Healthy Living Tips from Death Experts Who Know
Real stories and disease-prevention secrets from an anatomy professor and embalmer.
The people who handle your postmortem remains-from the funeral director to the (if you so choose) anatomy professor-are in a unique position to make an example of your body. They have access to some very personal information regarding your implants, diseases, and snack habits. Tony Weinhaus, Ph.D. and director of anatomy at the University of Minnesota and Jennifer Wright, embalmer and director of Sunset Funeral Care, say that working with dead bodies allows them to provide knowledge and comfort to students and the deceased person's family members, respectively. Wright and Weinhaus also see firsthand how people's lifestyles and habits factor into their overall health.
"Working with the body, you realize to some degree that it's a machine," Weinhaus says. "Muscles move bones, and the heart is a pump. You can see and appreciate how everything needs to work, [and] how things can go bad pretty easily." He describes it almost like an eerie episode of Scared Straight: Many of his students don't think about their own mortality, but when they see diseases lingering in these bodies, they realize very quickly how important it is to prevent chronic conditions-before it's too late.