“There is an element of ritual and magic in some African healing practices. This has been highlighted so often for sensational effect in films and books that it has obscured the serious scientific superstructure to African medicine. ‘Traditional medical practice is intimately acquainted with the psychic, social, and cultural nuances of the patients,’ Dr. Finch points out, ‘and the traditional African doctor is often an expert psychotherapist, achieving results with his patients that conventional Western psychotherapy cannot.’ The use of suggestion and hypnosis and the placebo, in addition to internal and external treatment, as the case may warrant, is becoming more and more appreciated in Western medicine. After all, many illnesses are more psychosomatic than organic. The typical African doctor did not emphasize the one at the expense of the other. Obviously, every profession has its quacks but Western-trained doctors who have studied the traditional medicine-man concede that the African doctor has a profound knowledge of the human body and anatomy. He usually gives a careful diagnosis, beginning with a history of the disease, followed by a thorough physical examination.”

Source: Dr. Ivan Van Sertima. Blacks In Science: Ancient and Modern. pg. 23. 1983.


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