Traditional Healing Practices from Kenya

A lot of Kenyans depend on traditional healing practices as the major source of health care. This could be due to the fact that these practices are incredibly diverse and are designed to handle a lot of cases ranging from medical to spiritual problems.

They also handle birthing needs, operate as herbal medicine and are easily accessed by the citizens. One would think that only the Kenyans who reside in rural and less developed areas of the country make use of these alternative healing services; however, reports show that these healers carry out full healing practices in both rural and urban areas of the country.

It is estimated that for every 950 patients, one traditional healer is available as opposed to the one modern medical doctor available to about 33,000 patients. This shows how accessible and important traditional healing practices are to the average Kenyan and explains why it is so popular as it serves the purpose of the unattainable modern medicine.

Traditional healing practices in Kenya are also a major tourist attraction in the country. A lot of tourists remain fascinated with the traditional healing practices that occur on a daily basis in the country and are known to visit different villages and ethnic groups just to experience it first-hand and to see the healing practices in full effect.

Are these Healing Practices Legal? 

One of the major questions on the lips of tourists in Kenya is “are these traditional healing practices legal?” The answer is yes! A lot of traditional medicine practitioners enjoy a high level of legitimacy especially in the rural areas. They are also given authority by the Kenyan Government to act as the custodians of the deep diversity in the nation and are regarded as the chief bearers of all herbal and traditional knowledge. For a really long time, traditional healing practices in Kenya were kept hidden and managed by higher powers. The colonial powers in play during the time merely tolerated these practices as long as the healers kept it contained in their different ethnic groups. This was not to be so for too long as after independence, these practices gained traction and the healers began practicing their knowledge at a higher level and on a larger scale, even expanding to other ethnic groups and even some urban areas. Due to this massive expansion, traditional healing practices in Kenya have gained the attention of the international media and medical agencies.

Do they Work?

It is not surprising that most tourists who travel to Kenya from the western world doubt the efficacy of these healing practices especially since they are used to modern methods of medicine. However, the massive growth and acceptance of these practices have made it a major competitor for standard bio-medicine in the country rather than a substitution. These healers now have clinics or health centres with staff working for them and pushing these traditional remedies to more parts of the country both offline and online. Some other healers retail their services by selling their remedies for sexual, emotional and physical problems on the streets, advertising them online and in newspapers.

Answering the question of whether these alternative remedies work or not, the answer is definitely! The Kenyan government, in a bid to make these practices more legal and accepted in the country and beyond have devised means to ensure that it is fully integrated into the country's medical health system. This way, the traditional healing knowledge remains preserved in Kenya and used to benefit the increasing population.

What are The Challenges? 

Traditional healing practices in Kenya have proven to be extremely resilient overtime as it has been able to withstand local and international scrutiny, neglect and outright hostility from modern medical practitioners. Being that most remedies produced from traditional knowledge are plant based, the loss of forest resources due to industrialisation definitely affects the growth of these practices; however, they have withstood these changes and re-branded their practices to meet the changing times while still sticking to the core of their knowledge. Maintaining and upgrading their craft in the midst of all challenges portrays the strength and resilience of the Kenyan people, which tourists have come to appreciate and love over time. A simple visit to Kenya will showcase all the beauties of the traditional healing industry and even shed light on some easy natural remedies that you can take home.

Traditional Healing Practices or Witchcraft? 

A lot of the Kenyan people seek the services of these traditional healers for a number of different reasons ranging from malaria to increased sexual prowess and success in life. Although these remedies are commonly used as a last resort treatment when the modern forms of treatment don't seem to be working as expected, the amount of people who are currently being turned towards traditional healing remedies is constantly increasing. Tourists who experience these healers in action for the first time might feel that they have ties to witchcraft and other somewhat diabolic practices. However, in due time, they realise that it isn't the case and come to appreciate the beauty of these ancient practices.

To wrap up, it is obvious that the traditional healing industry in Kenya is here to stay and currently growing at a rapid pace. The industry serves as a great tourist attraction for curious people and medical practitioners all over the world and they are always astonished at what they experience. The push for acceptance of all forms of healing practice and respect for indigenous ways of life is a common post-colonial problem experienced by a lot of African nations, Kenya included.

However, the Kenyan people have learned to take it a day at a time and do their best to preserve most, if not all of their ancient knowledge and practices. The growth of the traditional healing practice industry gives Kenyans a glimpse into the future of their healthcare systems where they are hoping for a complete integration of traditional remedies into modern medicine. Nonetheless, regardless of whether that happens or not, traditional healing practices in the country are thriving.
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