H is for Health



The ancient Egyptians were the first civilisation to recognise medicine as a profession. They developed practical cures for illnesses, rather than just praying and using spiritual remedies (though they did this as well).

Taken from here
The Edwin Smith Papyrus - the oldest known surgical treatise on trauma

Here are a few facts about ancient Egyptian health care:

- There were no anaesthetics available to Egyptian doctors, so surgical operations would have been difficult for them.

- Ancient Egyptians had no problem with health problems on the surface of the skin - they could reset dislocated joints, mend broken bones, and were excellent at stitching and bandaging wounds. They used willow leaves in the bandages, which are known for their antiseptic properties. However, there were no anaesthetics available to them, so surgical operation would have been very difficult. 

- The Egyptians made use of medical textbooks when diagnosing patients. Their doctors would ask questions, take the patient's pulse and touch the pained area. 

- The Egyptians believed in the 'Channel Theory'. They believed that sickness could be cured if the 'channels' of the body were unblocked, which they did by making people vomit, bleed or empty their bowels. Many of their cures were based on this theory.

- It was believed that the gods caused disease by disturbing the normal workings of the body. Egyptian doctors therefore would use prayers and spiritual remedies alongside their practical cures.

Comments

  1. I had no idea they were the first to recognise medicine as a profession, I had always assumed it was the Greeks. Learn something every day :). I am loving the AtoZ for all the little facts it is showing me.
    Tasha
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  2. That last one is really interesting.
    If you needed an operation, you were either screwed or in a lot of pain when they performed it.

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  3. There are certainly a few similarities to modern medicine in here. Surgery would have been dicey, but if you had something relatively minor, you'd be in relatively good hands. Thanks for the interesting post!

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  4. The willow leaves in the bandages thing is interesting because I actually have a character in my novel who uses willow leaves in bandages...I had no idea the ancient Egyptians did the same.

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  5. Modern medicine still involves prayers also. They really had some good ideas for the time.

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  6. Willow leaves and the channel theory...so cool to learn. I'm not sure about the no anesthetics though, I feel for those who had to either suffer during an operation or died for lack of one.

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  7. They seriously used medical textbooks? That's crazy advanced. Wow.

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  8. I actually learned something today. I think today we are back to healing mind and body so it's come full circle. Great post.
    http://yeakleyjones.blogspot.com/

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  9. I didn't realize that were that advanced, or that so many important techniques were first used by them. Way cool.

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  10. This is really interesting. Spiritual remedies and prayers can be very healing. I also find it neat that they used medical textbooks. :)

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  11. They were a clever lot really.....

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  12. I wonder if that's where the practice of letting blood came from in the 1800s

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  13. Did they also practice brain surgery? I remember from an ancient civ class long ago that skull with small holes were found, indicating Egyptian and perhaps Babylonians opened patients' skull to get the brain. Yikes! That had to hurt.

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  14. Thanks for this informative and interesting post!!!

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  15. It's interesting how they used a combination of spiritual therapy and more physical treatments for ailments. I'm glad there are anesthetics nowadays for surgery!

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  16. I can't imagine no anesthetics. Herbal medicine is such a gift, just as treating the whole person makes such a difference too.

    M. J.
    A - Z Co-Host
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  17. These are interesting things about their health care! ~Jax

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  18. Operations at any time before the advent of anesthetics must have been horrifying to the person who had to undergo them. Imagine... John Adams' daughter, Nabby, had a mastectomy in 1811.

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  19. Would have been a hard time to live and life wasn't very long then was it?

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  20. What a great post. I didn't know any of this. Fascinating to learn. I particularly like that they had medical textbooks. Very cool!

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  21. I like the channel theory. Could you imagine what kind of torture they could come up with if there was writer's block. LOL!

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  22. The Egyptians knew what they were about - and it's not as if modern people don't mix medicine with a bit of prayer as well :)
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
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