While most couples go for a romantic meal on Valentine’s day or watch the sunset from a lookout point with a bottle of champagne; my boyfriend and I decided to go look at donated dead bodies. Something completely left field, I know. But as was hoped, it turned out to be a very interesting and thought-provoking experience.
The Body Worlds Vital Exhibition is the world’s original anatomical exhibition featuring real human bodies. And when they say real human bodies, they are not joking. All specimens displayed are real donated body parts. While this is the first time Body Worlds Vital has been in town, it is not the first of this type of exhibition to arrive in Australia. In early 2018, the controversial (and copycat) Real Bodies exhibition made headlines for potentially using unethically sourced bodies. While this has yet to be substantiated, there was a heavy public outcry to shut down the exhibit. At the time, I myself thought it was not something I would support given the allegations.
However! When I saw the Body Worlds exhibit being advertised on a bus stop, I was intrigued. I learned that its the only exhibition of real human bodies with its own established donor program and that these people declared during their lifetime that their bodies should be made available after their deaths for the training of physicians and the instruction of laypersons. So with the ethical question out of the way, I decided what better day than Valentine’s day to look at a … heart?
Speaking of cringe, I was also nervous if I would be disgusted by the somewhat explicit nature of the displays. I also have mild trypophobia so if I was going to see lots and lots of tiny cells everywhere- would I enjoy myself? The answer is yes! Here are some things I learned from seeing some AMAZING dead bodies.
Disclaimer: We were allowed to take photos. In fact encouraged to by staff of the exhibit! However if photos of donated body parts are not your thing, check out some of my other more chill reads ❤
We see the cigarette packet images. We all know it is bad for your skin, nails and just about every other organ! But people still smoke. I don’t and never have, but I can appreciate that it is a habitual addiction that not only is hard to quit and but also stay quit. But seeing a real human smoker and non-smokers lung side by side in the flesh (sorry!) was seriously profound. The smoker’s lung was black and tar-filled. The tiny little sacks where air fills and rushes out actually looked like they were singed by a cigarette butt. It overall looked like something that was pained. While seeing a real lung may not be as powerful for others as it was for me, I really could see the damage cigarettes can cause. At the end of the exhibition, there was a huge glass jar that had “Start you quit story now” and it invited people to drop their cigarette packets in. There were a few in there which was nice.
OUR BODIES ARE MIRACLES
My boyfriend had to endure me repeating “This is the money maker- this is the most vital organ… Oh no no this one is! Or actually, it’s this one”. Every time I reached a new display I would be sure I would see the top dog organ. But the truth is, our bodies are so amazing that every system or organ has such a vital role- the whole thing is important. One of my favorite facts was that the liver has over 400 functions. How it knows how to do each and every one of those is beyond me. An underrated organ in my view.
With the risk of making humans sound angelic, how each bodily function speaks to each other while we just go along our daily business is awesome. I love how I am typing this, my lunch is happily digesting in my stomach and my brain is telling my fingers how to type.
EAT,SLEEP, EXERCISE, REPEAT
The recipe for a long and healthy life is eating a highly nutritious diet full of plants, fruits, and protein. Sleeping when you need to. Moving that ass regularly and in a non-harmful way. And repeat. Simple? Well if it was, we all would be living to 100 like the average Japanese person. But it was nice to have them spelled out, particularly after the New Years revolution marketing where we are insisted that we need to do intense boot camp every day, do some weird sounding ketogenic diet and still hit every other personal goal in your life. The donor bodies were proof of what is going on inside when you let these (sometimes) simple wellness factors slip and when you upkeep them.
I sometimes think going for a brisk walk for 40 minutes in the morning is pointless, but after seeing this exhibition I know that every little bit of exercise I do, my body is loving! I also reaffirmed the knowledge that stress causes real physiological problems in our bodies like cancer, low immune and early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
When exiting, visitors were invited to write something that they thought about the exhibit on a big whiteboard. Someone hilariously wrote, “I am seriously questioning the sanity of the man who put this exhibition together- enjoyed it nonetheless”. While it’s been over 24 hours since I saw an exposed brain and many other private specimens (yes including those ones), this exhibition is still playing on my mind- but in a good way! It makes you realize your body is more than your 1st layer of skin, you need to look after yourself and that we seriously are amazing animals.
This post is not endorsed or affiliated with the Body Worlds Vital exhibition or any of its subsidiaries.
Image Source: Gettyimages.com.au