Body Worlds: Vital

*** WARNING:  There are graphic pictures below. If you have a weak stomach, be forewarned .. but even if you do .. please try to look anyway. ***

The weekend before last, Mark and I went to Asheville and had an amazing long weekend.  I took tons of pictures .. and they are still sitting on the camera.  I promise to write that post asap.  In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about what we did yesterday!

The South Carolina State Museum recently hosted an exhibit called BODY WORLDS Vital.  Have you heard about this!?  It's pretty much the coolest thing ever!  Here's a little video about it:

Basically, this anatomist named Gunther von Hagens came up with a process of preservation called plastination.  The process takes a human cadaver, removes all the fluid (blood, etc.) and replaces it with a type of polymer.  This process halts decomposition and preserves the body perfectly .. whole. 

There are several different exhibits around the world right now.  The BODY WORLDS Vital exhibit focuses on educating the public on body awareness and health.  There are several bodies posed to show how we look mid-action (dancing, singing, running, etc.)  The bodies are REAL and they are dissected in a way to show you all the muscle groups, nerves, arteries, etc.  IT. IS. ABSOLUTELY. FASCINATING.

It also shows REAL comparisons of certain diseases.   You see a real side-by-side organs affected by lifestyle choices.  Here are a couple examples:

The lungs on the left are a smoker's lungs.  The donor was an average smoker all his life .. NOT a 3-pack-a-day-worst-of-the-worst smoker.  The lungs on the right are healthy and belonged to a non-smoker.  LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE!  I had always heard that smoking turns your lungs black but IT REALLY DOES.  It was drastic and you could see the necrosis.

The other crazy comparison was obesity:

The body on the left is a male of average stature.  The body on the right is of an obese male.  Seeing all the areas that fat infiltrates the body and the organs is just crazy.  It certainly makes you look at your own health more closely.

All in all this exhibit is DEFINITELY worth seeing.  I am not sure where Vital will travel next (yesterday was the last day in Columbia, SC).  If it comes anywhere near you, PLEASE go see it (or any of the other Body Worlds)  It is amazing and not horrific at all.  There were plenty of school-age children there (although there is genitalia so make sure your child can handle it.) 

I wish a) I had seen this sooner so the exhibit would still be open (and thus you could see it) and b) there was more.  I just couldn't get enough! 

*There was no photography or videography allowed in the exhibit.  All pictures were pulled off the internet.  They are of real thing that I saw while there.

What did you do this weekend?  Have you seen Body Worlds Vital?  Did you love it?

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