June 18, 2022

Should you consider embalming?

Embalming is the art and science of preserving human remains by treating them with chemicals to prevent decomposition. Embalming has a long history, dating back to the early Egyptians who used a mixture of salt, natron (a naturally occurring sodium carbonate), and spices to preserve the bodies of their pharaohs. 

It’s commonly used today to help preserve the body so it can be held at viewing and visitation events, or even for medical purposes such as an autopsy. It’s also typically utilized if there is going to be a long time between when the death occurs and the burial/ cremation process happens.


Is it required?

While embalming may not be required by law, it’s often considered a necessary part of the funeral process. It’s also often required if the body is being transported long distances. Funeral homes also commonly require embalming if the body is going to be present for public viewing.


Why do people choose to be embalmed?

One of the most important functions of embalming is to delay decomposition. This is achieved by injecting preservative fluids into the body and by preventing bacteria from entering and breaking down the tissues. Embalming also makes it possible to display the body in an attractive way, so that friends and family can say goodbye in a respectful setting. 

For many individuals, seeing the body of a loved one is an important step in grief recovery. This is especially true for relatives and children, who need tangible proof that their loved one has passed away in order to move on with their grieving process. Embalming a corpse can assist families to accept what has happened by allowing them to view their deceased loved one with their own eyes. This may make all the difference as they begin to heal from their loss.

Because of this, embalming provides deep emotional support to many families going through a difficult time. Not only does it allow friends and family members to say goodbye properly and give closure, but it also helps them process their grief more effectively over time. When done correctly, embalming can be an invaluable tool for those struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one.


Why should you not embalm

There are many reasons why you should not embalm a body. For one, it is generally unnecessary, as embalming is only required if the body hasn’t been buried before 10 days have passed since death. 

Secondly, embalming a body can be quite costly, costing an average of between $500 and $700. Compared to the cheaper alternative of having your funeral home refrigerate the body which usually amounts to around $100.

The use of embalming chemicals has been shown to pose serious risks to human health and the environment. As a result, many communities are considering bans on these chemicals or restrictions on their use.

While embalming remains a common practice today, there are alternatives that funeral homes can offer families who want to do what is best for the environment and public health. These include using refrigeration, dry ice, body donation programs, cremation (particularly as an alternative to cremation with the use of a casket), and other options that may be preferred by some families.


Questions about embalming and funerals?

If you have any questions about embalming or funeral arrangements, please contact us at Wyuka Cemetery. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can. (402) 474-3600


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