent hairdo. So what’s really going on with dead bodies? At some point, the skin becomes dehydrated, because we stop drinking after death. The skin wrinkles after this, which allows the appearance of a bristle effect. The embalming liquid produces a good firming effect. If a person was clean-shaven before the procedure, then he may later have bristles. This is due to the fact that stronger skin refuses the roots of the hair, they come out in the form of protruding parts. Thus, we simply see what was previously hidden under the skin. A similar situation occurs with the nails – the skin on the fingers cringes.

From the dead smells like formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is not of plant origin, this substance is actually derived from formic acid. It is akin to an ant poison and even its name comes from the word “formika” (“ant”). From the lessons of biology, we remember how formaldehyde was taken from the frog before they began to dissect it. In fact, the term itself refers to gas, so the fluid must be properly called formalin. Some liquids for embalming contain far less glutaraldehyde in terms of odor. So in an embalming liquid, there is not so much formalin as it seems. In it, however, there are many other components, such as dyes, surfactants, additives for hibrigation and even pleasant flavors. Embalmers are ordinary people and they want to work in comfortable conditions. The liquid is usually concentrated in half-liter bottles. Each of them must be mixed with three liters of water to create a working cocktail.

Pumped blood is removed, like other medical waste.

It seems logical that the pumped out blood simply pours into a reservoir. Probably, some inhabitants of the sewerage know this better than us. Blood during the embalming procedure is mixed with strong chemicals. So its simple pouring can become unsafe.Funeral bureaus have special autonomous purification systems that do not allow medical drains to enter the general network. These waste are sent to special purification plants with a certain level of filtration. And before funeral bureaus appeared, embalmers were working for the deceased’s house. The specialist took with him a set of tools, including bottles with liquids and empty, for subsequent filling with blood. Even in those days, this procedure was quite clean, although with the insides the specialist does not work. The blood was pumped out with hoses and sealed in bottles for further use.

Embalming is required for funerals.

Some people do not want to be embalmed, but they also do not want to be cremated. There are many who wish to remain natural until the very end. For them it seems intolerable that the chemically impregnated body will be placed in the ground in a metal coffin. These people want nature to take its toll. They ask not to embalm the body, not to burn it, but simply to give the chance to calmly decompose, thanks to worms. In fact, there are no state laws requiring embalming. In most cases, however, the funeral home will still require embalming for a public inspection. If the body moves long distances on an airplane, along with other cargoes, then it will be difficult to refuse embalming. True, the container can be sealed and use dry ice. If the body is in a semi-decomposed state, it has been severely damaged by burns, if a person is mutilated beyond recognition, embalming is simply not feasible. Specialists also avoid working with the deceased from a number of diseases, such as the Ebola virus or mad cow disease named after Kreuzfeld-Jacob.

Too high people embalmers break their legs so that they fit in coffins.

People can be of different sizes, but coffins are of uniform shape and do not particularly differ in height. In low-grade horror movies, a myth was born that dead, not corresponding to the size, just shorten with a saw. Sometimes it seems unusual for us that a tall man in his life fit into a coffin. Do embalmers really go to the trick, breaking the bones of their feet? In life, we usually take up as much space as we need. But in a crowded elevator there is always a place for someone else. True, others will have to feel uncomfortable. The coffin should not be spacious or allow to stretch. It only provides the opportunity to place the body. Small size of the coffin would become a nightmare for those suffering from claustrophobia. Today the standard sizes are slightly larger than they were 60 years old. For this, perhaps, we must thank the fast food. The wooden coffin usually has 195 centimeters in height and about 70 centimeters in width. The metal version will be slightly higher – about 200 centimeters. Usually the length of the coffin does not become a problem, people in old age lose several centimeters in growth. In any case, you can always order a product of non-standard sizes.

Embalmers see people naked, without clothes.

Some people are embarrassed that someone outside will see them without clothes. Embalming is not quite a decent job – removing blood can shock. Nevertheless, as with other medical procedures, the genitals remain covered. Although the body itself, of course, is devoid of clothing. Part of the work also involves washing your hair on your head. Usually people who go through medical procedures for a long time lose their initial modesty and stop being jealous. The doctor has seen all these parts of the body thousands of times, and he has more important things to attend to. The same goes for the embalmer. On his anatomical table, the dead body is clearly not the first, and not the last. There is work to be done and finish it on time. So the specialist just has no time to admire the naked body. Dressing for the last sleep is not an easy process.For the sake of things you have to bend your back to ensure the right posture. Some deceased need shoes, while others do without it. Yes, and underwear – personal preference for relatives.


Embalming does not affect the color of the body.

Usually the dead are depicted as white ghosts. Surprisingly, death plays in different colors. After the heart stopped, and the brain died, there is no one to vigorously pump blood through the vessels. In the case comes the banal force of gravity. Cadaverous spots appear on the body, “livor mortis” in Latin. Literally the phrase means “death of blue color”. If a person dies lying on his back, his face turns pale – the blood accumulates in the back of the body. If he dies face down, it will turn red and even purple. Some time after death, the natural process of decomposition will begin. Its first sign is a green tinge appearing on the body in the intestinal region. The bacteria that normally participate in the digestive system work in it. However, without answering the organism, microorganisms will behave uncontrollably. Ultimately, those blood vessels will begin to disintegrate. Blue will be replaced by a new effect – the skin will look like marble. There will be purple lines on it, which will show where veins used to pass before. And embalming restrains all these processes to give relatives to say good-bye to the person at his funeral. That’s why it’s worth letting such a specialist calmly make his work. And on his work depends on how natural and decent it will look to the deceased at the funeral.

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