Trepanation The Way To Higher Consciousness

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Trepanation. The Way To Higher Consciousness? Essay, Research Paper Throughout the history of the human race, mankind has been locked in a constant struggle with its own limitations and imperfections. Bound by norms and social stratification, civilization has molded itself into a conformist society. The same society that looks upon radical medicinal practices and alternative ways of thinking with disdain. One medical custom met with great opposition from most cultures is that of trepanation. Elaborated in this text will be the history, truths and falsehoods, popular views, and clinical documentation of the practice of trepanation and reasons behind the use of this type of surgery. Trepanation is one of the earliest surgical operations known. There is ample evidence to show

that it was practiced by primitive man in prehistoric times. The scraping of a hole in the cranium by ancient man was probably carried out with the intention of relieving pains in the head or curing epilepsy, and at the same time providing an exit for an evil spirit to escape from. Recently, archaeologists have discovered a 7,000-year-old burial site at Ensisheim, in the French region of Alsace. At this site is the earliest evidence of trepanation. The burial contains the well-preserved skeleton of a man, who died at roughly 50 years of age, as well as an arrowhead and an adze typically dated to 5100-4900 BC, a date corroborated by a radiocarbon sample from the bone. Two trepanations had been carried out on this man. One toward the front of the skull, measuring 2.6 by 2.4 inches,

had healed completely. The second had only partially healed, probably because of its enormous size(3.7 by 3.6inches). The larger trepanation appears to have been produced by intersecting incisions, and the smaller one may have been made in the same way. The long-term healing evident from the bone indicates the operations were successful. (Walker, 2-8) In the western hemisphere, trepanning was practiced at an early period by the ancient Incas of Peru, who performed it with great dexterity. Scientists have found that 5 to 6 percent of the ancient skulls excavated in Peru show that trepanning was resorted to for therapeutic reasons. The Incas preferred square openings, and the operation is still practiced by native medicine men among some tribes in South America in much the same

manner as it was carried out in ancient times. The patient’s head was held tightly between the surgeon’s knees; the patient reclining and the doctor sitting. An incision was then made in the scalp and a section of bone, approximately an inch square, removed from the skull. The instrument employed was a sharp piece of flint or hardened copper with a rough edge, which was used by rubbing the edge backwards and forwards along the bone. (Thompson 23) In western civilization we find that trepanning was practiced freely in the time of Hippocrates (c. 400 B.C.). The instruments employed by the early Greek surgeons varied, and included the trerbra, or drill, chiefly used for making a circle of holes around the depressed bone, which was operated by a thong around the centre or on a

cross beam. For the same purpose, the trepanon, operated by a bow, like a drill, was sometimes employed to make the perforations, and the interspaces between each hole were broken up by the scalpel so that the roundel of bone could be removed. (Haeger, 14-15) The first innovation in what we now know as the modern trepan was introduced towards the end of the 16th century, when in 1575 Matthia Barvatio invented a mechanical instrument which was operated by a cog wheel turned by the hand. This was connected with another wheel, which when rotated actuated a circular saw which cut into the bone. This device ultimately turned out to be too heavy and clumsly to be used skillfully. (Haeger, 16) Towards the close of the 19th century, there was a return to some of the earlier types of