Discovering the Mysteries of Body Worlds

My parents wanted for me to be a doctor and having spent time a good amount of time as a child in hospitals and various medical facilities for my own medical reasons or just keeping company to various relatives made my familiar with the world of science and medicine. Although I made my own career choice - and proud of it - I was left with a sense of respect for the medical profession and with no fear of needles and blood and anything that has to do with medical proceedings in general.

Therefore, I was really excited to finally have the chance to visit KÖRPERWELTEN exhibition, a couple of steps away from the iconic TV Tower. I've read a lot about the exhibition that started in 1995 in Japan, including about the opposition to it, as it displays the interior human bodies, a view for some might be controversial. Visiting it is a matter of personal choice, after all and no one should tell other people what to think and where to go - or not - whatever the reason. 

Besides offering a throughout view of human bodies, the exhibition offers also valuable information about physiology and health. Many sensations and emotions we experience during our lifetime may have a scientific explanation. Take, for instance, the broken hearts, explained at the exhibition: 'Their symptoms are like that of a heart attack: shortness of breath, chest pain, anxiety and fear of dying'. A physical examination will not reveal any physical findings, as in fact the shock of a breakup or the lost of a dear one triggers 'an avalanche of stress hormones that flood the body and paralyze and permanently weaken the heart muscle'.

But more than various explanations I read, the view of the body in various contexts of movements is what fascinates me. The display of muscles and arteries, the complex structures hidden under the fine layer of skin is humbling. It shows both our fragility and strength.

Another outstanding piece of the exhibition is the Fisherman: The anatomical structures of the body are opened up and shifted apart. The spaces left in between allow to see the specific organs of what is described as a seated fisherman.

The details covered by the exhibition are extraordinary, going through the smallest details of the human body structure. I've found it very important the contemporary touch of the exhibition, which warns of the harm and changes to human physiology brought by the pressure we are under in our busy world, especially the daily stress. 

The process of turning the human bodies - offered in this aim by body donors that expressed their wish during their life - is called plastination is lasts around one year. 

It is a rich and thoughful amount of information one is processing after the visit at this exhibition. You can learn here more than in any classroom and it makes you take your body more serious. Body and mind are very well connected. Ignoring the signals sent by one or the other are a dangerous self-destructive move. The dynamism of our body shows in fact that we are made for life, but it is up to us to strive to keep ourself alive and healthy.

Disclaimer: I was offered free entrance at the exhibition, but the opinions are, as usual, my own

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