How Does Cremation Work: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding how cremation works is important for making the best decision for yourself or a loved one someday, so it’s smart to educate yourself now so that you better understand the options when the time comes.

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In short, cremation is the process of transforming a body back to its essential elements through heat. In most cases, the body is enclosed in an approved container before getting placed in the cremation chamber. The extreme heat will vaporize any remaining soft tissue and turn what remains into ashes and bone fragments that weigh just a few pounds.

Loved ones can keep these ashes in special cremation urns, bury them in standard cemetery plots, or take advantage of a range of newer alternatives.

Some people assume that cremation typically takes the place of standard funeral services, but this just isn’t true. Instead, cremation is merely a disposal method like embalming and a funeral. Many people who choose to be cremated also have a regular funeral, or a memorial service at a later time.

History of Cremation

Cremation might be as old as human culture itself. Scholars today believe that the practice began during the stone age, spreading from northern Europe to the Near East. In the past, cremation took place in open air wooden funeral pyres, but today’s technology keeps the process contained in a small indoor chamber.

Modern cremation began just a century ago when a professor displayed the first working model at the 1873 Vienna exposition. The technology quickly spread around the world, and the cremation process today has developed significantly since then.

For instance, modern cremators have digital controls to allow attendants to keep temperatures at optimal levels for uninterrupted cremation.

Necessary Cremation Supplies

Like a standard burial, specific supplies are needed for cremation. Bodies are cremated in ‘cremation caskets that are designed to burn in the chamber. If a visitation is desired before the cremation, the body may be temporarily presented in a rented coffin.

After the process, the remaining ashes are often placed in an urn to be given back to the family.

The family can then choose to keep the ashes or bury them in a cemetery or crematorium. 

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How Does Cremation Work?

Many people find the cremation process frightening and don’t take the time to learn about it. However, looking closer at how cremation works will reveal to you that your loved one is respected and taken care of through every step of the process.

Extreme heat is needed for successful cremations, usually between 1400 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, the cremation chamber is preheated to a set temperature before the body is added.

Throughout the incineration process, a column of flames created by natural gas, propane or oil consumes the container while vaporizing the body’s soft tissue and calcifying the bones so that they turn to ash.

At the end, attendants will pulverize any remaining bone fragments into ash before using a strong magnet to remove any residual metal scraps like dental work or artificial limbs.

Generally, cremation takes between one and three hours, and the entire process is completely odorless.

What Can You Do With Cremation Ashes

When you choose cremation, it is best practices to also choose in advance how you prefer to be interred. This means that you have provided explicit instructions to your family and the crematorium what should be done with your ashes.

There is a range of options available for cremated remains, including burying them in a cemetery plot, scattering them somewhere meaningful, display them in an urn, and even incorporate them into jewelry.

The beauty of cremation is that you can choose the option that makes the most sense for your situation while saving money compared to a traditional burial.

The Better Place Forests Alternative

If you want your loved one’s ashes to be in a beautiful, natural place, consider, consider a Better Place Forests conservation spreading forest.

Your family can choose a tree exclusive to you and spread ashes around it for multiple-generations.

Our memorial options offer something for every family, and you will have the comfort of experiencing the tranquility of nature every time you visit your loved one.

To learn more about your tree memorial options, please contact us at (888) 958-7674 or get some customized recommendations.

We hope to bring you comfort soon.

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Brad Milne

Written by Brad Milne

Brad is a co-founder of Better Place Forests and is focused on marketing, technology and day to day operations.

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