Medicine through time

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There are nine major areas that need focus and mention in an  exam for every period, they are:

  • Anatomy  and dissection
  • Religion
  • Medicine - treatment and cure
  • Equipment
  • Public Health
  • Hygiene
  • Medical Staff
  • Surgery- anaesthetics & method
  • Infections and disease


This refers to the time before writing (10,000-3000bc). The prehistoric people were hunters and nomadic - no government to set regulations. This also meant they were quite hygienic as they would never remain near their waste for long, and as they were hunters they were skilled on how to use their prey efficiently.  All of them were superstitious , they used many chants, prayers which were often recited by medicine men.

They used magic to treat disease because they believed spirits caused illness by good spirits leaving the body or evil spirits entering the body which caused harm. They had medicine men and women that tried to cure people through magic and tried to remove evil spirits. They would : chant, send bodies in to trances and massage the patient or capture the evil spirit in a crystal.

As well as  using supernatural ideas they used natural ideas for cures and treatments. Their reliance on food meant that they knew about the healing properties of foods e.g. breathing problems helped by burning tea tree leaves. Obvious injuries were treated by practical methods e.g. broken arms were set in clay and  cuts were bandaged with bark and kangaroo skin.

We can use Ethnographic evidence to learn about prehistoric times, the Aborigines lived their life as though it were prehistoric times. Using them we gather a lot of information about their thoughts of life.

Causes of death were childbirth, dirty water, warfare, poor diet,surgery, famine and the major issue that they didn't know about infections and disease.

The surgery was trepanning which was a hole in your skull to get rid of the evil spirit…


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