What to Know About Embalming

Saying our final goodbyes to the deceased truly is a difficult process. The thought of not having a loved one near or around you for love and support is not easy to process. However, once someone dear to us has passed, we have to begin making decisions on how to give them their final rites. Since burial is the more common method used in the United States, it’s important to know about the process and what it entails. Namely, embalming is one of the largest components of this process. Therefore, we’ll go through the method in detail so you know what to expect.


What exactly is Embalming?

The main purpose of embalming is to slow down the decomposition of the body. The process is physically invasive, in that it requires the implantation of specific devices and fluids are pumped into the body. While embalming may seem unnecessary to some, the process also preserves the body for the duration it is kept above ground at a funeral home. Our loved ones should look their best when we say our final farewell, so embalming allows us to maintain the depart d’s appearance.


How Common Is Embalming?

The majority of people in the United States and Canada think of embalming as an integral component of burial and funeral arrangements at a funeral home. It is regarded as a normal part of the process; however, not many families ask why it’s necessary or what embalming actually entails. Since it’s been performed for decades, it is very much part of a traditional funeral to the extent that a funeral director will usually not allow guests to view the body unless it has been embalmed and cosmetically restored.


Does Every Religion Allow It?

Embalming is most common in Christianity, even though it has no roots in it. Other religions such as Judaism and Islam do not allow it because they view it as a desecration of the human body. Buddhists and Hindus don’t require embalming since they opt for cremation, which involves placing the body of the deceased in a cremation chamber and eventually being left with the ashes. These ashes are placed in an urn or spread in special gardens. 


When Do You Need Embalming?

Embalming is not legally required and the Federal Trade Commission along with several state regulators have made it mandatory for funeral directors to tell this to customers. It is only required when the deceased is being transported beyond state lines in Alaska and Alabama. In addition, Idaho, California, New Jersey, Minnesota and Kansas also require embalming when the body leaves any of these states by train or airplane.


Is Embalming Safe for People and the Environment?

The US Centers for Disease and Control along with their Canadian counterparts state that embalming does not offer any health benefit to the public. In addition, the process is highly dangerous as the chemicals used are toxic. Lastly, it doesn’t help the environment because once the body is in contact with soil, the chemicals make their way into the ground. However, the method is still utilized by thousands to ensure that their loved one looks presentable on their final day before they’re buried forever.