Today we went on an adventure into central Auckland and visited the BODY WORLDS Vital Exhibition. Knowing that the exhibition includes over 150 human body specimens we were not sure what to expect but it was a great experience. It was amazing to get a greater insight into the way our bodies work and very sobering to see just how complex and intricate the human body really is. I was struck by the fragility of so many of the structures and organs that were on display but also their strength and durability.
I have always been fascinated by the nervous system and so a highlight for me was the exhibit showing this in spiky wonderful detail. Looking at slices of brain tissue prompted me to remember why I find psychology so fascinating and seeing the female reproductive organs reminded me how incredible it is that I have managed to grow two human beings!
One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition is the emphasis it places on understanding life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke and life changing diseases such as osteoarthritis. Seeing the effects of these diseases on bodily organs and structures was particularly sobering and educative.
Over 45 million people around the world are said to have experienced BODY WORLDS and 66% surveyed visitors, reported that they would pay more attention to their physical health as a result of their experience at the exhibition. This does not surprise me having experienced the mood in the exhibition today, as fascination and intrigue evolved into contemplation and reflection.
As I walked around the exhibition, I couldn’t help thinking about what my own body might look like on the inside and reflecting on the relationship I have with it. At this stage in my life, I am incredibly grateful for my body and enjoy inhabiting it, but this was of course not always the case. I spent years treating my body very badly indeed, starving it of nutrition, poisoning it and hurting it when I should have been nurturing it. Despite this, I am in pretty good health as I approach 40 whereas plenty of people who have always treated their bodies well have to face the challenge of living with disease or disability. This exhibition served as a reminder to never take my body for granted again and to appreciate what it does for me every single day!
If BODY WORLDS Vital comes to a venue near you I highly recommend it. We went as a family and despite Lucy in particular not being too keen about the real body parts before we entered the exhibit, we all gained a lot from the experience.