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Originally published May 11 2007

Strike a pose! BodyWorlds exhibit features human bodies preserved with industrial food chemicals (satire)

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of human anatomy.) This past weekend, I worked up the courage to visit the Body Worlds exhibit in a local science museum. This is where they take the bodies of dead volunteers (who volunteered before they died, obviously), strip off their skin and body fat, then prop them up into dynamic poses where they are plasticized through a rather technical chemical process involving aspartame, sodium nitrite and yeast extract. Think Weekend at Bernie's, without the skin.

I'm not making this up. Click here to see the Body Worlds website for yourself. BodyWorlds coordinators prefer volunteers who drink a lot of diet soda, since their bodies are already half chemically preserved from the moment of death. (Actually, the part about aspartame and food additives is, indeed, a joke with really bad taste, but since aspartame degrades into trace amounts of formaldehyde, a common biological preservative, it was begging to be mentioned here...)

Anyway, this exhibit is fascinating if you have any interest whatsoever in human anatomy. But at the same time, it's also a bit creepy. Personally, I couldn't stand the smell. I'm not talking about the dead bodies, mind you, I'm referring to all the visitors wearing their noxious perfumes, body lotions and fragrance products while trouncing around in the enclosed exhibit space. The dead people didn't stink at all. It was the live ones who practically caused me to flee through an emergency exit to catch some fresh air. If chemical perfumes dulled the sense of vision to the same degree that they dull the sense of smell in people, the average consumer would be walking around 90 percent blind...

What's on display at BodyWorlds

The BodyWorlds exhibit, by the way, is viewed as either a celebration of the human body, or an affront to the sacredness of the human being, depending on who you talk to (take your pick). Personally, I thought it was really ahead of its time... if we were all living in the 19th century, that is. But in 2007, I found the exhibit to offer an outdated focus on the physical nature of all disease (and a complete lack of explanation for any other causes of disease).

On the bright side, the exhibit did make perfectly clear the health ramifications of smoking cigarettes. Actual human lungs were on display, all charcoal-colored and covered in tumors. It's not difficult to understand what smoking does to a set of human lungs when you're staring at them right in front of your nose.

Some of the bodies were surgically implanted with artificial joints (post-mortem, of course) then propped up as some sort of celebration of the genius of modern joint replacement surgery. I thought this was odd. Yes, I know, in a roomful of dead bodies, stripped of their skin and propped up into artificial poses, I noticed something that struck me as bizarre. Why would they perform joint replacement surgery on dead bodies? Was the procedure billed to Medicare?

Like a giant 3-D anatomy chart

Overall, the exhibit was certainly eye opening. Speaking of anatomy, it was skull opening and chest cavity opening, too, if you consider what had been done to the bodies on display. If you're the least bit curious about human anatomy, the exhibit is quite educational. Looking at the muscles, tendons, capillaries and nerves of the human body, you can't help but be humbled and awed by the complexity of the design. The blood supply to the liver is simply breathtaking. It looks like a mass of roots from a large garden vegetable, turned upside down and colored red. Your heart pumps 1.5 liters of blood through your liver every minute! If that's not a reason to give up eating toxic chemicals, I don't know what is.

One more note about this exhibit: Most of the bodies were really small. It's not like they routinely used volunteers who were six feet tall and weighed 240 pounds. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of the bodies in the exhibit were actually hobbits. Some aren't even five feet tall. At one point, I wondered if some of the bodies were children. (It's kinda hard to tell without the skin.)

That's when I got a bit spooked and decided to leave the exhibit. Plus, I had to get away from all the stink of the fragrance products from the other visitors, too. They should have a "no fragrance" policy at these things, you know. Us living people who still have sensory acuity are still trying to breathe...

That was the irony of the whole experience: A room full of Americans viewing the livers and organs of dead bodies, all while wearing toxic personal fragrance products that are destroying their OWN livers, and causing cancer in their OWN bodies. I thought to myself, gee, maybe all these people walking around here should look in the mirror. Look at your own body and try to save yourself before you end up plasticized and propped up for others to see all the tumors you grew on your own liver.

Then again, that would require a lot of explaining to the average consumer, and I wasn't there to give a lecture that nobody would understand anyway. Everybody there seemed really, really interested in the dead bodies. I'm more interested in helping LIVING people, personally. Call me strange, but I believe the best time to examine the health of people is before they die.

Looking at the bodies of others can certainly be educational, but looking at our own body is what more of us really need to do. Plus, we've got to get past the idea that everything in medicine is physical. Health isn't merely a physical phenomenon. It's emotional, energetic, even spiritual! The physical form is just the simplest and most obvious part of human existence. It is not, however, the place from which disease begins.

If we allow ourselves to get stuck examining only the physical level, and we assign all causes of disease or health to the physical structure of the body, we'll never get to the really powerful wisdom found in the emotional and energetic realms of human experience.

The BodyWorlds exhibit offered a very thorough examination of the physical human body, but nothing beyond that. Is it still worth seeing? Sure it is. Just be sure to hold your breath if there are living people around.

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