Aside from preparing the setting and decorations, obituaries and invitations, legal documents and ministers, and burial site or columbarium, one part of the funeral services is the embalming. Embalming is the method of preserving the body of the deceased before it is put in a casket and displayed for public viewing. This process delays the decomposition of the body.

The history of embalming can be traced back to Chinchorro in Chile about 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. It was also practiced by the Ancient Egyptians. It was referred to as the mummification process and it was associated with their spiritual belief.

During the Renaissance Period, the height of the scientific study about embalming was reached. There were chemicals and methods which were discovered and developed. In this modern era, embalming as offered as part of funeral services.

Funeral homes have embalmers who are in charge of this process. They are licensed professionals, which means that they have proper education and training in the science of embalming. They take are required to pass an official licensing exam before they are able to practice their craft.

The process of embalming is quite simple –

Its objectives are to cleanse the body and preserve it through the use of chemicals. First, the body is placed on a mortuary table where it is stripped of clothing and examined. The body is then cleansed and checked for muscle stiffness. In most instances, the embalmer is tasked to “restore” the appearance of the body to a more relaxed state. Such is the case when the face of the deceased has been disfigured in some way due to illness or accident. Any scars, bruises, or cuts that affect the body’s appearance will have to be fixed by the embalmer.


Chemicals are injected into the body to preserve it. The face of the deceased will also be cosmetically enhanced to make it look like he is peacefully asleep. The cosmetics used are no different from what is normally used by people who are alive. The family usually provides a picture of the deceased to be used as reference by the embalmer in the restoration process.

The clothing that is put on the deceased body is provided by the family. The choice of outfit is normally formal – a dress for females and a suit for males. The family normally chooses the deceased favorite formal. In some instances, the deceased has already picked out the outfit he wishes to wear before his passing. Other items that the family might want to put in the casket are also given to the embalmer. Rosaries and family heirlooms are common items that are put in the casket with the body. These are usually based on religious beliefs and tradition.

There are sanitation guidelines that funeral services providers are required to comply with –

This prevents risks of contamination of the body and health issues among the family and friends who will be around the body during the funeral. It is important to ask the funeral director about certifications and proof of compliance to industry standards.

How the body looks during the funeral services is important. This is the last image that family and friends will see before he is laid to rest in his final resting place. Embalming is not a procedure that should be taken for granted. It is an important part of giving respect to the deceased and making sure that he is treated with dignity. There are some cases when the family opts to have a closed casket during the funeral. Even during these instances, making sure that the body is properly embalmed is necessary.


Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel and Crematory offers Knoxville’s only on-site crematory.Gentry Griffey  funeral homes offer funeral services in packages or plans. By having a crematory on-site at Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel, we are not dependent on anyone else’s schedule or facilities, and we oversee every step of the cremation