The History of Human Brain Research:
Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece

The Human Brain: "Before you even begin to think about counseling this unique and complex body part, you better understand it." 

Dr. Michelle Stangline

The 48 cases included 27 head injuries. The brain is mentioned 7 times in the papyrus (Breasted, 1930). Medical history scholars are impressed by the scientific approach for diagnosing and treating the patients of the papyrus (Brandt-Rauf, 1987). The ancient Egyptians held the belief that the heart was the most important organ of the human body.

In the Egyptian funeral guide, “The Book of the Dead”, it is instructed that a dead man’s heart must be weighed against feathers to determine if good or evil is contained in the heart. The brain was considered unimportant to the early Egyptians. It was discarded and thrown out. The brain had no place in the afterlife (Brandt-Rauf, 1987).

Moving forward to the Aegean Islands of Cos, we find evidence on medical ethics and brain surgery texts written by Hippocrates in 470 B.C. (Potter, 1994). He wrote about the clinical signs of head injuries and described depression, seizures, and head contusions quite accurately. He also wrote that the brain is filled with sensations and that it is the center of intelligence (Potter, 1994).

The star of the first century Roman A.D. is Aulus Cornelius Celsus. Celsus operated on depressed skull fractures and wrote in detail about the brain injuries of his patients (Celsus).

In Athens, Greece as early as 387 B.C., Plato writes that the brain is the “seat of the mental process (Plato, 1997).” He was followed by Aristotle in 380 B.C., who believed that the mind contained the thinking and emotional process. He also experimented by dissecting animals. Aristotle believed the mind contained all the emotions and thinking processes (Aristotle, 1997).   


Human Brain Research History of Ancient Rome, Asia, & Middle Ages
Back to Page 1 of Human Brain Research History

Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed  mental health professional immediately.

"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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