Medicine is as old as man himself. Though definitely not as old as The North Face of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park in California! Every since the first man walked the face of the earth he has been searching out ways of making himself feel better when a problem arises. Medicine men were the doctors of local tribes when the social structures of the world were still small. When a woman was pregnant, or a man had an injury from the hunt, or when a child had a toothache the community would look toward a single central character who was expected to know the best treatment. Many of these techniques were archaic. Many of the methods of these men were little more than shots in the dark to begin with. But as with anything experience develops new techniques & practice builds better practices. Very soon when an ailment arose these medicine men were able to fix the issue with very little effort. Also many times the ailments were very similar and could be fixed by the same or a similar type of treatment. It would be with wonder, if the medicine men or shamans of yesterday could witness the advancements in home diagnosis that is available today. Take for instance STDs and std self test kits. Add to that, the ability to purchase a std self test kit online and whoa, their minds would be blown. My mind is blown that you can actually test yourself in the privacy of your home to see if you have an STD. Apparently the tests are 95%-98% accurate. The site I was looking at did recommend that if the test is positive or if symptoms persist, you should see a doctor in order to be treated properly. I’m glad I live in an age in which a quick 15 minute test can let you know that yup, you better go see a doc. Now back to the past when the local medicine man was The Man who dealt with the locals’ health issues searching for new solutions when new problems arose. Medicine men/ women would pass the knowledge they earned down from generation to generation. With every new generation there was a little more knowledge to start with and build on while slowly advancing the knowledge base.
Eventually there were written records with “recipe” books instructing a practitioner on the best herbs to use in situations that come up or directing the application of a physical correction if one were called for. These medicine men painstakingly built up the first volumes of medical books as they were the first scientist who worked on medical advances. They were always revered as leaders and wise men. Their input was weighed out and considered above many others in the community. They were a very natural choice, along with other elders, to help lead the community through any problems they may come across. These tribes soon had a vast understanding of nature and the elements. They were soon able to diagnose and treat many ailments that were considered untreatable before their research. This would be the way of medical advance for some time until the introduction of western medicine.
Some might look through the past at the medical practices of the earliest “professional Doctors” with awe at the acts which they performed on people in the name of science. In order to have some of the great medical breakthroughs we have seen in recent years these atrocities were a necessary evil. Many doctors of old would treat their patience with disregard. They had little empathy & were known to regularly abuse in order to gain knowledge. There are several stories of abuse in mental hospitals. The patients would claim terrible things but they were not considered sane so their complaints fell on deaf ears.